“Yankeeland” 1

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He Is from “Yankeeland” Katie Watterson N.C. State University

Professor Greg Martin English 101 Section 21 October 17, 2007

Introduction

“Yankeeland” 2 Walt Whitman said, “I celebrate myself, and sing myself, and what I assume, you shall assume” (as cited in Colbert, 2007) Take a look deeper into this quotation and discover this question: can Whitman be considered right even when it is directly correlated to in-groups and out-groups? Are the people we consider ourselves closest to, the ones that mold our networks, the results to the wanted contrast? In-groups, for example are the honey combs or our social networks. We assume, or want to assume, what the group think is (West). Social Identity Theory (asserts that a person’s identity is determined by the groups that he or she belongs) will be used to test the in groups and out groups. (West). The possibility will become more apparent and how the people we depend on most are the ones to which we lend our most personal selves. Human behavior is an interesting subject to approach. The way words are threaded together and the essence to which we apply them lead to a deeply imbedded theory of human nature. A curiousness towards this theory can be found in several places ranging from talks between friends, the jargon of doctors and lawyers, or even to Facebook and Myspace. But the topic on this agenda: Myspace. Myspace is a website that allows friends to create a community and meet new people. Myspace is handy when looking for old friends, new friends, classmates, bands, and comedians (About Us Myspace.com). Myspace can also be used as a forum. Comments are posted from friend to friend and information is easily shared. One aspect about Myspace is the inclusion of an “About Me” section. The “About Me” section on Myspace varies from webpage to webpage. Some choose not to write an in-depth “About Me,” while others let it flourish and grow into a long, exaggerated spectrum of information all dealing with one thing: themselves. Here lies the purpose and goal of these threaded words. It is a discussion of

“Yankeeland” 3 the Social Identity Theory directly related to the Myspace of a friend. This particular Myspace pages’ “About Me” was closely analyzed to draw strict conclusions about the persons’ in-groups and out-groups and how it has affected that persons concepts. Strictly speaking, the way this person celebrates himself, assumes the position of how the group sings themselves. Method The interaction I observed was on the Myspace page of my friend Ryan McNamara. Ryan is my only participant, and he submitted his approval of the use of his personal page and his name. He is a nineteen year old, Caucasian student at Fike High School in Wilson, North Carolina. The method I used was quite simple. I accessed my Myspace and clicked on his picture to access his page. Then, I scrolled down passed his welcome banner (a collection of peculiar pictures, a doodle, and an advertisement for Zelda, Nintendo, and the band 14 Hour Drive), his oddly named blogs, default profile picture, and finally the how to contact list. Thus, the observation of his in-depth “About Me” section began. The section is impressively long: over eight paragraphs of random personal information. I decided to analyze the page using a process of choosing how important the information was to the study and what type of factors came into play (either in reference to an in-group or just plain personal). Results Ryan claims close to the end of his “About Me:” “My "About Me" isn't really about me, rather a collection of random quirks that cross through my mind at 2:00 in the morning. If you want to get to know me, meet me in person” (McNamara). In a recent interview with Ryan, he said the following on the same subject, “Well, first off I set up a

“Yankeeland” 4 board meeting with all the crazy little people that live inside my head. First order of business, of course, is Myspace…most of the stuff comes to me just sitting here and thinking of little quirks about myself. My About Me is a collection of little mind farts and tidbits about myself that cross my mind at any given moment. So you’ll notice my About Me is ever-expanding” (R. McNamara, personal communication, October 11, 2007). I observed that he has many different interests ranging from video games to bands, to his friendships and attachments to his roots and childhood memories. He is in a band called 14 Hour Drive and states simply, “I play keys (my weapons of choice, Korg MicroKorg synthesizer, Yamaha SHS-10 Keytar, and a Yamaha DGX305 Portable Grand Piano) in a band called 14 Hour Drive. I'm very proud to say that we're the #1 FRENCHPOP BAND IN THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA! Holler at yer boi, perhaps” (McNamara)? He also presents himself as a devote Christian. The first aspect featured in his “About Me” is a daily Bible verse box. This is followed by “I am a Christian.” Further down through the section he states, “I have good, Christian morals. You're an idiot if you smoke, drink, or have sex before marriage” (McNamara). He also calls himself a Yankee from New York State. On this fact he presents the following reasoning, “I'm a Yankee. I hale [sic] from the mystical land of the North, New York. Or commonly referred to as Yankeeland amongst my peers. It's a Narnia of sorts, where the inhabitants skip amongst the flowers discussing the latest Zelda games (through their nasal passages), and are sustained purely on Mountain Dew and bagels” (McNamara). I also delved into his manly nature of video games and his self proclaimed nerdhood, and not just any video game or video game system but Nintendo and Zelda. Ryan

