Sunday, April 5, 2009

TV in Bhutan

Posted on behalf of Bill Young:

John Tomlinson’s idea of media and cultural imperialism can be seen through the recent adoption of television into Bhutan. Tomlinson argues that media imperialism and cultural imperialism are often taken as the same thing, when in reality it is the culture that dictates how the people will use and view the media that they receive. In an article from the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3812275.stm), it would appear that Bhutan’s recent adaptation of TV has changed their culture that was relatively unaffected by Western media until 1999. It states that violence and crime have risen since the introduction of TV, as well as a dilution of Bhutan’s culture due to the globalized culture represented on TV. Is it really TV causing these changes or is it the culture of Bhutan that led the people to act this way? Do we look at issues such as children imitating wrestling moves differently in America than in a developing country because of the differences in culture?One of Ferguson’s 7 myths about globalization is that there is a worldwide shared consumption of similar products and media, which is known as global cultural homogeneity. While this model does not exactly fit what occurs in the world, the argument of regional or national culture is also not without fault. The arguments about wrestling causing violence in Bhutan mirror what was occurring in the US about 10 years ago. I believe that there is a global culture, but that it does not necessarily appear globally in a simultaneous manner. We laugh when we see people from developing countries wearing fashion styles that were popular in the US years ago, but to them it is the current fad. The same thing occurs with music as well; with music that was popular in the 80’s and 90’s gaining popularity internationally years later. Can a global culture exist even when it is separated by a decade? Can it still be called a global culture if that is the case?

24 comments:

  1. Just from reading the article I don’t believe that it is the society of Bhutan that has caused them to act out violently to what they saw on the television. Since they are Buddhists a violent reaction doesn’t seem all that plausible. One could argue that since their government has been trying to keep them in the dark for so long the society would rebel and look for outside entertainment and thus turn violent as a result but I don’t think this is the case even though McLuhan argues, “Changes in communication technology inevitably produce profound changes in both culture and social order” (Baran & Davis 219). I believe that it is the misinterpretation of this newer form of media that is root to the violence.

    As far as the interpretation of the wrestling moves I think their culture does view it differently than we do in America, “Some people make interpretations at one level of meaning, whereas others make their interpretations at other levels” (Baran & Davis 217). Because it is a newer form of media they may tend to view what they see as more of a reality than pure entertainment. Add on top of all that the children’s minds who are more susceptible to persuasion and there’s your recipe for imitating the moves at school or in their backyards. What these people need to understand and teach each other is that it is pure entertainment, that what they see on TV in regards to the WWE is fake and should be taken as such.

    I think the sheer fact that they are still around means a different culture can exist even though they’re separated by a decade of technology or what have you. As far as a global culture goes I don’t necessarily believe in such a thing. Each culture is different and develops at its own pace. To think that we should all be on the same playing field at the same time should be impossible. The only way it can be deemed ‘global’ is to look at it through a lens of humanity. That is how we’re all connected globally, but through the media I don’t think so.

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  2. This week’s blog really got me thinking about whether or not a global culture really can exist even when it is separated by a decade. I was able to come to the conclusion that I do think that there is a global culture even if it is separated by a decade because I don’t really think that time should have any effect on how the other cultures are obtaining these things. For example, many people make fun of other countries for having our fashion ideas that were once trendy much later than when they were “in” here in the United States. However, the thing that I find really interesting about this is who are we to be saying anything? I know for a fact that there are certain things that we are much slower in picking up. Such as, I know that there are certain countries that will be playing a certain song and it won’t be popular in the U.S. for a couple more months later. I don’t see how that is any different than when other countries are enjoying our popular fashion trends at a later date. We should be getting made fun of for our popular music being so delayed.

