Soft Power of America

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2 years ago

The title of this article may seems hardline political but it is actually a fun little article about movies and TV shows.

What is Soft Power?

Wikipedia defines Soft Power as ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction that is non-coercive in nature.

Basically how much appeal one has through cultural means, think of the influence of Anime or Hollywood movies and you'll understand how much of a influence it has.

Particularly how much influence that movies from USA have over the world, be it the latest MCU movie of the Oscar winning titles.

Why America?

Or should I say USA!

Using the term America to define the country officially named as 'United States of America' and 'USA' for short is somewhat wrong basically because America or Americas are Two Continents: North America & South America and both the continents has different countries in them, so the term 'America' just doesn't mean USA.

While it is understandable that the people living in USA to call the country America and themselves Americans, but people in other countries shouldn't follow the same line of thought.

So why is it so popular of a term to define USA, its simple 'Soft Power'.

Because Hollywood movie have always been so popular for such a long time that their terms have been adopted all over the world.

Is that bad?

No, movies and even more TV shows and Video Games coming out of USA have such an influence on the world because they have such a mass appeal and has shaped the culture around the world.

Media is a reflection of the world and the movies that have influence the world have held a mirror to the world and connected so many of us together.

People across many countries that may not have nothing in common could still be fans of SpiderMan and could connect over the different movies, comic books and cartoon shows feature the character.

90's Childhood Memories

I am sure there are many people who have grown up with US cartoon shows or TV shows like Small Wonder, Friends, He-Man and the likes.

Those would have had a influence on your childhood.

I consider myself fortunate that I grew up in a home with a Satellite Dish TV which was somewhat of a luxury back in the 1990's and that my family never stopped me from watching western shows and movies.

I remember to many of the households back then western media and especially US movies were considered a bad influence because they touched upon some of the topics that were considered taboo.

And I believe this has given me a competitive advantage over my peers who didn't have such an environment at home when they were growing up.

Because of this I was early on to catch on the things that would shape the world we now live in including computers and internet.

The reruns

In terms of the broadcasting of these movies and shows we who lived in the developing countries would receive them much later than US counterparts.

The shows that would be famous in the US in the 80's would get telecast to Asia or Africa in the 90's.

Even if the show wasn't a decade behind it would still be a few years behind and while the season 1 is being telecast to Asia or Africa, it could have been running the final season in the US.

DragonBall Z

One great example is that of the Anime 'DragonBall Z' which was produced in Japan and them translated and telecast in US, then that English version was telecast to other countries (either in English or further translated from English)

This resulted in the long delay for the episodes to get to the 3rd country and while the anime would have been near conclusion in Japan some countries would be watching its first episode on Cartoon Network channel.

Discovering new worlds

Getting these medias meant a lot of many people as the content would open such a wide world for so many people living across the world that would awestruck them.

Influence of Friends

Have you ever watched the show called 'Friends' which is a sit-com about 6 friends living in New York?

If you have watched it back in the 90's when the world wasn't has connected as it is in this day and age, you would have believed that what the show depicts is the average live of people living in the US.

I myself have fallen for this fallacy as well and thought that that is what live in US would be like. Needless to say that this is not the most accurate depiction not just for the whole of US but for live in New York City as well.

But that the power that media holds.

Small Wonder

One of the show that was hugely popular outside USA was a 80's show called 'Small Wonder' which aired in US from 1985 to 1989 and came to many different countries in the mid 90's and is a favorite among many people who grew in such countries in the 90's.

One of the primary factor that influence the world in general as the 'American Concepts' like pocket money have been owed it spread to kids' shows like 'Small Wonder'.

I still remember that I demanded a pocket money from my parents after being influenced by shows like Small Wonder and I would save that money and use it as per my liking as the owner of that money.

Which taught me money management from an early age and I can say that has made me more financially knowledgeable because the sense of money and saving was something I picked up early on in life.

Conclusion

I could go on and on about different shows and movies and write about how they have influenced me by simply getting lost in the nostalgia but this will make this article too long and I doubt many of who would have even read it till this point.

But I would like to conclude with a simple thought:

It is important to the world to have a media center that influence it in a positive manner and delivers good values to the upcoming generation.

Now a days, many nations are fighting for this soft power with countries like China, Russia and the likes are investing heavily on their media outlets including the OTT and web shows and in the today's interconnected world many people get influenced from different things easily.

But what used to be a selected bunch of shows and movies curated because of their values like fairness, truth, democracy and kindness has now become faded and any kind of media is presented to any type of audience.

With the risk of sounding like an Old Man, I would like to say that many of the content coming from media houses with mass appeal doesn't has the same set of values that it use to have and this is not only true for the current content from US but to a larger degree to other countries like China that are producing big budget content with propaganda in mind and little to no intrinsic values.

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