Aprill 22, 2009
Boy! That’s a pretty incendiary and fatalistic sentence to start out with, no? Well it’s been on my mind for a good while now and I suppose I just had to blurt it out.
The movie was a breath of fresh air; it had an original story, good acting, and several memorable scenes. It was so good in fact, that it won “Best Picture” at the Academy Awards proving that a “Feel-Good” film can squeeze it’s way into the depressing ranks of other Emmy winners like Schindler’s List, Million Dollar Baby, and American Beauty.
But the victory of Slumdog at the Academy Awards and America’s reverence for the film bellies a more frightening notion. Our once strong vice-grip on Cultural Imperialism is becoming more and more flimsy.
Let’s be honest, America was the best country in the world for a span of about 7 years, during and immediately after World War II. But soon we stopped exporting steel, wheat, and coal; and started exporting culture, an infinitely more valuable commodity. TV shows, Top 40 hits, sports teams and (above all) movies were sent out to the farthest reaches of civilization, giving everyone a taste of what it was like to live in America. And it was so delicious.
Superman, Robert Redford, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Nicholson, Mickey Mouse, James Dean, Oprah Winfrey and Bugs Bunny, real and imaginary entities staked claim in the hearts of the world.
But now we have overstayed our welcome. You know how having a house guest is always OK at first, but then after a while they start taking your hospitality for granted until you finally think to yourself “Why was I even friends with this jackass in the first place? They keep leaving wet towels on the floor.” That’s what American culture has come too. Our culture has become a wet towel. The citizens of the world have been taken for granted for too long and now they’re looking for love in another’s arms.
Am I reading too much into the success of Slumdog?
Yes. What else is new?
The population of India is on pace to outgrow China for the largest in the world. My point is: if Bollywood (India’s unoriginally-named version of Hollywood) even gets its foot in the door on the world scene, then the US will simply be overwhelmed by the flood of an alien culture.
Think that this type of switch really wouldn’t be that big of a deal?
This is what Bollywood has to offer. Frightening!!!
But judge not, lest we be judged.
English became the adopted language of citizens in countries all around the world in one of two ways: they were a former colony of the British who forced them to learn, or they were exposed to American movies, music and TV shows and the picked it up eventually through osmosis. As a result, they were more inclined to pick up on American trends, buy American products, and use valuable American dollars. Cha-ching!!
What if the shoe gets put on the other foot?
We complain about having to learn Spanish now; what if we have to learn Hindi? They don’t even use our alphabet.
I don’t even know what a rupee is!
The Ramayana! What the hell is that? Flying monkeys?!? Like in the Wizard of Oz!?!?
All I’m saying is that the stuff we’re putting out there for the world to see is not helping our case. For every No Country for Old Men, there are about three hundred Fighting’s or Obsessed’s or 17 Again’s, all rehashes of similar stories with the faces changed around.
I’m pretty sure the world has to be getting as sick of Wife Swap as I am.
So what happens when a unique story gets made into a good movie?
There’s a wind rustling from the East. That smell is a strong curry and rice breeze drifting across the globe. If we don’t step our game up, we’ll all wind up breaking into huge elaborate dance numbers at the end of our days.
Would that be so bad?