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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Technology - Taking a Wrong Turn.

I's hard to tell, in a world so highly connected by technology, what the future of all the world's cultures will be. I see technology as accomplishing both good and bad - though I think it's coming clear that the bad will outweigh the good.

International communication/entertainemt (especially telecision, movies and internet) have become increasingly dominated by the U.S.. There are mixed feelings about this all around the world. Some countries welcome all things U.S., but most countries are upset - and desperately trying to limit wastern influences in an attempt to preserve their own cultures. As things progress, the number of countries fighting westernization increases.

And what about Americans? Do they care whether or not other countries are becoming westernized? I do, and many others do, yet, apparently, there are many who DON'T care as well. Unfortunately, there are probably some T.V. stations that could sit back, watch the whole world become one global U.S. and not let it phase them in the least.

I, however, want to do more than just rephrase the given concerns which repeat themselves again and again in countless news reports and textbooks. I want to explore the real life side of this topic, and analyze accounts of how these changes affect people, and how people are fighting them. Thus, before you read the rest of this essay, you should first read this .

This article describes the Indian film coorporation Bollywood, which initially modeled itself after and gained inspiration from the United State's Hollywood. Said so plainly, this appears to be a first class case of westernization, but, after reading a bit further, it becomes clear that Bollywood fights westernization rather than adhere to it.

Firstly, Bollywood films have practically no resemblance to western films. The ideas, music, etc. in all of these films is distinctly Indian. And, the fact is, Bollywood puts out about 750 (which is two and a half times) more films anually than Hollywood does. As the article points out, this comes as a big surprise to many Americans.

So, how does Bollywood produce so many movies? It's very simple - they keep production costs down. And, Indian films are gaining popularity all around the world. I have some personal experience bases verification of this too. I have a friend from the country Morocco, in Africa. And, according to her, Indian films are very popular in Morocco. Thus, when we were assigned to watch an Indian film for a class, we were both very exited: me because I'd heard about Indians films but never seen them, and her because she'd seen many and loved them already.

As the article points out, many Indian things (one being Yoga) are catching on in the U.S.. So, perhaps one day the U.S. will become influened by Indian movies, much in the same way that other countries are influenced by our movies right now. Such reversal would be a nice change. It would create some balance. I did hear, though, on one news report that some Indian movies have been tested already and have failed in the United States The news report basically said that it was because their style was too distinct from our own. If that's truly the case, then all I can say is "Good for them!" It's very refreshing to see a case where another culture doesn't feel pressured to conform to westernized entertainment styles.

While this has been an example of a case in which a Eastern country has prevailed over westernization, other countries are often not nearly so successful. Many countries see such a high intake of U.S. movies and T.V. programs that they have to place restrictions on what percentage of their T.V. programs/movies are Amercian versus what percent is local.

And, while the article concludes itself with a list of positive effects that globalization has had on the U.S., it doesn't tell much (or anything really) about the overbearing unbalanced effects of the U.S. on the rest of the world.

Here is a small paragraph about one negative influence the west is having on Asia. Asian countries are adopting Americanized diets. Therefore, they are losing their culturally distinct and traditional foods, and the health of Asia's younger generations is decreasing as a result. (for those of them who choose a more westernized diet at least.)

In conclusion, the term "Westernization" is often used intercangeably with "Americanization." And, Americanization is also affecting other western countries. I'd mentioned earlier in the essay that many countries have to place restrictions on what percentage of their T.V. programs/movies are Amercian versus what percent is local. Surprisingly, as I heard in a class the other day, on such country being forced to enforce such restrictions is Canada!


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