“Yankeeland” 5 had this to say about Zelda, “I'm a self-proclaimed nerd. I went to the frickin' Nintendo Fusion Tour sporting a Zelda shirt.. not a Fall Out Boy shirt, not a [The] Starting Line shirt, not a Motion City Soundtrack, Panic! At the Disco, or Boys Night Out shirt. But Zelda. Although Twilight Princess wasn't all that great. Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask are where it's at. Don't forget your roots, Zelda folk” (McNamara). Ryan prefers Nintendo over Playstation, it is general knowledge to anyone who knows him. Some of the information is placed in bold, yellow printing. For example, several of his likings are presented in this form, including “Blink-182,” “sense of humor,” and “Zelda.” But on the flip side, some of his dislikes are the same way (“Pete Wentz,” “Carolos Mencia,” and “emo kids”). On this topic, Ryan said, “the words are yellow because I want to bring attention to them…so basically, people don’t have to read everything to understand how truly amazing I am.” (R. McNamara, personal communication, October 11, 2007) Scattered among the written tidbits about himself, he has twelve pictures and four videos. The pictures vary from Pokemon to two headed snakes. On the topic of the videos, Ryan stated, “Well, of course, the 14 Hour Drive promotional Star Wars video is first, because I’m ready to get some replacements so I can start playing it again, because I miss it immensely. The other videos are there just because all sorts of hilarity is ensuing, and it made MY day a little better…I don’t see why they couldn’t do the same for other people. And Mr. T? He’s in there because I’m afraid he’ll beat me up if he’s not” (R. McNamara, personal communication, October 11, 2007). The videos included are a 14 Hour Drive Star Wars spoof, Jon Stewart, Mr. T, and a skit from Saturday Night Live. A complete copy of his “About Me” can be found in Appendix A.

“Yankeeland” 6 Discussion Ryan’s Myspace can be applied to Social Identity Theory. Social Identity Theory asserts that a person’s identity is determined by the groups that he or she belongs (West). As shown by the information in his “About Me,” it is relevant to assume that my subject is deeply rooted to his in-groups. To begin the search into these in-groups, I began with his band, 14 Hour Drive. He has played with 14 Hour Drive for about a year and a half and, as previously mentioned, he has played keyboards and used a synthesizer for the bands entirety. Three different in-groups have already been presented. Firstly, he possesses more music talent than many people, as he is able to play an instrument. This would place those not musically inclined in an out-group adjacent to him. Secondly, he plays the keys: all cello, trumpet, and flute players (along with numerous other instruments) are tossed away and straight into a bundle of out-groups. Thirdly, he uses this talent to play in a band. Peter J. Burke and Donald C. Reitzes assert that “identities are symbolic and reflexive in character. It is through interaction with others that these self meanings come to be known and understood by the individual. In role relevant situations others respond to the person as a performer in a particular role” (Burke). Ironically, he is literally the performer in this role. It can be presumed by Burke and Reitzes assumption that, as Ryan is in a band and plays keyboards, that he sees himself in this light as do the other members of his in-group and is probably more easily understood by this group. Then, on the flip side, he is seen as the guy who pushes the keys by the out-group and not as fully understood by the members. This is only one grain of sand in the essence of his nature. Another in-group example would be Ryan’s faith. He is a devout Christian in the

“Yankeeland” 7 Baptist Church. He emphasizes this fact twice in his “About Me.” Blake E. Ashforth and Fred Mael conclude the following, “Social identification leads to activities that are congruent with the identity, support for institutions that embody that identity, stereotypical perceptions of self and others, and outcomes that traditionally are associated with group formation, and it reinforces the antecedents of identification” (Ashforth). This supports Ryan’s beliefs in Christianity. He goes to church, attends youth group, participates in mission trips and Baptist camps. To relate this further to Ashforth and Mael, Ryan is in touch with the identity of his Christian group. He follows the teachings found in his Baptist Church. Ashforth and Mael also assert that the social classification found in Social Identity Theory help subjects identify themselves in a social environment (Ashforth). Religion can be quite social and the tensions are ever expanding. So, since it is a religion, it is an in-group that has a cornucopia of out-groups. The out-groups would include the different sects of Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Atheists, and several more. Ryan is from New York state, qualifying himself as a Yankee. From past discussion with our mutual friends and acquaintances, I’ve discovered that some put him in an out-group from the in-group of being from the South. For example, Ryan doesn’t like sweet tea. An acquaintance suggested it was because he was from the North. Later on, he mentioned his dislike for popcorn and because of the regional differences, the person stated the same explanation. Lastly, Ryan plays Zelda on any Nintendo system (DS, Wii, 64, and so on). As previously stated, he doesn’t like Playstation. Playstation is Nintendo’s rival gaming company. This information creates another set of in-groups and out-groups. Ryan’s in-group is, of course, Nintendo, and the out-group is Playstation. To elaborate outside the context of Nintendo verses Playstation, there is the fact that he went

