Hollywood Planet: Global Media and the Competitive Advantage of Narrative Transparency

Hollywood Planet: Global Media and the Competitive Advantage of Narrative Transparency

Hollywood Planet: Global Media and the Competitive Advantage of Narrative Transparency

Hollywood Planet: Global Media and the Competitive Advantage of Narrative Transparency

Synopsis

Combing postcolonial and postmodern theory with global management strategic theory, Olson (Ball State U.) tries to account theoretically for the several recent ethnographical studies suggesting different interpretations of television programs and film by a variety of international audiences. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Excerpt

What are the media doing to culture? the American film Dirty Dancing (1987), the tale of a summer romance between a rich guest at an exclusive resort and an across-the-tracks boy she meets there, was a big hit with teenage Hindus and Sikhs living in Britain. They saw in it a reflection of Diwali, the traditional festival of lights that celebrates the goddess Lakshmi (Gillespie, 1995b). Their parents, like the parents in the film, were somewhat aghast; the young people's restaging of the film's climactic dance number signified for the older generation the chaos of cultural pollution, but for the kids, the culture in the film was theirs already. Meanwhile, terrorists angered by U.S. policy detonate bombs in Planet Hollywood restaurants (Harris, 1998). American media are everywhere and responses to them are complex.

Scholars and politicians often proclaim that there is a fork in the road: tradition versus Dirty Dancing (1987); culture versus anarchy. Culture -- anarchy is the dialectic that academics and politicians use to talk about the global media's effect on children and that Hindu parents use to talk about the Westernization of the Diwali festival. It has them wringing their hands. in this formulation, culture is everything good that we stand to lose and anarchy is what the mass media let loose on us. Setting culture against anarchy is not new, as anyone familiar with Matthew Arnold (1932) will recognize; he set culture against anarchy as the stuff we should preserve, "the best that has been thought and said." Such a formulation still suits admonitions that culture is fragile and has to be protected. a modern variant of Arnold is reflected in this statement on media flow from a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Conference in the 1980s:

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