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Messenger Over the past three weeks the ABC program Four Corners has presented special reports on American politics, which involved one of our best journalists, Sarah Ferguson, travelling to the US on special assignment.
I watched these programs and I enjoyed them. But in part I enjoyed them because they covered ground that is already familiar.
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If the same effort had gone into bringing us in-depth special reports from, say, Jakarta or Mumbai they would have been less familiar, but perhaps more interesting.
Most important they would not be stories already covered by major English language media to which we have extraordinary access.
Goodreads As we struggle to make sense of a changing world order, in which the role of the US seems less defined and dependable, our fascination with things American continues to grow. What is the Anglosphere? A surprisingly recent term, it was coined by the science-fiction writer Neal Stephenson in his novel The Diamond Ageand then picked up by a number of conservative commentators.
The Churchillian notion of near-mythical bonds created by the English language and British heritage has always attracted Australian conservatives. Chris Berg from the Institute of Public Affairs wrote in Our heritage is not something to be ashamed of.
It is not a coincidence the oldest surviving democracies are in the Anglosphere.
Or that a tradition of liberty, stretching back to the Magna Carta, has given English-speaking nations a greater protection of human rights and private property.
We ought to be proud, not bashful. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is far less likely to invoke the term, and the election of Donald Trump means the idea has gone out of fashion on the right, who are struggling how to respond to a US president who is both their worst fears and their greatest hopes made flesh.
Yet despite 50 years of governments talking about Australia as part of Asia, now somewhat rebadged in the concept of the Indo-Pacific, our cultural guardians continue to behave as if nothing has changed.
This was in part a reflection of the extraordinary emphasis on American writers at the festival, and the scarcity of writers from other parts of the world. Screenshot from Youtube The obsession continues.
And the Melbourne Writers Festival is already promoting the first of its guests, with prominent Americans such as Ronan Farrow, Emily Nussbaum, Ta-Nehisi Coates and David Neiwart, although it deserves credit for also highlighting a number of Australian and international writers.
A common language means that inevitably we will be more aware of writers in English and the cultural fashions of New York, London and Hollywood. We have access to the richest and most diverse range of cultural production in the world, and we grow up reading, viewing and interfacing with the Anglo metropolis.
We're laughing in an echo chamber: Predictably, they are quickly contrasted to Trump and Brexit. A few years ago, Andrew Scott pointed to some interesting public policies in Scandinavia, but these are largely ignored.
We pay relatively little attention to either Canada or New Zealand, although they share more similarities with us than either of the major Anglospheric powers. If students are led to ponder the extent to which the foundation of the United States depended upon slavery, or why Nazism could arise in one of the great centres of Western culture, they may be better prepared to develop an understanding of the world less dominated by the preoccupations of London and New York.
Culture shapes politics Our political debates are inevitably coloured by the cultural dominance of Anglo-American literature, film and music.
All small countries face questions of how to develop their own culture while open to the rest of the world.The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue.
** The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) awarded AMERICAN IDLE an Honorable Mention in the Non-Fiction category of their annual writing awards!! Essay Scholarships.
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Coined in a science-fiction novel in , the Anglosphere has become Australia's cultural (and political) obsession. That leaves us blind to other perspectives.
Television's Impact on Society Although television is perceived as one of the greatest scientific inventions of the 20th century and is watched enormously by the American public, it is often criticized as the root of intellectual destruction for children.
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