Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Entertainers as Heroes

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Sigmund, Carl and Alfred go out of their way and post an article by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, titled "The Academy Awards: When Court Jesters Become Kings" in its entirety. The author's argument is sound and clear and he believes this should help one "understand why so many people around the world think we Americans are so stupid and shallow. It's not because of Bush. It's because of Hollywood."

Unfortunately, if there's one thing America has been very successful at, that's what most European intellectuals (not necessarily left-of-liberal) call "cultural imperialism". Where McDonalds and Hollywood go hand-in-hand, there are no obstacles. The more "traditional" and "chauvinist" a society is to begin with, the easier it falls. If you thought 'France' as you read this, think again. This gorgeous post by Extraordinary Ordinary Guy in Japan says it all. And it's only about hair.

Overall, I wouldn't subscribe to the blame-it-on-Hollywood theory. Even if one takes all the glitz apart, there's still bound to be some content. Simplistic content? Propaganda? Happy-American-Ends? Maybe. But content nonetheless. While if one takes George W.'s "Hero" uniform away, what content would there be left?

Could not resist linking to a poll carried out by renowned Opinion Polling Institute DIMAP, tasked by German daily Die Welt. Turns out Germans trust Putin more than Bush (you can find a report here). It should matter when people trust you less than an ex-KGB agent, shouldn't it? Now, if only I could recall where I first read this aphorism...


Blogger Loxias said...

A KGB agent

a. is efficient, by definition;
b. will go for covert ops before blasting down the 'enemy' in an overkill blaze;
c. knows the rudiments of conversation or even diplomacy (necessary, for instance, before administering poison to the person you are having a cocktail with).

9:17 pm EET  
Blogger Loxias said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:18 pm EET  
Blogger Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

Thanks for linking to my post and providing some interesting food for thought.

The reference to Cultural Imperialism is indeed an empirical one. American culture is indeed pervasive. In my opinion however, that is because it is so easy to adapt and adopt, unlike many other, 'closed' cultures.

Your take and ideas are good ones- and thoughtful. Discussing culture is a dangerous business. It's nice to see it addressed clearly.

2:50 am EET  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, another two elements re: America's success in cultural infiltratrion of (just about any other) nation(s) is the seer volume and intense promotion of its product, coupled with the more-than-usual lack of any intellectual or particularly 'cultural'/'cultured' (and i use cultural in its narrowest sense here) element. These two factors make culture-a-la-Americain far more available, accessible and digestible.
A bit like chips... not quite pommes frites.


2:06 pm EET  

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