    In Baran and Davis’s text, they discuss McLuhlan’s vision about globalization and the changes that are “taking place as a result of the spread of radio and television”. It states, “He proclaimed that the medium is the message (and the massage). In other words, new forms of media transform (massage) our experience of ourselves and our society, and this influence is ultimately more important than the content that is transmitted in its specific messages—technology determines experiences” (Baran and Davis, 220). I completely agree with this statement because it is so obvious that the newer forms of media are taking over our society. When the iPhone was discovered, everyone immediately had to have either that or a Blackberry. There are some people who still choose to have a standard phone but it has become apparent that the iPhone and Blackberry are now what some consider “the norm”. I have to admit that I am one of those people who has upgraded to a Blackberry and now that I have, I’m not really sure if I would ever go back to having a regular phone because I find a Blackberry so convenient. However, I find it ridiculous when people make a big deal about someone still having a basic old cell phone. It seems as though it is almost expected of most people to have these new advances. The reality of it is that some people are not as technologically advanced as others and I don’t think that everyone will ever be 100% comfortable with upgrading to a phone such as an iPhone or Blackberry. Some people do not find it necessary and look it as more of a toy and distraction.

    -Marlaina Luciano <3

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  3. jennifer gigliottiApril 6, 2009 at 8:36 AM

    I think the media can be blamed for the dilution of culture in Bhutan. Before there was television, that culture was not exposed to anything but what they already knew. I think this especially affects children because they are young and still adapting and now they are being exposed to what every other child in the rest of the world is exposed to. Living in the U.S., we take a lot of our media for granted and it’s still weird to think there are so many people in the world that still don’t even have a television. The children in Bhutan who saw wrestling started to imitate it, and instead of saying it’s their culture’s fault, I would say its human nature to imitate something that looks fun or new. It shouldn’t be viewed any differently than it is viewed here, it just happened at a later date.
    To answer Bill’s other question about there being a global culture existing today, I think there is and I also think it can still exist even though the timing is not the same all over the world. In Baran and Davis, McLuhan’s idea of a “global village” is defined as “the new form of social organization that would inevitably emerge as instantaneous electronic media tied the entire world into one great social, political, and cultural system” (220). I don’t think it’s instantaneous or that it could ever be at the same time globally, but the media does influence every culture because the fads like fashion and music spread. It can still be called a global culture because it’s still the same fashion, music, and media that are around the world. We take things from other cultures after they were popular somewhere else so I don’t think we are really in the position to be making fun of others.

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  4. I agree with Tomlinson that media imperialism and cultural imperialism are not the same thing. I think it’s very clear that this is the case because media and culture are two different things to begin with. However, both are shaped by people. Chapter 19 of McQuail’s Reader in Mass Communication Theory states that “if we can take anything for granted about culture, it is that it is not a natural phenomenon. Culture is entirely-even definitively-the work of human beings” (Tomlinson 226). Although studies have shown that exposure to violence through the media can cause people to act more aggressive, angry, desensitized, and likely to handle things with violence, I do not think it’s fair to say that television and media is completely responsible for the changes that have taken place in the culture of Bhutan. I don’t think we’re looking at issues such as children imitating wrestling moves differently than we do here, because in every single one of my media classes we’ve studied the effects violence in the media has on people, children in particular. However, I think we need to remember that we’re looking at a different culture, so how they look at the issue may be different from how we do. There are other factors which need to be considered when discussing the culture of a nation, such as politics, the economy, poverty. These are also factors which can impact the culture of a nation. Look at the recession the United States is dealing with right now. It has certainly changed our culture. The media has kept us informed and is involved in our economic situation, but it can’t be blamed for this, so I think we need to think of it in terms of the Bhutan society as a whole with all factors included, and not just how television has influenced the country. Chapter 20 of Mcquail’s Reader in Mass Communication Theory states that “two very basic conditions for successful and efficient international communication, therefore, are that important news be, first, efficiently distributed around the globe, and second, relatively quickly diffused among the various populations of the globe” (Rosengren 232). I think a global culture can exist, but it does not exist the same everywhere. I think the global culture is simply that culture is present everywhere in the world on some level. Therefore, even if it is separated by a decade, culture is still present wherever you go. It’s like traveling through time zones. There might be a three hour different when you travel somewhere, but time is still present. It can’t be determined that because the time is different, it does not exist the same everywhere in the world. Therefore, there is a global time, just as there is a global culture.

