This passage from Tariq Ali’s Clash of Fundamentalisms — I don’t know why I didn’t read this book earlier — has me feeling like Dewey Cox (i.e., guilty as charged).
The ideological dominance of the United States, backed by its military ascendancy, has now grown so pronounced that many of those who were once critical of the way this power was used are reduced to fond purring and trite eulogies. Sweeping generalisations are drawn from incidental or trivial occurrences, and many leading American and supporting European journalists have abandoned unbiased observation and independent thinking in favour of an imperial superpatriotism. US pundits are forever on the lookout for evidence that things are worse abroad than at home, and reporting from the various outposts of the Empire — London, Sarajevo, Riyadh, Cairo, Lahore, Seoul, Tokyo — they yearn in chorus for the familiar American reality they have left behind.
I’ve bolded the last sentence there because I think it’s the one that I — and anyone reporting from other countries — needs to be most wary about it. I’ve been reporting a tech story about the new fiber-optic cable connecting East Africa to the world, and it’s easy to get sucked into the idea that what the region should be aiming for is to replicate the U.S. model of an information society. Not necessarily true. (I like to think the allegations of blind superpatriotism don’t apply to me though!)
But I think about the Internet in those terms all the time: “Why, oh why, can’t it be more like home?” So, good morning, Your Honor. May I approach the bench?
(This post is also an excuse to link to this awesome song from the movie Walk Hard.)