Richard Wike, Associate Director of the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, takes quite a sanguine view of Hollywood’s impact on the world.
Surveys consistently show that movies – and more broadly, American popular culture – are a strong suit of U.S. soft power. And, while studio executives spend considerably more time thinking about box office returns than public diplomacy, Tinseltown is actually pretty effective at nudging America’s international image in a positive direction.
There is no question that Hollywood, and its advertising counterpart, Madison Avenue, are Brand America bookends to the US national image in the world. What’s not explored in this piece is the cultural hegemony that the US has over nations.
Many global populations support Hollywood film and television because it’s what they have come to know through its ubiquitous presence. The omnipresence of American culture, and its homogenizing presence on native cultures, is downplayed here.
And what of Americans who wish to see non-US global media film and TV productions? For a nation with so much influence in the world, we are woefully ignorant about the lives and lessons from many who do not ascribe to the pro-Western, pro-American way of life.
I wish this article had included more nuance and not so much ‘hooray for Hollywood’ absoluteness. Alas, this is more of an advertising promotional piece for the Academy Awards, better known as The Oscars.