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  5. International communications have both positive and negative effects on the developing world. It is the spreading of information or message to teach developing societies. There is this idea that Western culture is better but who decides what is the best thing to start with?

    Television integrated into societies like Bhutan in this case has brought violence amongst children who don’t know realize what is reality and plain entertainment. In Bhutan kids began to idolize these wrestlers. With that said there are also many positive things that come from media exposure. The U.S dominates the media, we pass along an agenda or a message.

    In my Global Comm class, I learned about a theatre group who traveled all around Papa New Guinea teaches people how to live the luxury life. This group would put on educational plays such as bringing the awareness to alcohol abuse, informed woman on contraception, and gave tips on nutrition and hygiene. These products can be life changing, such as cleaning products, insect killer, and safe sex practices. In the book Mass Communication Theory, it describes the hegemonic culture. Hegemonic culture is defined as “culture imposed from above or outside that serves the interests of those in dominant social positions”(Baran & Davis 201). In this case the U.S carries the dominant role in influencing these developing countries. The Western world is a commercialized melting pot and there are going to be people who embrace our values and agendas and those who reject it.

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  6. I believe that media has a profound effect on us as audience members, and therefore us as a whole culture. Whether we realize it or not, we are consumed by media from television, internet, and even the billboards we pass on the highway.

    I agree with the blogger when he claims that there is a global culture, even if it does not occur simultaneously. I think that as a whole we are connected, but it is quite obvious that each country has its own cultural identity as some are “behind in the times” or “ahead of the curve”. Countries such as the U.S., Japan, and China are seen as cultural leaders, while countries in the Mideast and Africa are seen as way behind in the cultural times.

    An example of cultural media can be seen through researching advertising. Baran and Davis state, “marketers routinely portray consumption of specific products as the best way to construct a worthwhile personal identity, have fun, make friends and influence people, or solve problems” (337). Advertising in the U.S. will clearly be different and more advanced than those in the Mideast or Africa, but is it because of our cultural lifestyles, technology, or even the idea of openness versus media censorship? I do believe there is a global culture, but that certain countries are leaders, and some are lagging behind.

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  7. The introduction of a new technology on a culture that is not as advanced as many other civilizations in the world will most definitely have an impact on it. When a group of people become set in their ways, activities and behaviors, there is a tendency for those to lose their appeal and entertainment value. Just think if all you did day after day for your entire life was the same set of activities over and over. It may get a little boring. But with the introduction of the television to Bhutan, people saw that this was unlike anything they had ever been exposed to. Their culture, being rooted in tradition and history, didn't have anything like this and never made the effort to embrace new technologies when other cultures did years ago. I feel that the change in the behavior of the people of Bhutan, namely the children, is a product of both the culture and the TV. Since they people were so sheltered it led them to be curious about the new and interesting television. They don't know how to properly distinguish what is real and what isn't, nor how to interpret what they see. Baran and Davis make reference to views on popular media content by Horace Newcomb and paraphrase his insights by saying that content "are much more complex than they appear on the surface" and that "audience interpretations of content are likely to be quite diverse." (217) Americans can tell that wrestling, for example, is mainly a source of entertainment, even though it is violent on the surface. The people in Bhutan, however, may not see the content that way, and this is because they haven't learned how to properly understand media.

    I feel that a global culture can, and to some extent does, exist. Though there is a time lapse between what is popular here and what is popular in other places, many trends and products do make their way around to a majority of the people around the world. There are some commonalities amongst cultures no matter where they are, which can be viewed as components of the global culture. For example, nearly all cultures look negatively upon violence within their own communities. Since this characteristic reaches across borders, it is evidence that a global culture, though it may be small, does exist.

