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U.S.A.: United States Alone

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The myth of globalization lives on in the minds of business people only (the economic miracle, open markets etc.) It’s all a bunch of hooey to justify the outsourcing of jobs and screwing the most profit out of a market place as possible.

When the major player in the so called free market is as isolationist minded as the current American Administration it is reflected in the attitudes of their people. With a foreign policy based on our way is the only way it makes it hard for anything new or different to penetrate.

Whether trade goods, raw materials, or intellectual ideas, it makes no difference. Goods and material are subjected to tariffs and other protectionist policies in contradiction of the aims of freer trade. Cultural items either are rejected out of hand or adapted to be more “American.” The case of two foreign authors, one famous and one not so, is a prime example of the cultural isolationism currently existing in the United States.

I recently wrote a review of a wonderful book by the Indian author Ashok Banker. He is in the midst of publishing an adaptation of a 3,000 year old epic Indian saga called the Ramayana. The tale has been used as a teaching tool for countless generations through the exemplary attitudes and behaviour of the central character Prince Rama. Through him concepts and philosophies central to “a good person” are explored and described.

In a comment Ashok posted on his web site in response to my review, he said that he was glad that I, a westerner, was able to understand the precepts espoused in the story. He had already lost one publisher in America who, after publishing the first book of the series, refused the rest on the grounds that the public would be unwilling to try and understand the ideas expressed in his books. His British publisher has recently taken on the responsibility for publishing the rest of the series.

This didn’t come as too much of a surprise to me. He is not the first author whose work has either been rejected, or been considered too “foreign” for an American audience.

J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books have to be translated into American. All of those “difficult” to understand British figures of speech and sayings! Instead of a character “doing her nut” she gets angry, or being “barking,” they’re crazy. Now that may not seem like much, but to me it’s indicative of a culture that refuses to make the effort to understand the differences that give distinctiveness to a people.

In Canada, we have what we call a distinct society in Quebec. They have a culture and language that differs from the rest of the country, French. Even their civil law code is different from other provinces. Various provisions in Federal Provincial relationships have been developed to ensure the protection of that uniqueness.

Although it can be at times a serious bone of contention it is also one of the things that many of us celebrate. A diversity of cultures makes for a far more interesting country. Instead of trying to assimilate new peoples into our country, we encourage them to retain pride in where they come from, recognizing that each new flavour enriches us all.

The United States has always been a melting pot, where everybody has been encouraged, by one means or another, to be Americanized as quickly as possible. By cutting off the roots of their people, they’ve made a potage of blandness which discourages diversity. In their ego, they believe that after less then 300 years in existence they have created the ultimate in civilizations. When one considers that other countries have evolved traditions and cultures over the course of a thousand years plus, this claim becomes even more ridiculous.

But so firm are they in this belief that they have no hesitation in imposing their will in as many ways as possible on the world. Whether it’s a military invasion, the imposition of anti-family planning clauses in aid packages, or simply the exporting of mass culture, they continually attempt to make the world more in their image.

What I wonder most of all is what are they so afraid of? What scares them so much about other people’s way of thinking that they feel the need to change them? How is it possible that a country founded upon principles of freedom has fallen so much under the spell of repression.

Although Georgie boy has done nothing to discourage this behaviour, this can’t just be laid at his feet. Maybe it comes about due to the insecurity of being the new kid on the block and they’re just trying too hard. But like any one who tries too hard to impress, they end up just coming across as pushy and mean.

I wish they as a country could take the time to realize how far they have come, and try to see themselves in context of the world, rather then being the world. They desperately need to get their house in order, millions of people without access to medical attention or homes, a deficit in the trillions, and massive discontent and apathy among the young.

They have too many people who believe they have no future and they are a powder keg waiting to explode. Instead of manipulating people into believing what they want them to believe, governments should be asking the people what they need for their lives to be better.

Maybe some of you think I’m reading too much into the rejection of a book, or the re-editing of another, but those are symptoms of a society that does not want to expand their horizons beyond the familiar. The United States of America has the potential to stand as a beacon for liberty that could illuminate the whole world. It is such a shame to see them hiding their light under the bushel of isolationism and xenophobia.

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About Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus is the author of two books commissioned by Ulysses Press, "What Will Happen In Eragon IV?" (2009) and "The Unofficial Heroes Of Olympus Companion". Aside from Blogcritics his work has appeared around the world in publications like the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and the multilingual web site Qantara.de. He has been writing for Blogcritics.org since 2005 and has published around 1900 articles at the site.
  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    We seem to have an explosion of gypsyman posts.

