Griffin, Edward M. "The Melting Pot, Vegetable Soup, and the Martini Cocktail: Competing Explanations of U.S. Cultural Pluralism." Midwest Quarterly 39.2 (Winter98 1998): 133-152. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 28 Nov. 2008 <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,ip,uid&db=aph&AN=165317&loginpage=Login.asp&site=ehost-live>.
The author is professor of American literature at the University of Minnesota. The article mixes humor with an unconventional use of texts, as well as argument and speculation. His writing is easy to read.
If the republic survives ten years, demographics will shuffle the proportions of the Martini Cocktail as the white population drops below 75%; the cocktail will be less dry but the taste of the Vegetable Soup will get spicier; the English language will indeed display a new vernacular--probably increasing its already extensive lexicon of confiict and violence but also its beauty. The 1995 canon of valued works in American literature is quite different from that in 1955 but will still seem archaic, something for graduate students to memorize and then forget after comprehensive exams. American mobility has already changed the terms of any previous definition of the USA, for the target has moved: the population center has shifted west of the Mississippi. With the national tilt to the west, the makeup of the House of Representatives, elected by population, will surely change, despite the inevitable stem resistance of incumbent parties and politicians. (And funding bills originate in the House.) Inevitably the Asian-Pacific Rim, Canada, and Latin America will challenge the European Community for the attention of the American people even as the reestablishment of a cultural empire in central Europe reinforces an awareness of European ethnicity in the American consciousness and the disestablishment of the Soviet Empire requires us to reassess our previous understanding of twentieth-century history. The realignment of power and formation of new social systems in Africa will change U.S. policies and the way U.S. citizens think about Africa and the nation's African heritage. With power- relationships slipping and sliding into new configurations elsewhere, one can reasonably expect them to change here as well, either peacefully or dirough upheaval, either in obedience to economic law or sheer human cussedness. At the moment the pension checks start to arrive in he homes of the G.I. Bill emeriti, which of our definitions, which vivid metaphors, will then approximate our experience of that living reality with sufficient power to gain assent? Only a major prophet could risk that forecast.