Global Politics

America's Hollywood fringe

The world visits America first at the movies, so which America do they see in Cairo or other international destinations. This man says Americans believe themselves and want to dominate all other parts of the world. This film historian says the world has come to recognize action and violence as the basic American way of telling a story. But this man says everyone wants to go to America because they assume what happens in the movies is what happens in real life. Hollywood has carried images of America to the unlikeliest places: for example Kim Jong Il is a huge American film fan. This man used to help supply the North Korean leader with his movies and he says he likes American movies, in particular action movies. He probably thinks that Americans just shoot each other all day. Hollywood ends up filling the vacuum for cultural diplomacy these days and this worries some Americans. Shortly before his recent death, Robert Altman said some things are too important to be left to the whims of the market. Altman was referring to the attacks of September 11th, 2001. This academic says his son mistook the attacks on 9/11 at first for an American action movie and he thinks the terrorists had some wicked, ironic sense of that. It's fair to say that Hollywood no longer has a monopoly on the imagination of the world and non-Western countries are able to communicate in more articulate ways than ever before. This academic says America's culture is not as omni-present at it used to be. Hollywood is also not alone in communicating American culture now, and American TV has started to play a role as well. But for nearly a century the fact remains that millions around the globe have fallen in love with Americans, or at least American stars.

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