popular culture envy

There is a lot of angst about anti-Americanism in the world. It was a major policital issue in the last presidential campaign. The question is whether it can be bought and by what currency.

In the end, all the hostility directed at the American popular culture by critics worldwide is to a large extent a misplaced anger at your own people: how dare they, traitors, want the American stuff, when our home-grown is so much better. People from Cairo to Calcutta, from Lagos to Lima, are fascinated by the American product because of what it represents: the confidence, optimism and opportunities of the world’s most successful economy and the most desired society (we, in communist Poland, certainly did). The critics understand that fact implicitly, which is why those who dislike the American culture are also very likely to be hostile to American political and economic systems, American foreign policy and other aspects of American life. So, in many ways, culture wars are merely a continuation of political conflict through other means. [Chrenkoff. Global culture war. 9Ja05]

The indication here is that the problem is one of resistance to bottom up change. In the famous ‘how to boil a frog’ example this is a case of the water getting warm but all the frog is doing is complaining about things getting a bit warm.

This kind of change may be particularly irritating because it involves a change in basic identity. The ‘us versus them’ boundry is becoming less clear. Remember that scifi item about “resistance is futile?”

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