Thomas Friedman, in his book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, tells of being in a Middle Eastern country, feeling a bit lost, but then walking around a street corner to see a Taco Bell sign greeting him. He was ecstatic. He mused that "before Taco Bell there was probably a fly-infested sidewalk stand." Friedman,
What started over a century ago as a homogenization of Native Americans and Hispanics into U.S. culture has become a worldwide flood. Go nearly anywhere in the world and you'll find something boringly American.like many others, sees the homogenization of culture as a godsend to the world, because supposedly, it means that the poor are getting richer. From an economic standpoint, this might possibly be true, but from a social standpoint it is demonstrably false. The world would be much better off enjoying the variegated culture of the sidewalk stand, rather than being bombarded by the hackneyed image of Taco Bells everywhere.
One of my greatest regrets from having served with the U.S. Military in Iraq for 12 months is that I never once got a chance to sample the Iraqi cuisine. Ironically, amid a people we were ostensibly trying to help, the U.S. government would let citizens from nearly any country in the world serve as cooks for us military service members--except for Iraqis. The further irony was that the many-cultured dining workers didn't get to sample anything cultural either--except for the commonplace of American food.
What started over a century ago as a homogenization of Native Americans and Hispanics into U.S. culture has become a worldwide flood.
Do you ever wonder why the world seems so small? Part of the reason is because it has become so much the same wherever you go.Go nearly anywhere in the world and you'll find something boringly American. More often than not those advocating that we become hyphenated Americans are really simply crying out that we respect and cherish their cultures--and keep them from extinction. Nearly absent such respect, America is becoming one large neon light that shines to glorify the good works of corporatism.
The average American sees over 20,000 television commercials per year. Approximately 100 U.S. corporations control about 75% of the commercials that we see on TV. With prime-time television commercial spots costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, it's no wonder that restaurants and convenience stores serve almost exclusively Coke or Pepsi products. It's no wonder that kids can get sugar fixes from a very limited assortment of goods from their school vending machines. It's no wonder that Lays is almost the only brand of chip on the potato chip aisle at the supermarket. It's no wonder that we think we're
More often than not those advocating that we become hyphenated Americans are really simply crying out for us to respect and cherish their cultures--and to keep them from extinction.healthy because that grease we just ate has 0 grams of trans fats!!
I kind of like the idea that Arcata, California has come up with: the restriction of so-called "formula restaurants". Not only would that seem to portend well for our health, it would help us to better respect a heterogeneity of cultures--something that is sorely lacking in an America that sees itself in every way the world's primary benefactor.
In 1993, Sony's Akio Morita called for a reduction of trade barriers. The trade barriers that he specifically referred to were the barriers of local cultures. What's wrong with a variety of local cultures? Such variety makes it difficult for a handful of globally dominant corporations to keep their products in the ascendancy. Do you ever wonder why the world seems so small? Part of the reason is because it has become so much the same wherever you go.
To secure brand names, multinational corporations
At one time in America, we prided ourselves on our heterogeneity. We kept with us our cultures that we brought from across the sea, and we respected those we came in contact with. Now, however, we have been seduced into thinking that homogenized consumerism is the key to happiness, and this has become our primary export.spend hundreds of billions of dollars yearly on advertising in order to manufacture demand for their products. This makes even the most orgiastic presidential campaign look tame by comparison. Such filthy lucre, spent solely on our seduction, is nearly as much as the entire world spends on educating our children. No wonder our world economy is staggering amid mountains of personal and corporate debt.
At one time in America, we prided ourselves on our heterogeneity. We kept with us our cultures that we brought from across the sea, and we respected those we came in contact with. Now, however, we have been seduced into thinking that homogenized consumerism is the key to happiness, and this has become our primary export. In more recent years, as a result, Americans are not the only ones to have been seduced by by the banality offered by predominantly American corporations. Nowadays, we see McDonalds and Taco Bells on every corner. Asians now make products that Americans have become so adept at demanding, to the point that they have come to demand the same lifeless products themselves. Our polished corporate advertising agencies have been successful in colonizing nearly every culture they've touched.
How boring. How dangerous.
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--By the way, I just came across this excellent post by Tom at Alt-Tag. Enjoy!
--Here, from A Liberal Mormon, is another appropriate piece on what Christ would find if he returned to earth during this Christmas season.