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  8. Time is a very relevant idea when looking at cultures. we all live in the same period of time but how we act, the things we do and how the world works changes and is different in every part of the world. Some countries and people want to be one world where we are all the same, but there are always others that want to keep fast to tradition, and what they already know and understand. When looking at this idea through imperialism and capitalistic views, you want the world to be like one. When trying to sell a product/idea, movie/fashion trend/music, you want to sell as much as possible and what market is bigger than a global market? Tomlinson has this idea on page 228 of McQuails reader: "common to m any critical discourses of cultural imperialism, that capitalism is an homogenizing cultural force. The perception here is that everywhere in the world is beginning to look and to feel the same." (Tomlinson in McQuail 228) life wouldnt be unique if we all liked the same products and the range of freedom would go down severely. Money is truly a driving force behind most aspects of the world and there are people that would like to have that one product or idea that all people consume to make the most money. For now some people just use certain cultures, countries or areas of the world to make their money because we do not all look and feel the same about many things.

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  10. I think television really is causing the rise in violence and crime in Bhutan. Since incidents of violence and crime have risen in the country since the introduction of television, it seems obvious to me that television has to be the perpetrator. I believe that the reason that violence and crime began to increase in Bhutan is because the people there had never seen anything like television before.

    In the United States, boys grow up watching violent television programs like WWF wrestling, and therefore, they become desensitized to these brutal images. On the other hand, the Bhutanese children were distraught and puzzled by the WWF because they had never seen human beings acting aggressively in that way before. The images had a bigger impact on the Bhutanese children because they lacked desensitization to the violence. Therefore, I think we do look at issues of children imitating wrestling moves differently in America than in a developing country because of the differences in culture. In our culture, watching violent television programs is socially acceptable, and is in no way out of the ordinary. This social acceptability leads to our desensitization to these violent images. On the contrary, in Bhutanese culture, people obviously feel it is not socially acceptable to watch violent television programs, and think that the programs are bizarre. In the United States, we tend to overlook the issue of boys imitating violence that they see on television because it is such a common behavior in this country. In Bhutan, however, boys imitating violence that they see on television was more alarming because the boys never acted that way before, and people were not used to seeing that kind of behavior.

    It is clear that the imitations of violence exhibited by the children of Bhutan are similar to imitations of violence exhibited by children here in the United States. The media seems to affect human beings across countries and cultures in similar ways, and I think this is reflective of a global culture that we all share. It is not important that the media affects different people from different places at different times. What is important, however, is that the affects that the media has on people are typically globally parallel. Therefore, in defining “global culture” as how the media affects human beings analogously, I think that a global culture can exist even if it is separated by a decade, and that it should still be called a global culture despite this separation. As the world becomes more and more interconnected through media, I feel that this separation may cease to exist in the future. For example, in talking about McLuhan’s ideas about media, Baran and Davis write, “He used the term global village to refer to the new form of social organization that would inevitably emerge as instantaneous electronic media tied the entire world into one great social, political, and cultural system” (Baran & Davis 220). If electronic media continues to link more and more places of the world together, I think that people will begin to be affected by media simultaneously, instead of at different points in time, and the result of this will be that the global culture driven by media affects will be even more noticeable and prominent.

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  11. It’s really interesting to see cases like Bhutan where when exposed to the same media, different groups of people will react quite differently. While it may seem obvious that a very peaceful, subdued culture would be more heavily influenced by a violent television show than would any typical American, the details of this distinction are more complex. I would argue that a primary reason violent television, for example, would influence a culture like Bhutan so strongly in contrast with the Western world, it due to plain desensitization. We are surrounded by violence through entertainment media as well as real-life violence in our news media. We learn about good guys and bad guys, and that the world is a scary place.

