Some ideologues and Leftists worldwide, coined the label that Americans are constantly trying to impose on the world their American way of life. A country so rich, a nation so diverse, hardworking and productive, created from themselves, a particular conception of the consumer society, the market economy and democratic system, their own. They established as well, as part of their lifestyle and idiosyncrasies, cultural patterns that shape their identities, which like large social groups in many countries around the world and in recent years have become more universalized with globalization.
Historians narrate that the Leftist animosity was such that the comic superhero, the U.S. icon Superman — devised by the imagination of the writer Jerry Siegel and the pencil of artist Joe Shuster — was widely attacked by the leaders of the Soviet Union’s ideological colonies, who said that the character, with his creative license tendencies, was an analogy for military power in that country. Cuba, of course, could not keep up, and it was not until the ’70s that we saw the Superman movie starring Christopher Reeve. The same thing happened to Popeye, who was saddled with a similar label and had to wait for an intolerant power to authorize his showing on TV.
Two or three years ago transmission of CCTV — Chinese television — was imposed on Cubans, after review by the censors. There we had to digest folk culture clunkers very different from ours, but it is well-known that the authorities flatter those governments that help them economically. I say this because I have remember the old relationship of my government with the Soviet Union and I find that it repeats itself with Venezuela.
I return to the theme of Chinese CCTV, because a few days ago my husband and I saw part of a musical in which Chinese artists sang and we were surprised the visible influence of Western culture which showed in their interpretations. We are left with the idea that, if not for the language, we could have closed our eyes and not known that performance originated somewhere other than in the United States. The space featured a distinguished cultural treat for the taste captured and commercialized by pop, with jazz ingredients and an appetizing concoction of folk rock ’n roll, as a marketable and attractive imitation. Influenced by the American way, it seems the mythical Asian dragon is transmuting into a “Chinese ox” and the cultural patrons who say that the Americans are trying to spread themselves around the world, is not that they are imposing them, it’s that they are contagious.
December 30 2012