“Yankeeland” 8 to the Nintendo Fusion Tour wearing a Zelda shirt. This sets him into an out-group of the people who went to the concert actually wearing shirts that corresponded with the bands performing. There are shortcomings to my analysis of Ryan’s Myspace. I have been extremely close friends with Ryan for 3 years so I understand his personality and random quirkiness. Perhaps this is a shortcoming because some of the information is rather odd. From the theoretical aspect, Social Identity Theory fails to take the history of the person into account and assumes that people choose their own in groups (Personal Communication, English class notes). From personal communication over the time I have known Ryan, I have come to know why he’s Baptist, why he prefers Nintendo, and how he came to play keyboards. These examples are conclusive to how he didn’t exactly pick the in groups. The events seem to label the in-groups as choosing him, not the other way around. Conclusion Ryan is a Zelda loving, northerner with a passion for music and Mountain Dew, and Walt Whitman would praise him for what he sings of himself. Ryan McNamara’s “About Me” is an example of Social Identity theory because of the in groups of which he is associated and he has filled his honey comb with several, random groups. Maybe one day those in-groups he associates himself with today will influence who he is in the future. “I want to go places, and do stuff with my life. Like you know.. maybe own an ant farm someday or something. See? I have ambitions” (McNamara).

References

“Yankeeland” 9 Burke, Peter J. and Reitzes, Donald C. (1981). The Link Between Identity and Role Performance. Social Psychology Quarterly. 44, No 2, 83-92 Colbert, Stephen. (2007). I Am America (And So Can You!) New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing Hachette Book Group. Ix Ashforth, Blake E. and Mael, Fred. (1989). Social Identity Theory and Organization. Academy of Management Review. 14, No 1, 20-39 McNamara, Ryan. Myspace.com - Ryan “Sugah Daddy” McNamara - 18 - Male Wilson, North Carolina -www.-. Retrieved on October 11, 2007, from www.myspace.com/loserkidsblink182 Myspace. (2007). About Us - Myspace.com. Retrieved on October 14, 2007, from http://www.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=misc.aboutus West, Richard and Lynn, Turner H. (2007). Introducing Communication Theory: Analysis and Application. New York, NY: The McGraw Hill Companies.

Appendix 1

“Yankeeland” 10 I am a Christian. Hm. About me. Well, I play keys (my weapons of choice, Korg MicroKorg synthesizer, Yamaha SHS-10 Keytar, and a Yamaha DGX305 Portable Grand Piano) in a band called 14 Hour Drive. I'm very proud to say that we're the #1 FRENCH-POP BAND IN THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA! Holler at yer boi, perhaps? I'm a bit of an insomniac. I live in Wilson, NC. This is Wilson. As of May 13th, 2007, I decided that my life goal was to have a Wikipedia article about me by the time I die. First off, despite what anyone says, I am in fact, more fergalicious than you. I have the 49th most common male name in the US. I wrote Dan Hill's "Sometimes When We Touch". Go on. Listen to it. A lyrical masterpiece. Thank you, thank you. "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls is one of those songs that I love more and more, the more I listen to it. I want to go places, and do stuff with my life. Like you know.. maybe own an ant farm someday or something. See? I have ambitions. If I get around to it, I want to buy a 20 x 20 plot of earth. In this 20 x 20 plot of earth, will be the world's most whimsical (and self-contained) theme park/country ever. I haven't decided whether call it "Ryan-Land" or "Nebraska". I'm a self-proclaimed nerd. I went to the frickin' Nintendo Fusion Tour sporting a Zelda shirt.. not a Fall Out Boy shirt, not a [The] Starting Line shirt, not a Motion City Soundtrack, Panic! At the Disco, or Boys Night Out shirt. But Zelda. Although Twilight Princess wasn't all that great. Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask are where it's at. Don't forget your roots, Zelda folk. I love poop jokes. It's your civil duty to do so as well. Hehe.. duty = doody. I hardly get attached to people. It's even more rare for me to have a crush on someone. It doesn't happen often. I refuse to look for a relationship. That's stupid. I'll let whatever happen, happen. Speaking of relationships, I don't think "Ms. McNamara" resides in Wilson. I'll find her when I find her, and until then, I'm in no rush. I'm perfectly intent with being single. When I do find "Ms. Right", she'll be someone who doesn't just tolerate my flaws and

