Friday, October 21, 2005

WaPo: U.N. Body Endorses Cultural Protection WaPo: U.N. Body Endorses Cultural Protection

PARIS, Oct. 20 -- In a vote cast as a battle of global conformity vs. cultural diversity, delegates to a U.N. agency turned aside strong U.S. objections Thursday and overwhelmingly approved the first international treaty designed to protect movies, music and other cultural treasures from foreign competition.

The 148 to 2 [US and Israel] vote at the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization emerged as a referendum on the world's love-hate relationship with Hollywood, Big Macs and Coca-Cola.

It is apparently only going to take thirty countries ratifying this for it to take effect.

That said, I suspect that this isn't the end of our cultural imperialism. The problem is globalization. This is an attempt to slow it down. And, for the most part, it is going to fail.

A couple of years ago, France was trying to do this sort of thing. They were mandating French subtitling, pushing French works, etc. A lot of American terms were Frechized. To no avail. Almost all of the French, like most others in this world, preferred "PC" to the fifteen or twenty character name invented by the French Ministry of Culture for personal computers. And the French also seemed to much prefer American TV - even if they had to watch sattelite broadcasts.

Countries as big and powerful as China, Russia, and India, may be able to prevent a lot of American cultural influence. But the rest of the world? Esp. the third world? Highly unlikely. One sattelite in geosynchronous orbit above central Africa is likely to screw up censorship throughout much of that continent.

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