    I would also argue that people in the West are simply raised in a more violent culture than someone in a remote area would be. Little boys (mainly) are given guns, swords, bow & arrows, etc. from the time they are very very young. Kids play violent video games, watch violent movies and television, and just generally grow up in an atmosphere of aggression. Conversely, children in a country like Bhutan who have never played with toy weapons or watched a violent movie are absolutely swept up by the excitement, thus being wholly affected.

    In comparing cultures with such different reactions to similar media, the importance of media literacy, “the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate messages,” emerges (Baran & Davis 338). These abilities are so important when interpreting media messages that it seems wrong to introduce Western media in a foreign culture without promoting this component as well. If “we need to be able to decide which media to avoid and which to use in ways that best serve our purpose” (Baran & Davis 338), does this mean Bhutanese children should avoid watching wrestling on television? How do we improve the “media-use skills” (Baran & Davis 338) of Bhutanese people and other far-away consumers of Western media?

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  12. I believe it is true that there is a global culture, and yes it can be separated by a decade or even two, but there is still the idea of a global culture. It is seen in places like Bhutan that have just legalized television, even though Bhutan was the last place to do so. Looking at the idea that the young boys of Bhutan are now starting to fight like the wrestlers they see on television is something that does happen everywhere. I remember when I was in lower school, the boys in my class would continuously get into trouble because they would be fighting like they saw on television and in movies, and fighting in my school, which was Quaker, was completely against the rules. The boys knew this, yet they continued to do so because it is what they saw in their time out of school. Going along with the idea of television taking away from the Bhutanese culture, in a PBS Frontline episode, there is an old woman who states that now that there is television, she forgets to pray like she had been doing for her entire life. It is sad to see that western media can change rituals which were ingrained in people so easily. It is the same thing as what is going on in Papua New Guinea, there is an acting troupe being paid by marketers who are going out into the highlands to hock products to the natives who would live off the land and have no real need for western products, however now that these people are exposing the natives to western products, there is more of a demand for them. It is sad because they have lived for so long without these products, and now that they are aware of them, they believe that they must have them.
    Baran and Davis state in their text, “marketers routinely portray consumption of specific products as the best way to construct a worthwhile personal identity, have fun, make friends and influence people, or solve problems” (337). By looking at this in relation to what is happening in Papua New Guinea it really shows that these things could be bad, and what is worse is that these products are being shown in daily situations, the one that sticks out the most is when the troupe was advertising a new brand of beer, but it was presented in terms of spousal abuse so the natives could understand. To them, this is normal and people were bonding over it. This is shown in another PBS Frontline video which I cannot find at this moment.
    This helps to answer the second question posed by the blogger, although all of these things that have become normal to us are just beginning to reach some people in distant parts of the globe, there is still the idea of global culture, it can still be called global culture because it is still reaching all parts of the globe, even if it does take many many years.

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  13. When it comes to international communication, I think it has certainly helped in furthering development and knowledge in certain areas of the world. In the article that Bill posted from the BBC, it was said, “ Young people are now much more in tune with globalization and what is happening around the world”. I agree with this statement because I think that this spread of global knowledge (of other cultures) is doing more good than bad, however with that said I do recognize the negative affects that globalized television can have on a country/culture.
    America is a very young culture when compared to the rest of the world, and although we have our own traditions, we are referenced as a melting pot for cultures all over the world. So when you have a very old, traditional culture being exposed to new ideas or things that may change things, I can see where generations within that country will argue what is best for the future. In Baran & Davis they discuss/debate political economy theorists and cultural studies. They state, “Political economy theorists accuse some cultural studies researchers of abandoning the historical mission of critical theory in favor of an uncritical celebration of popular culture,” (Baran & Davis 213). I agree that there should be an effort by theorists towards social change where change needs to happen. But also be respectful of what is already instilled in the culture, or the roots of it.
    When it comes to the crime that is televised in the U.S, Bhutan, or anywhere around the world, I believe that crime has always existed, and television is just being the window for society to view and possibly learn from it. In the Bhutan article it was said that the individual is capable of deciphering what is good from what is bad. I also think that the responsibility lies mostly on parents (or elders of the community) to pass down traditions and show those younger what are good and bad.
    As for Bill’s last question of whether or not global culture can exist when it is separated by a decade? I believe it can, and it does in the world today; the world will probably be on the same timeline, but I think it’s almost better that way, so that we all are constantly learning of both things of the past and things of the future.