“Yankeeland” 11 character, but embraces them. I wish people would find me interesting. I'm a christian. Wanna fight about it? Girls are not meat to me. I don't grade them on breast size, weight, and how much I want to lick certain food toppings off of their anatomy. I'd trade off for intelligence and a sense of humor any day. In fact, I even refuse to use the word "hot" to describe anything other than temperature, or my freakishly hot dance moves. It would be a crime to say that my dance moves aren't "hot". Sizzle, indeed. I love sucking on peanut shells, but I hate peanuts. Yes, that's right. I enjoy sucking nuts. Laugh it up. I'm a yankee. I hale from the mystical land of the north, New York. Or commonly referred to as Yankeeland amongst my peers. It's a Narnia of sorts, where the inhabitants skip amongst the flowers discussing the latest Zelda games (through their nasal passages), and are sustained purely on Mountain Dew and bagels. I can't be mean to people. I hate it. It usually ends up with people walking all over me. I also hate when someone doesn't like something about me, or points out one of my flaws. I dwell on it. I hate when people think it's necessary to have to be in a relationship at all times. If they're not in one, they search desperately to fall in another one. Live life, people. Stop being so concerned about relationships. I also don't like it when people use the music they listen to, or the ability to play music to their advantage. Music can be a form of expression, a way to have fun, a vent, an outlet, what have you. It's not a pedestal. So stop glorifying yourself and actually sit back and enjoy music. I won't ever try to impress or show off for someone. Either like me for who I am, or don't like me at all. I refuse to change. One time I drew an artificial beard on myself with a pen. Why, do you ask? Because it made me feel superior to everyone else. I did have a beard, after all. The world is a much smaller place, when you dawn a freshly groomed [or neatly inked] beard. Close-minded people annoy me. But looking back at myself, I can see myself being close-minded about certain aspects. "Ig'nant" people bug me, as well. People that are generic, and don't think for themselves bother me too. When people act/dress/think/live/(verb) a certain way according to their "label" or "status", it almost ruins the point of individuality. That's right, emo kids. What's so emotional about fitting yourself into a role preprogrammed to sit and feel sorry for yourself? What kind of life is

“Yankeeland” 12 that? Get the hair out of your eyes, put a smile on your face, and enjoy youth, eh? This fall I'm going to attend an educational promotion facility known as Nash Technical College. Then I'm going to transfer to Yale and get a degree in A) Journalism, or B) Graphic Design. Doing something with music wouldn't hurt either. I have trouble finding motivation. Starbucks is overrated and too expensive. I refuse to go there and pull out a laptop and pretend to be important, while I sip on my frappuccino... or whatever people drink. I miss building forts made out of blankets. For something only made out of 4-5 old blankets, it sure seemed secure enough. Speaking of blankets, I loved this blanket when I was a kid. Then our neighbor got hit by a car. My mom went to the scene and used my blanket to cover the body of our beloved neighbor. Jerk. I loved that blanket. My mom had to break it to me at the age of 5 that blood stains aren't easily removed. I'm a software pirate. Argghh. LAWL. I hate Pete Wentz and Carlos Mencia. Pete Wentz is an attention hungry, show-off sellout. He's a bass player. Anyone can do his job, but he always makes sure to stand out and draw attention to himself. Carlos Mencia's material isn't funny, and half of it he stole from other comedians. George Lopez, Bill Cosby, Bobby Lee, Ari Shaffir, and radio DJs.. he used all of their material. The only thing he contributed himself was "DEE DEE DEE" and "BEANER!@#@", and incoherently flopping around on stage saying "LOL DEE DEE DEE, LOL, U A BEANER".. that's not funny. I've talked enough about the kinds of people I don't like. Now, the people I do like. First off, a sense of humor is a must. I find it hard to get along with a person without a sense of humor. I like people that go out of their way to talk to me and see how I am. It's nice to see people make an effort. I like people who listen, and not just listen mindlessly, but give back relevant feedback. I've been fascinated with the night and stars since I was a kid. Taking a short stroll (or drive, these days) in the middle of the night is always great. The colder the better. If it weren't for the musical genius known as Blink 182, I probably wouldn't be where or who I am today. They inspired me, entertained me, and have comforted me since as long as I can remember. If it weren't for them, I would've never touched a piano, guitar, or had the appreciation for music I have now. And I probably wouldn't have much of a sense of humor either. I have a sense of humor, right? Sometimes I'm too analytical for my own good. My "About Me" isn't really about me, rather a collection of random quirks that cross through my mind at 2:00 in the morning. If you want to get to know me, meet me in person.

“Yankeeland” 13 Jon Stewart is my favorite politician. I'm an 18 year old male who looks like a 13 year old. I'm 5"8, 120 lbs, and my body refuses to grow any more than it has. But then again, a lot of Wilson guys my age are also just like me. Perhaps it's something in the water? I don't grow facial hair. Just random whiskers. Which is a shame. I think I could sport a nice beard. I have good, Christian morals. You're an idiot if you smoke, drink, or have sex before marriage. My Top 24 has no order whatsoever. I'm not going to list my friends in order of importance, because there is no order of importance. If you're up there, you are loved immensely. I'm utterly afraid of (but not limited to) the following:

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