Saturday, March 05, 2005

America's Finest

Prefect SlogAh, the internet. Finally, a space big enough to accommodate every ego. I think the main reason I held off incorporating a blog into my website, despite all the recommendations, was the inflated sense of self-importance that I got from most of the other blogs I read. Which, it has to be said, were never many. So, anyway, that is not what this is about.
Just finished watching CSI:NY (which, bizarrely mentioned fox-hunting, but that's another discussion - don't even get me started) - and obviously can't wait for future spinoffs which might make it as far as my town, CSI:Penzance, or perhaps stray into challenging fantasy territory, CSI:Helm's Deep. Anyway, in the good old U of K, such programmes are shown on Channel 5 as part of a thing called America's Finest, and I was only having a discussion with a friend earlier in the week about how most of the good TV we get over here is generally American these days. Of course, that's all going to change in 3 weeks' time when the new Doctor Who hits our screens, but this on a night when the UK narrowly escapes being represented by Jordan (aka Katie Price) in the Eurovision Song Contest and on a day when some kid in Kentucky gets arrested for writing a short story that apparently marks him as a potential terrorist. Or something.

So it gets me thinking, about Iraq, US foreign policy, Iraq, our own domestic and foreign policy (if they can be considered separate from the US), and my own recent (first) visit to the States. And the fact is I hear a lot of anti-American rhetoric bandied about, on the internet and among friends, but as someone who endeavours to see every side of a story, I'd like to see a little perspective. Yes, American TV is among the best we have over here at the moment - but how representative is that? Surely they must have a whole load of crap on their countless channels that we never get to see. And likewise, there has to be a bunch of stuff produced for our screens that we couldn't export if we paid them. And, following on from that, I have to wonder how representative is that story of the kid from Kentucky, and how representative is all that anti-American rhetoric. Because, let's face it, UK, we could have been represented by Jordan, for crying out loud, and we have been represented abroad by everything from football hooligans to Tony Blair. Does any of that genuinely reflect on us? It doesn't reflect on me - I lay no claim to responsibility! And I'm reasonably sure that the 'average American' does not want to be represented by stories like the kid from Kentucky (the most shocking part of which for me was that he was allegedly shopped by his grandparents!), or by any of the stories that form the basis of much of said anti-American rhetoric.
Personally, I've met a few Americans and while they might not be an 'average' cross-section - the majority I've met were at a Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles - they don't represent anything of the public pereception of America I see a little too much of at the moment. The fact is, America's Finest isn't in CSI and its cousins (as much as I appreciate the drama and anticipate those future spinoffs), but it's where you'll find it in any country: at the people level. And I'd just like to see a little more of a balanced perspective, when people go mouthing off about a given nation. Because next time I go abroad, God forbid I get judged by the actions of Jordan or Tony Blair.


Mike Richards said...

I think what you're being too shy to say is that normal people are fine, it's just politicians that suck ;)

Judge humanity by Tone or Dubya and you might as well put a bullet through your brain there and then; judge it by Joe and Jane Average and you realise we're pretty much all the same whether its Taunton, Toledo, Tehran or Tokyo.

SAF said...

Heheh. That's exactly what I'm saying. But it's a blog, so I feel obliged to be more long-winded about it. :)

Mike Richards said...

I was rather hoping you'd notice my snappy alliteration!