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  14. I believe introducing television into countries that have never had it before and who are unfamiliar with the context and its nature will definitely alter their perceptions. There are shows on TV that can have a negative affect on anyone if they do not know what to expect and these people will become so fixated with this medium just as Americans have. When it comes to the wrestling issue, these people are most likely unaware of the fact that it is fake. Therefore, they see it as a fun and harmful activity. This activity and other ideas that they may gain from the TV, I think, are altering their culture. Just like we have discussed in earlier classes and blogs, TV holds messages and it cultivates us into believing and behaving as they desire. So naturally, the media will have them same effect on Bhutan’s culture.

    As for the global culture issue, I am on the fence with this. I believe to an extent that there is a global culture and there is not. First off, every country around the world has their own beliefs, traditions, customs, and ways of living. If we go to another country, some thing that may be okay to do over in the states can be very rude over there. We all have differing opinions on the way each other live, yet I believe there is a global culture that is developing. Not only are the views and materialistic things that we have here seem to be branching out to different parts of the world, but we seem to be embracing other countries values as they do the same to ours. However, I feel as if it is more the United States that is setting the global culture. That we are making our ways of living the dominant system around the world and I think we have the power to accomplish it. In this case, we are the so-called elites like Innis states and “people of outlaying regions… are inevitably exploited to serve the interests of elites…” (Baran & Davis 219). Not saying that I agree with making our culture the dominant one and everyone be the same, but it can happen. We have the power to make it happen. Obviously, the music and fashions take some time to reach around the world but those other countries adopt every one of them.

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  15. Tomlinson brings up an interesting point about “modernity” he states, “Thus the drift towards a sort of global cultural homogeneity is seen in this discourse to derive from the dominance of a particular ‘modern’ way of life that has multiple determinates”(Tomlinson 229). Tomlinson means that sooner or later all cultures will be the same basic modern society. I think the example of the small country of Bhutan is a great example.

    It is a great coincidence that this blog entry be about the country of Bhutan, because for my Poli-Sci class I was assigned to write a report on this small country. The article kind of alludes to the fact that the king wants to make the country more modern. He is also working on changing the Monarchy to a democratic parliamentary system. This also means of course being more open to other cultures. The country of Bhutan is suppose to be the basis of the mystical paradise of Shangri-La. This is a mystical place where you never age and there is no technology, everything stays the same. So the country must have been in shock when it was exposed to the violence of American television. I don’t think American TV is causing the surge of violence. I think it’s a culture clash, and the Bhutanese children aren’t used to seeing such things, so they react poorly.

    I think the blogger brings up an interesting idea about countries basically consuming the same things but decades apart. This may be the case in some cultures

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  16. I think that it’s television causing the changes in Bhutan. Like someone said, these people lived a quiet, peaceful lifestyle until they were introduced to television, so there’s no reason to believe that a sudden change in their culture would have occurred. Before they were able to watch WWE Wrestling on TV, they probably didn’t have very much firsthand knowledge of violence. Then, all of a sudden, the children see men beating each other up in a wrestling ring, in addition to loads of other violent programs. Like Baran & Davis said, “Changes in communication technology inevitably produce profound changes in both culture and social order” [B&D 219]. With so much exposure to violence, it’s only a matter of time before it comes out in their daily lives.

