America Must Work On Appreciating and Respecting Other Societies

Elizabeth Sofroniou

Blog 3

In her essay, Heather Tyrrell creates an imaginary battle between Bollywood and Hollywood. This battle essentially trickles down to Western and non-Western societies, or the United States and India. However, the battle seems aggressive and unnecessary. Tyrrell asks, “Is Bollywood named in imitation of Hollywood, or as a challenge to it?” Realistically, I think the answer is neither. I think outside societies need to simply appreciate and respect other societies ways. If this is an unacceptable and too amicable of an answer, then I change my answer to “imitation”. Imitation is the highest form of flattery; this non-Western country admired a very prominent aspect of our country. Cinema is culturally bred and acceptable in any part of the world, as it has been for centuries. The name of it should not be scrutinized so intensely. Hollywood is trying to dominate the world market, however, outside countries are no interested. India, in specific, rejects Hollywood imported creations for cultural reasons. This is somewhat proof that India/Bollywood is not “challenging” Hollywood, instead solely using it as an inspiration to create, improve, and enjoy their own form (Bollywood).

Although the author of Bollywood versus Hollywood frequently mentions the word “culture”, she rarely digs deeper into what it actually is to each opposing side. Evidently, culture plays a major role in this case of Bollywood versus Hollywood, so why is it not further investigated/discussed? Glidden’s would counter this argument by addressing this fact. It would be beneficial and enlightening to discuss the major differences between our cultures, especially in terms of entertainment. For example, Americans enjoy watching reality TV shows, like Real Housewives and shows like Jackass. Would Indians enjoy this, too? Although entertainment preferences like genres and so on vary among individuals, they seem to remain constant or common within societies due to culture. The author wraps up her essay by then questioning the level of sophistication of Western and non-Western audiences. Once again, the audiences are so different from each other that they can no be compared. I believe Giddens would further investigate the Indian culture to strengthen his argument of why Bollywood is different from Hollywood. As for myself, I would counter Tyrrell by making this “argument” more of a lighthearted analysis and comparison of each.

In terms of globalization, the media and entertainment business may be universally respected as an idea but ultimately sculpted to fit various societies. That being said, various societies should not be battling or competing, but instead, viewed as unique and fit for the given society. The downside of this idea is that the global economy will not benefit because it is so culturally rooted.

7 thoughts on “America Must Work On Appreciating and Respecting Other Societies

  1. Interesting post, the quote “Is Bollywood named in imitation of Hollywood, or as a challenge to it?”, really frames the an interesting debate. India has a long tradition of cinema, it is not well known or world renown but it is fairly still a national film industry. Hollywood is a national film industry at its core but is also the largest international film producer, particularity to other English-speaking countries. I agree with your call to examine the cultural differences that are readily apparent, audiences want different things on many levels. But on the other side they are examples of movies that succeed and grow as favorites in foreign markets, an example of two countries who love each others’ media is Japan and the US or the US and the UK (friggin’ Doctor Who who is to blame mostly). This can even grow back to older times to the Russian 60s Sherlock Holmes, a Soviet Era production of Sherlock Holmes in Russian but set in Victorian England. That example shows certain pieces media can will triumph over cultural barriers but what makes them do it? That is a very important question.

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  2. Although I did not read this article, I agree with you in that, “outside societies need to simply appreciate and respect other societies ways”. It seems like different societies, and more commonly groups within societies, are looking to attack one another (which is really unfortunate).

    I find it interesting that Bollywood is not “challenging” Hollywood but rather using them as inspiration. Do you think that Hollywood too uses Bollywood for inspiration?

    Additionally, I appreciate how your blog looks at the positive, especially when you state that “various societies should not be battling or competing, but instead, viewed as unique fit for the given society”. What other cultural aspects do you think should be appreciated for its uniqueness rather than looked at as competition from other cultures?

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  3. I found your blog post very intriguing because I have never been exposed to the Hollywood versus Bollywood debate. The simpler terms you put it into as Western and non-western helped comprehend the debate a little better. The main heat of the debate seems to be in the question your brought up: “Is Bollywood named in imitation of Hollywood, or as a challenge to it?” I also agree with you on your viewpoint of neither. I don’t think India’s culture is trying to imitate Hollywood at all, they just want to create a greater entertainment industry to boost their economy and please their people. I also don’t think they’re trying to challenge Hollywood; any group or industry who creates theatrical films is going to get criticism from Hollywood.

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  4. The competition between Bollywood and Hollywood has always fascinated me. I’ve always thought that Bollywood was the Hollywood of India, just not as famous. The question asked by the author “Is Bollywood named in imitation of Hollywood, or as a challenge to it?” really got me thinking. Even though Bollywood is a large film industry, its not internationally recognized the way Hollywood is. After reading the article, and your blog post I think that Bollywood is more of an imitation of Hollywood than a challenge to it. You made a very good point when you spoke about the cultural values involved with making movies. In the case of Hollywood, the producers are just looking to dominate the world market. While the producers in Bollywood are trying to make good movies while accurately representing there culture.

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  5. This is a very interesting topic! I especially liked your statement that, ” Imitation is the highest form of flattery; this non-Western country admired a very prominent aspect of our country.” and I think this concept was completely lost on the author of your article piece. It often seems to slip Giddens’ mind because he rarely attributes some actually very significant milestones in the growth of modernization and globalization to countries that are not considered “Western” for similar reasons. Cinema and theater has been adapted to various cultures before “America” was created, like kabuki theater in Japan or Sanskrit theater productions in Africa. Obviously this is the fault of the writers’, but it creates great conversations that include other cultures and other international achievements by people other than Americans. What do you think these writers should consider when focusing on topics of globalization within the western countries to avoid developing a bias?

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  6. My partner in class the other ay had read this same article. I believe that because Americans, are from America, that they feel that they can influence anything that goes on in the world. Although Hollywood and Bollywood are similar in name and industry, they have two different styles of how they work. When Hollywood tried to take over Bollywood, Hollywood lost. The culture of India, and the culture of America are two very different things, and that is what the executives of Hollywood failed to realize before their movies flopped. How do you think their movies would have done in India if they had studied Indian culture before releasing them?

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  7. You present your topic in an very entertaining and fun way! I really had never thought too deep into the “Hollywood vs. Bollywood” debate. Now, I see why some people are up in arms about the comparisons. I agree with you when you say how, rather than try and be Hollywood, Bollywood uses it as,”an inspiration to create, improve, and enjoy their own form.” It made me think about how we call ourselves such a global community, yet have so many cultural differences. Why is it that our world can be so similar in some aspects and completely opposite in others?

    EEM

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