September 3, 2013
GLOBALIZATION IS AMERICANIZATION:
Traveling Without Seeing (FRANK BRUNI, 9/20/13, NY Times)
What culture does he think the natives are consuming? Posted by Orrin Judd at September 3, 2013 4:10 PMSHANGHAI -- I'm half a world from home, in a city I've never explored, with fresh sights and sounds around every corner. And what am I doing?I'm watching exactly the kind of television program I might watch in my Manhattan apartment.Before I left New York, I downloaded a season of "The Wire," in case I wanted to binge, in case I needed the comfort. It's on my iPad with a slew of books I'm sure to find gripping, a bunch of the music I like best, issues of favorite magazines: a portable trove of the tried and true, guaranteed to insulate me from the strange and new.I force myself to quit "The Wire" after about 20 minutes and I venture into the streets, because Baltimore's drug dealers will wait and Shanghai's soup dumplings won't. But I'm haunted by how tempting it was to stay put, by how easily a person these days can travel the globe, and travel through life, in a thoroughly customized cocoon.I'm not talking about the chain hotels or chain restaurants that we've long had and that somehow manage to be identical from time zone to time zone, language to language: carbon-copy refuges for unadventurous souls and stomachs.I'm talking about our hard drives, our wired ways, "the cloud" and all of that. I'm talking about our unprecedented ability to tote around and dwell in a snugly tailored reality of our own creation, a monochromatic gallery of our own curation.