    In America we definitely look at children being violent differently than in developing countries. Children here are “violent” from the time they’re born. Siblings fight all the time. The McQuail Reader says that “if we can take anything for granted about culture, it is that it is not a natural phenomenon. Culture is entirely – even definitively – the work of human beings” [Tomlinson 226]. In America and other large countries, we accept these acts of violence as part of growing up. Children may be punished, but that doesn’t stop them from acting out. It definitely is part of our culture here for children to be “violent”. We are just so used to it that it doesn’t resonate like in developing countries.

    - kristen finelli

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  17. Earlier this semester my global communication class discussed this same story about Bhutan’s culture being affected by the western media. The video we watched in class by Frontline was a documentary of how Bhutan finally received television connection and how it affected its relatively untouched community. The documentary showcased the same problem about the effect of children watching wrestling. Since receiving television in the homes of Bhutan crime rates have risen. Children are seen acting out wrestling moves and creating imitation champion belts. Old women were seen forgetting to count their prayer beads because they have become distracted by the television. Children were no longer playing with their dogs because they would rather watch Scooby doo. From what I have learned about Bhutan and how it has changed since receiving television I believe the introduction of TV is a cause behind the changes seen to their culture. Medias effects are undeniable in some aspect or another. I feel as though children imitating wrestling moves in America are no different then children imitating wrestlers in Bhutan. “The limited effects view is tied to the transmission perspective the idea that mass communication is a process of transmitting messages at a distance for the purpose of control”(B&D 215). While come may say that introducing television to Bhutan is a form of transmission. I do not believe western media seeks to change these peoples culture but rather have no other media from their own country to watch. Hopefully one day Bhutan will develop its own media so they can see what they want to on television

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  18. Bill brings up a good point when looking if a global culture can exist even when it is separated by a decade, and is something I never really gave thought to. In reality, I believe our world will never really share something such as culture, which is what makes our lives so unique. With so many different countries, and people living amongst other people with so many different backgrounds, it is only fair to assume that no two countries will be sharing the newest trends, or media products at the same time. Some have to be inventive and start it, and others will sometimes follow. Although our cultures may all overlap, and follow each other within a decade like Bill said, I still don't think we can call that global culture. Many of our readings this week brought up in the inventions of new technologies, which clearly plays somesort of role in everyone's lives as well, but quite differently. For a country like the U.S, we are creating things such as Blackberrys, where it is possible to access the Internet no matter where we are, all the while some third world countries don't even know what the Interney is.

    In our McQuail Reader, Ferguson describes some myths about globalization, and the one that applies here is "The Myth of 'Global Cultural Homogeniety'". She explains that this term infers that the consumption of the same popular materical and media products, such as Pepsi, clothes, or cars, create a "metaculture whose collective identity is based on shared patterns of consumption, be these built on choice, emulation or manipulation" (245). Globally, not everyone will have the same cultural identity at the same time, which is not a bad thing. Trends come and go, and last longer for some than others. I was going to assert that we may be globally united on some values and issues, such as the gift of life, or the fact that violence is a negative thing, but even that cannot be said to be true for some countries. Even if it is separated by decades, I don't think global culture can exist.

