The Plastic Pink Flamingo: A Natural History

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Jennifer Price subtly crafts her view of American culture when she writes about the wonders of the Pink Flamingo, her view is in line with her attitude to the revolution in America. The turning point and the beginning of the upward climb condensed into the talk of the bold pink flamingo. The history of the pink flamingo in American culture suggests a perception of the values of the time. Without a doubt, the plastic flamingo reflected the values of American culture and was a symbol of its luxurious and perhaps silly lifestyle in the 1950s. Ultimately, the bird was a symbol of Americans' desire to flaunt their exuberance and ignorance of American culture. Obviously, the American culture of the time was also shaped by foolish desires for fame and social inclusion.

What Is Hiding Behind

In the essay The Plastic Pink Flamingo: A Natural History, Jennifer Price explores the pink flamingo in America. She dives into the enigmatic symbolism of the flamingo and further highlights the aspects of the country's culture using words and a sarcastic tone, analyzing American culture and expressing her distaste for its values ​​in the 1950s. Price begins her essay by explaining that flamingos have grown in popularity on the premise that they are simply "flamingos" (Price 73). Here she makes fun of the irrational thinking of American culture because it is generally considered foolish to demonstrate one’s wealth to the world in modern times.

It is worth remembering the past, in which the Americans hunted Florida flamingos to sell, but a hundred years later, flamingos were “written into their lawn” as a sign of extravagance. Americans adorned their lawns with plastic flamingos to associate themselves with the wealthy in society—despite the fact that the bird was killed in the past (Price 75). The reader understands the correlation of flamingos with extravagance and luxury in the country and realizes the ignorant desire of Americans to express their status in society.

Also, the conspicuous color of the flamingo was attractive to Americans in the 1950s, and the colors favored by the plastic industry, including "tangerine, hot purple" and hot pink, remained the dominant colors of the decade. Undoubtedly, at that time, Americans wanted to celebrate and express their pride in a new era of prosperity after the Great Depression. In addition, Price gives examples of celebrities such as Elvis Presley, who "bought a pink Cadillac" after signing his first contract. The association of pink with fame suggests that popularity was a valued aspect of American society (Price 77). Thus, the working class also bought pink goods that famous people possessed. In such a way, people not only showed their devotion to celebrities and elites but also attempted to represent their thrive on having a similar life visually.

Jennifer Price also compares the symbolism of the pink flamingo in other parts of the world. She claims that the flamingo had cultural significance in various countries, including ancient Egypt, where it "symbolized the sun god Ra" and remains the "primary motif" of art and art in Mexico and the Caribbean. No wonder why it stood out in America. The Americans began to introduce pink flamingos into the culture of the country (Price 80). People wanted attention or to be seen by others, through ownership, the country wanted to remain relevant and relevant to the rest of the world. Price clearly communicates that American culture had become superficial at the time.

Conclusion

In contrast to America's Golden Age, the pink flamingo "turned" into an "oasis of instant wealth." While the pink flamingo wouldn’t exactly imply higher social status, it became a form of a representation, a symbol of American Dream of sorts. The second bold claim, as Price describes it, was the choice of color, the rhetorical questions in the last paragraph emphasize the importance of choosing a color that "stands out even more strikingly in the desert than on the lawn." At the same time, the choice of color is explained purely by chance as pink was one of the most widespread color of plastic at the time. Price sees the culture of the United States as one with a "passion" to overcome and a "twilight" that ends an "old-fashioned" era to start "looking forward" to the future.

Works Cited

Price, Jennifer. “A Brief Natural History of the Plastic Pink Flamingo.” Chap. 3 in Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern America. Basic Books, 2000, pp. 73-88, https://www.environmentandsociety.org/sites/default/files/key_docs/price_pinkflamingo_as_1.pdf

June 16, 2022
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