when exposed to new cultures, it can be hard not to give into the impression that they are somehow more superficial in many ways, just because one’s perception is so limited.
probably because i’ve been singing karaoke too much, and also because i have a profound respect for afro-american contributions to american culture, and particularly music, i’ve been trying to consider how much the fundamental flaw of racism in american society led to a more introspective approach to social dilemmas in american culture.
given that china spent most of the 1900’s in a state of (communist) civil war, i realize i should sound ridiculous trying to claim that asians lack sufficient appreciation for general social issues. however, since most of that was mixed up with justly desperate defenses against colonial ingressions on all fronts, from the british to the japanese, it’s been more than easy for them to blame their problems on everybody else.
in fact, looking at the west these days, or even the historical manifestation of communism in general, one would be hard pressed to show that there was anything general about the social issues, nor anything more that i’m gonna get mine, and who cares if you get yours.
still, if americans, or those who want to be us, persist in thinking that our major advantage is hogging all the resources, or disregarding everyone else, then the world will be headed for a sad future. only if self satisfaction can be achieved with a equal concern for others will our cultures produce generally accessible art (the kind of art that made romans want to be greek and mongolians want to be chinese).