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  19. John Devlin
    Responding to Bill Young
    TV in Bhutan
    The article started out by saying, “After five years of broadcasting, Bhutan's government is considering legislation to regulate what the country's people can watch. What effect has five years of TV had on the country?” Rinzi Dorji, the head of the Sigma cable company, said that they wanted to remove pornography and wrestling. I can understand why a government wants to remove pornography from television, pornography is extremely sexually graphic, but I really could not believe that Rinzi Dorji wanted to remove WWE for its display of violence and the fact that it appeals to children. I can think of so many more violent programs that appeal to children, from cartoons, to reality television, to most popular films today. It was a surprise to me that Rinzi Dorji singled out WWE wrestling. Granted, I just read a story a few years ago about a young 13-year-old boy that performed a wrestling move on a 7-year-old girl and killed her; he saw the wrestling moves on TV. It is a problem that children copy moves from television, in this case the WWE, but what about the parents. Like parents in the U.S. the parents in Bhutan need to control their children and what they watch on TV. Sometimes there are going to be very upsetting stories about a child dying because of imitating violence on Television, even if provisions are made, but going as far as cutting off an entire nation from the WWE is too far. This is the difference between the U.S. and Bhutan, we would never eliminate a violent show from TV, we would learn from it and understand its role in popular culture. Bhutan wants to eliminate its broadcasting all together, I believe that this is pointless because those kids are just going to find something equally if not more violent on TV, and they are going to imitate it. Soon, if powerful figures in Bhutan keeps acting as they do now, many different shows will be eliminated from television, and it will go far beyond pornography and the WWE. I believe it was not so much TV as it was Bhutan’s culture that led people to act this way. I believe that these people are behind the United States, and are experiencing similar problems that we had to deal with when dealing with violence and its relation to television. I guess that you could say that Bhutan’s culture is just lagging compared to the United States, which is one of the most powerful countries in the world. So, can a global culture exist even when it is separated by a decade? I believe it can. All of the nations in the world do reflect global culture, but some are much further ahead than others. I visited Ireland a few years ago, and I remember laughing so hard, thinking it was so funny that they were playing Power Rangers on TV, that show lost its popularity in the mid-90’s in the United States, but it a very popular show even in 2004 in Ireland because they are not as culturally mature and up-to-date as the United States is. Can it still be called a global culture if that is the case? Yes, those nations that seem to be a decade behind still influence global culture, just in a different way than a country that is moderately culturally mature, like England or the United States, they still exist, and the decisions they make in society dealing with the media are felt world-wide.

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  20. -Nick Sardone
    When you introduce a foreign thing into a society that seems to be left in the past of course things will change. And yes these changes will have some negative effects. I do not believe that the television programs they are watching is the reason why crime is rising, but it is a weird coiincidence. I think that the introduction of television to Bhutan was a bad decision and that some places in the world should be kept sacred. I believe that the introduction of tv in this country goes against everything that Bhutan stands for and plays into what is wrong with globalization. My fear is that globalization is taking over the entire world. Some think this is a good thing but i do not think that every country in the world needs to be the same and especially doesnt need to be like America.
    The Mcquail Reader states, "metaculture whose collective identity is based on shared patterns of consumption, be these built on choice, emulation or manipulation" I find this true and a negative thing. Culture should be your own, but not a product of emulation or manipulation. This is what ruins tradition and history and true nationalism. We dont all have to be the same, we should be different, and a place like Bhutan is no longer that, it is on its way of becoming just another westernized colony that might as well belong to the United States.

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  21. It is hard to deny that media has an effect on the public, both here and around the world. I actually previously watched a documentary about the effect of television on the youth in Bhutan. It showed the before and after. Before television, children were shown playing outside and using their imaginations to come up with creative games. They seemed peaceful and relatively quiet. After the addition of television the children were shown playing violent games with each other and being extremely loud. I don't know if it is just the angle the documentarian chose to use, but it sure seemed as though television was having a huge impact on those children's lives. As Tomlinson states on page 226 of McQuail's reader, "culture is entirely--even definitively--the work of human beings." Therefore, how could culture not be affected by the introduction of television?

    We even see the huge impact of media here in the United States. Trends and fads are started here almost everyday. For example, after Carrie Bradshaw wore a nameplate necklace on Sex and the City, hundreds of women went out and bought nameplate necklaces. When and if this show is introduced into another country years from now, and the women there then get nameplate necklaces, it proves that there is a global culture because eventually, everyone receives the same messages (even if they are interpreted differently). To second what Tomlinson says on page 226, culture does not "belong" to an area. Therefore, it can spread and be adopted in many different places. A perfect example of this is included in the movie Eurotrip. The characters in this movie wind up in Bratislava, where they meet a man who has just gotten Miami Vice on his television. He then repeats lines from the show. This shows that there is a global culture even if it is separated by a couple of years because everyone can identify.

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