American Isolationism

“Given our extreme isolationism – arguably even greater today than it was half a century ago – it’s logical that we should think of foreigners in stereotypical terms because we have so little informations and experience to draw upon; similarily, we often think of non-Americans as wannabe Americans. So, out of necessity, we wind up thinking about much of the rest of the world in shorthand: Communists are nonreligious, the French worship Jerry Lewis, Iranians are subject to heavy censorship in the arts, the Chinese produce fortune cookies. That there are plenty of religious Communists, that most contemporary French viewers prefer Woody Allen to Jerry Lewis, that Iranians tend to revere artists more than we do, and that Chinese fortune cookies are strictly for export are lesser-known facts because they interfere with our ready-made formulas. At most such data offers fleeting clues about what usually escapes our radar, and unless we can combine them with additional information, they’re likely to be helpful only as counter-stereotypes, not as understandings of these foreign cultures. [..]
The assumed desire might be expressed in infantile and emotional terms: “I don’t like the world, take it away” In other words, the virtual-reality thriller seems to solve the puzzle of how to address an audience assumed to be interested only in escaping without reminding them of what they’re supposed to be escaping from. [..]”
Jonathan Rosenbaum

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~ by rachelhurvitz on May 18, 2011.

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