Not enough has been made of the fact that Sahara, an Indian company, is attempting to buy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and save it from bankruptcy.
I think it’s interesting, to say the least, that an Indian company might soon own the rights to Gone with the Wind and James Bond, among other films. Mind you, I have nothing against them owning those rights. I just can’t wrap my mind around the idea that American creative/intellectual property has any value at all outside our country. I mean, I realize there’s profit to be made off the assets in America, but one has to assume Sahara has designs on broadcasting the back catalog extra-widely in India, too, right?
When did the stories we tell here in America become world stories? Why are we a net exporter of culture—a huge net exporter, in fact? What is it about American memes that they easily adapt to so many different kinds of minds? They would seem to be evolutionarily disadvantaged, even, given the negative associations much of the world has with the American brand. (Though perhaps those associations are with the political brand, not the cultural brand—if those can be untangled from one another.)
I devote a great deal of time to thinking about how my work can be more local, more specific, more connected to the community I’m writing for. There seem to be artists who wonder how their work will play not only in Peoria, but in Pretoria… and make it work in both places. How is that possible?
Are there fundamental qualities of being human that allow us to see ourselves even in utterly foreign stories? Are stories like cockroaches, evolutionarily adapted to survive in any cultural climate? Why does culture work outside of any context? I cannot understand.
Update: Eric Ziegenhagen shares this article, which adds great fuel to the conversation about world culture.