    You know when the beacon of liberty shines brightest? When it shines all alone in the darkness.

    Dave

  • http://gonzo-marx.blogspot.com gonzo marx

    Mr Nalle sez…
    *You know when the beacon of liberty shines brightest? When it shines all alone in the darkness.*

    one woudl think the Goal would be for that Beacon to be drowned out in total Light of Liberty being universal rather than standing by itself

    just me, i guess

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    When the beacon is apparently too hot for anyone else to pick up, what can you do, gonzo?

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books have to be translated into American. All of those “difficult” to understand British figures of speech and sayings! Instead of a character “doing her nut” she gets angry, or being “barking” their crazy. < <

    I wasn't aware this was going on. We've bought our copies from amazon.co.uk. We didn't have any problem reading them, btw. Even my daughter who has been raised entirely in the US found them perfectly easy to read.

    >>Now that may not seem like much, but to me it’s indicative of a culture that refuses to make the effort to understand the differences that give distinctiveness to a people.<<

    How about it being indicative of a book publisher who wants to remove every possible barrier for the reader so that they can sell as many copies of the book as possible?

    Do you think readers went to the publisher and said ‘doooh we can’t understand these words, change them for us’? Not likely. The publisher initiated these changes on their own because they saw it as being to their advantage.

    You can’t blame Americans for being ignorant or inflexible in a situation where they were given no choice. I would think the popularity of programs like ‘Blood in the Wire’ and ‘Mystery’ and all the British sitcoms which come over direct from the UK without translation would demonstrate that Americans have no great qualms about British idioms.

    But if you want to find something to rail on americans about I’m sure you can always make something else up.

    Dave

  • http://gonzo-marx.blogspot.com gonzo marx

    ummm..i can disagree with your “too hot” statement

    plenty of Nations that enjoy Liberty…

    the UK, Canada, Australia/New Zealand Norway, Sweden, Finland, Holland, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg to name just a few from the top of my head

    and how many more are working on it, kindling that Spark?

    the old Eastern European nations now working on democracy

    Taiwan, South Korea…more in Asia making their way day by day

    on and on…

    i think there are many more “Lights” out there than just our single Beacon…it does neither U.S. nor them any service to discount or disparage that fact

    i love my Nation enough to have given my 4 years in it’s defense…but i do NOT think we are the “only Game in town” when it comes to Liberty of the Rights of the Individual…

    objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear…

    Excelsior!

  • http://dlennis.org/ D L Ennis

    gypsyman, maybe you could explain to me why most Canadian publications will not publish work from writers outside of Canada.

    D L

  • http://www.pippensqueak.blogspot.com gypsyman

    If they can watch t.v. they can read books surely.
    Canadian publications are protectionest idiots sometimes. we can be just as bad as anybody else.

  • http://dlennis.org/ D L Ennis

    I do not own a TV. I read constantly. And thank you for answering the Canadian publication question honestly.

    Have a great day!

    D L

  • http://www.pippensqueak.blogspot.com gypsyman

    D.L
    Me neither and me too.
    I know no other way.
    gypsyman

  • http://dlennis.org/ D L Ennis

    Maybe all of us on this planet have more in common than we choose to believe…

    D L

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>In a comment Ashok posted on his web site in response to my review he said that he was glad that I, a westerner, was able to understand the precepts espoused in the story. He had already lost one publisher in America. Who, after publishing the first book of the series, refused the rest on the grounds that the public were unwilling to try and understand the ideas expressed in his books<<

    An excellent excuse for the publisher who might have just decided that adding another translation to the 100 plus English language editions already in circulation (check Amazon), plus adaptations for children, books on tape, DVD movie versions, Ramayana based games, comic books, collectible items, etc – well maybe they just decided his translation was redundent and not going to make any money.

    But by all means go with the ‘Americans are too stupid’ to read hundu myths and philosophy angle. Of course that doesn’t explain why so many Ramayana products seem to be available and commercially viable here in the US. All 3 non-stupid people must be buying a lot of copies.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    BTW, wrong thread gonzo.

    Dave

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    >>J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books have to be translated into American. All of those “difficult” to understand British figures of speech and sayings! Instead of a character “doing her nut” she gets angry, or being “barking” their crazy. Now that may not seem like much, but to me it’s indicative of a culture that refuses to make the effort to understand the differences that give distinctiveness to a people.

    I did not know that. That is quite sad. I’ve yet to read any of them. Books or films first?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Read the first two books and then see the third one on film.

    Dave