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BS: E.R. - How did it play in the US?

Lanfranc 24 Jan 04 - 07:46 PM
Johnny in OKC 25 Jan 04 - 12:18 AM
katlaughing 25 Jan 04 - 12:43 AM
wysiwyg 25 Jan 04 - 12:50 AM
ddw 25 Jan 04 - 01:34 PM
GUEST 25 Jan 04 - 04:25 PM
ddw 25 Jan 04 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,Chairman.........ex empire club of europe. 25 Jan 04 - 11:02 PM
Lanfranc 26 Jan 04 - 04:27 AM
ddw 26 Jan 04 - 01:18 PM
GUEST,leeneia 26 Jan 04 - 01:57 PM

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Subject: BS: E.R. - How did it play in the US?
From: Lanfranc
Date: 24 Jan 04 - 07:46 PM

In the series of the US medico-soap "ER" that is currently being shown in Britain, two of the main characters are involved in some rather bloody and harrowing scenes while working as doctors in Africa.

The episodes I have seen have been pretty strong stuff, and I couldn't help but wonder how they went down with US viewers, who are not exactly notorious for having a broad world view.

Even a standard episode of ER is not for the faint-hearted, but they are showing a series of situations that depict US attitudes to the Third World in an accurate, but hardly flattering, light.

Any comments from the other side of the pond?

Alan


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Subject: RE: BS: E.R. - How did it play in the US?
From: Johnny in OKC
Date: 25 Jan 04 - 12:18 AM

Who has time for TV?

I thought you meant Elizabeth Regina II.

- Johnny


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Subject: RE: BS: E.R. - How did it play in the US?
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Jan 04 - 12:43 AM

We have been encouraged to see such accurate portrayals throughout this whole season over here, Alan. I hope it has a high number of viewers over here. They need to be *enlightened.*

Michael Critchon is no slouch and has written many thrillers based in Third World countries which seem to be very accurate. He is also a medical doctor, though I don't think he's practised ever since his writing skills put him through med school and started making him loads of money right off the bat.

Thanks for asking,

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: E.R. - How did it play in the US?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 25 Jan 04 - 12:50 AM

. . . US viewers, who are not exactly notorious for having a broad world view . . .

IMO, we baby boomers who are now such a huge demographic group in the US have such a broad world view that we can hardly find room to turn around for fear of offending some PC standard. After growing up on TV views or the realities of Viet Nam, and having instantaneous news coverage of all the atrocities since, and having (many of us) worked against a variety of oppressions, we're not quite as naive and complacent as one across the pond might imagine. We may be in our recliners but our hearts are still full of feeling. Why else do you think ER has such huge ratings? It's aimed at us!

Don't confuse our national policies with the individuals over here!

Speaking strictly personally, as a boomer myself I found it quite amusing to see young Carter blithely promise so much to the first AIDS mother he ran into--- I was enough of a realist to spot the unfolding plot right off. "Young Carter's in for a little education," I thought. "He'll feel so bad he'll have to spend his own freshly-inherited money." (He did.) Next I assume he'll feel so bad about life in Africa, he'll have to come home to work extra hard to get other rich folk to join his cause. Must be nice."

Some of us boomers have learned to pick our fights a little more thoughtfully; but be assured, we're still kicking.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: E.R. - How did it play in the US?
From: ddw
Date: 25 Jan 04 - 01:34 PM

Well said, Kat and WYSIWYG.

I'm not trying to start a slagging match here, but I couldn't help noticing that the person who is accusing Americans of having a narrow world view doesn't make a distinction between people's awareness and attitudes and the government/corporate policy level of interaction. Especially when it's coming from a son of a not-long-disbanded major colonial empire.

Something about pots and kettles comes to mind....

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: E.R. - How did it play in the US?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 04 - 04:25 PM

Good reply from the son of the current major empire.


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Subject: RE: BS: E.R. - How did it play in the US?
From: ddw
Date: 25 Jan 04 - 07:30 PM

Guest,

I don't think the U.S. is an imperial nation in the same way the Brits and a lot of other Europeans were. They certainly have never promulgated anything akin to the "white man's burden" mentality that marked much of the Brits' empire.

And if you're implying that U.S. businesses around the globe are the "empire," I think you might want to take a close look at who actually owns the companies working in the Third World to tap resources and cheap labor. I think you'd be amazed at how many are still British or any of half a dozen European countries or Japan.

