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    World Focus: What about Life in America?
    Posted on Tuesday, November 27 @ 05:20:43 UTC
    Topic: North Korea
    North KoreaWhat do Charlie's Angels, gangster films and James Bond tell us about life in America?

    By Stephen Gowans
    November 27, 2007

    North Koreans are learning about “what is going on in the world” and that “the government of Kim Jong Il is not really for their own good” by watching south Korean soap operas and James Bond films, says the Washington Post (November 21, 2007).

    The newspaper quotes a 40 year old emigrant north Korean who lives in a Seoul suburb who says “she learned about the world beyond (n)orth Korea from Hong Kong gangster films and from (s)outh Korean television,” while her 17 year old son's “understanding of the United States – where he hopes one day to live – was formed by watching old videos of ‘Charlie's Angels'.”

    The idea that television and films can furnish anyone with even a wisp of a realistic understanding of what's going on in the world is as silly as the idea that Hansel and Gretel offers a window on Germany.

    Of course, it's not only north Koreans who get their understanding of the world beyond north Korea (and of north Korea too) from televisions and films. So too do many of the rest of us, and most of us are just as blind to how misleading an understanding it is.

    Television and film reinforce ideological myths that those who really rule, use to justify exploitation, imperialism and the unequal distribution of power and wealth.

    Western films and television that deal with north Korea impart crude propagandistic depictions of the country, reminiscent of the brand of WWII propaganda that reduced enemies to carton-like stereotypes. The same can be said about references to Iran, Cuba and Venezuela. With few exceptions, US entertainment media depict Fidel Castro as a brutal dictator.

    On top of reinforcing distorted understandings of countries resisting Western domination, US television and film create and perpetuate the myth that Americans are all pretty much alike and that the US is a middle class (and hence essentially classless) society, with a few exceptions of conspicuous wealth earned by those who, through pluck, talent and perseverance made it big, as anyone else could surely do with enough determination.

    If everyone dresses pretty much alike, lives in pretty much the same comfortable houses in the same tree lined neighborhoods – as anyone steeped in the mythology of US television and film might think – then class conflict becomes pretty much an invention of crazed Marxists who've lost touch with reality.

    Source: http://gowans.wordpress.com/2007/11/21/what-do-charlie%e2%80%99s

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