I, On The Other Hand, Love America, But Don’t Like Kobe Bryant

So that’s two more things I don’t have in common with this Hezbollah member.

Again, it’s a commonplace that many people around the world who don’t like American foreign policy, wealth, or perceived arrogance, or the way we look, smell, or whatever, still respond favorably to American popular culture, particularly those aspects that seem to imply rebellion against authority, e.g. rock music, blue jeans (God knows why — how can it be rebellious if everybody wears them), and even NBA basketball. Hey, world, there’s a lot more where that came from! To know us, really know us, is to love us! We’re the country you’d most like to have a beer with! Even you, Mr. Hezbollah member, assuming that you drink alcohol! Come visit, don’t blow up any buildings, and maybe we can score you some Lakers tickets!

One of the saddest things to watch over the last few years has been the current administration’s clumsy attempts at this kind of cultural propaganda. Again, not to repeat another Thomas Friedman column, but it seems to me that the best people to get out the message that Americans are not actually rapacious oppressors, but instead are really cool dudes who value freedom, love children and dogs (as pets, not soup ingredients), and just want to get along with every one — really! — are not American flaks like Karen Hughes, but actual foreigners who’ve spent some time here, either as tourists, workers (as long as we don’t exploit them too badly) or students. By making it harder for such people to come here, we’re undermining our public diplomacy efforts. We ought to make it easier.

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3 Responses to I, On The Other Hand, Love America, But Don’t Like Kobe Bryant

  1. lbsmom says:

    Jeff, I read the dog soup article (above) right after seeing this one in the NY Times about foie gras in Chicago. Where’s food girl when we need her?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/15/us/15liver.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=davey&st=nyt&oref=slogin

  2. hegemonsadun says:

    I just want to add that if maybe less irrational people like jeff acknowleldged Kobe Bryant as the most awsome dominant guy he is then maybe the terrorists wouldnt think of us as so different and we could have peace.

  3. foodgirl says:

    I’m here! I’ve been living/breathing foie gras and Chicago politics since Tuesday.

    Regarding the dog soup article – it’s a funny situation, with a slight stench of cultural imperialism – different groups finding different animals appropriate as food/pets/work. This has always been the case (historically speaking). I’m a huge dog lover (as pets), but if the South Koreans decide (independently) that dogs are for pets and not for food, I’m all for it. It seems like change is already in motion. But if the market exists and is thriving, that shows that they haven’t decided as such. Morality around food is very relative, especially regarding class, tradition, politics, family, and given other food news, availability. Imposing food beliefs on others strikes me as a form of evangelizing that I personally don’t agree with. Educating and evangelizing are two different conceptual forms.

    Also, having traveled all over the world, I’ve heard from many, many people who “dislike” America that they absolutely love Michael Jackson and Madonna.

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