I think a helluva lot of what the U.S. gets blamed for is actually the actions of other western countries, but because the U.S. is the most visible on so many planes, they take the blame.

So what should we do?
Quit building any manufacturing facilities outside the U.S.? That would take care of "exploiting workers" criticism. And leave a helluva lot of people with no means of support.
Or maybe not buy any raw materials from Third World countries to quiet the "resource grab" critics? Same outcome.
And maybe we should stop allowing U.S. businesses to open stores around the world so nobody else would have to put up with McDonald's and Nike and Ralph Lauren cloths.
We should probably also help all those countries who don't want our "cultural influence" to block the sale and broadcast of American television shows, American music and American movies. And just to make sure we don't step on any Third World toes, maybe we should make sure cell phones and all the communications trappings that go with them aren't sold there either. Of course, the Japanese and Germans and Dutch would have to buy into that as well....

When it comes to political empire building, I guess the U.S. is a bit on the proselytizing side. But when they go into a country and don't try to encourage democracy they're accused of shoring up the local dictator. If they do try to encourage it, they're meddling in other people's affairs.

And aid? Well, if we give money, it is often grabbed by whoever was on top of the power heap before we got there and none of it gets to the population. Same with food, which also — as happened in Zimbabwe a few years ago — the food sent in so so superior that the local farmers can't sell the scratty little stuff they grow and they're forced out of business, leaving the country completely without an ability to feed itself.

If we send people to try to help educate the locals so they can grow their own, they find such a lack of the kinds of things they know about (like fertilizer, machines and water) that it all becomes pointless or again undermines some traditional way of living — yet another thing to be damned for.

The long and short of it is, no matter what the U.S. does anywhere in the world, somebody's going to say it's wrong. Maybe the solution is a return to isolationism and let the world stew in its own juice — but millions would criticize that, too.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: E.R. - How did it play in the US?
From: GUEST,Chairman.........ex empire club of europe.
Date: 25 Jan 04 - 11:02 PM

its a bugger having to be responsible for half the world isnt it!


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Subject: RE: BS: E.R. - How did it play in the US?
From: Lanfranc
Date: 26 Jan 04 - 04:27 AM

David

I think you have missed the point. It was my perception of the "narrow world view" of the majority of US audiences that I was trying to correct, or, at least, update. The reaction to programmes such as the ER episodes I quoted was of interest to me in that context.

When I worked in LA and NY in the 80s and 90s of the last century, the US media hardly mentioned any news items from farther afield than Canada or Mexico. Maybe things have changed somewhat.

Your diatribe about the British Empire was somewhat uncalled for. Congo was a Belgian colony, not British, and, anyway, I think it could be fairly said that the lot of the inhabitants of many former colonies today is worse than during the worst days of colonial rule.

As to the role of the US as neo-colonialists, the least they can do is try to learn from our past mistakes. If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it!

Alan


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Subject: RE: BS: E.R. - How did it play in the US?
From: ddw
Date: 26 Jan 04 - 01:18 PM

Alan,

I don't quite consider pointing out a difference in attitudes a diatribe. The US has never approached its foreign forays with quite the same condescending attitudes that marked the British and other European colonies. The US may have been wrong, even muddleheaded, in its assessment of situations (Vietnam and Mogadishu spring to mind) but they've certainly never openly espoused things like the "white man's burden" or posted signs comparable to "No dogs or Chinese allowed" in the cities of colonies.

I'm a little puzzled how Congo got into the conversation. I never mentioned it.

As for missing your point, I don't think so. I just thought your point was ill taken. Regardless of what you and lots of others think about Americans, I doubt very seriously that the general population is any less aware of what's going on in the world than they are in your neck of the woods. Truth is, most people don't have a clue about what's going on in their own backyards, let alone what's going on in the rest of the world. After more than 30 years as a journalist, the biggest lesson I learned is that most people JUST DON'T GIVE A HAPPY DAMN.

The long and short of it is that I found your inferences insulting, not because they're particularly untrue, but because you were attributing them to those OTHER ignorant people. Include your tribe in the mix and we have no problem at all.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: E.R. - How did it play in the US?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 26 Jan 04 - 01:57 PM

Lots of Americans don't even bother with TV any more. I don't own one. Few of my friends watch. When we have a spare moment, we play music.


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