“I am, have been, and will always be one thing, an American.” – Charles Foster Kane
Anderson describes the nation-state as a cultural system, but also as a means to collect common experience, countering pre-modern hierarchies and notions of dynastic rule. Nationalism calls for a solidary in sameness, the imagined community that creates kinship from a distance, that removes a face-to-face ideal by allowing moments of convergence to occur through a third party—print media.
What print media does, which we see clearly in the film Citizen Kane, is provide the narrative. The newspaper tells us what to think by making us buy into the idea that we all share the same reality. It brings us together socially, spatially, temporally, giving us access to that which was previously unattainable. Kane provides his own truths through the Inquirer. Kane (ironically just a citizen) is shown to be a leader to the mass.
I was most intrigued by Kane’s quote on American nationality and what it might suggest. This is an American man acting out an American story and regardless of one’s socioeconomic class, political background, or religious inclinations, this story is meant to resonate with Americans and/or create a consciousness about America/what Americans believe. Kane says the statement in response to being called a Fascist and so this is also a moment of patriotism. It was interesting to see nation remain a constant, unifying past, present, and future, while the rest of Kane’s world fell apart around him.