Sunday, September 13, 2009

Discussion 1

On Thursday, we discussed David Adesnik's essay, "Marvel Comics and Manifest Destiny." Our discussion was led by Josh, Lindsay, Dina, and Jess. They put together a power point presentation, complete with excerpts of the comic discussed in the essay, Spiderman India. We talked about whether this comic has any impact on American and Indian culture. We also discussed the possibility of the global village becoming a reality.

The comic reached controversial status due to its take on manifest destiny. Some may read it and think that India is claiming to be the next world superpower. Many of us didn't find this threatening. As Jan said, "What's wrong with an allied superpower?" The comic has the danger of becoming offensive when it messes with American symbolism. But most of us felt that it didn't do that.

We were divided on whether India had the right to create their own version of Spiderman. Some of us saw Spiderman India in his little "MC Hammer pants" and thought, Hey, that's my Spiderman! Others thought it was okay. Maria felt that Spiderman India shows an integration of culture. Ryan thought of the comic as a compliment on our culture. "They think it's good," he said. "It's a step towards us coming together."

Some of us worried that the comic adds to the threat of a global village. Aaron said, Why travel to new places when so many share the same American means of entertainment? Bri pointed out that media can be globalized, because it's "easy and light." Religion and politics are not. The problem lies in our perception of the media in question. Is there religious or political symbolism in Spiderman India? Is it offensive? Some say yes. Some say it's just a comic book.

We don't like the idea of a global village. That's a good sign that we won't create one. Yes, there are McDonalds all over the planet. But each one has it's own identity. In China and India, McDonalds offers meals with the spices and traditions of those nations. We didn't even get into the differences inside American McDonalds, from one state to the next. Texan McDs carry several southern-themed sandwiches. Californian McDs offer more vegetarian options. Differences are found in the details.

The same goes for Spiderman India. As Josh said, our values are the same, they just appear different. Culture is an ever-changing thing. It's hard to see our world becoming a global village, because we are always changing too.

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