Comparison/Contrast

Length: three-to-four pages

 

In their essays, Brendon O’Connor and Mark Rice-Oxley argue that American cultural influence has been so overwhelming that it can be seen in almost every part of the world. They observe that many people in the world consume American food, follow American fashion, enjoy American entertainment products, and even use the American language. This love affair of the world with American cultural products can be explained by their easy accessibility and highly entertaining quality, fueled by U.S. multinational companies’ “unrivalled distribution and marketing advantages” (O’Connor 162).

 

As a result, despite some positive impacts such as the transmission of U.S. ideals of “individual rights, freedom of speech, and respect for women” (Rice-Oxley 163), some writers are concerned about the negative effects of American influence, including the loss of national identities, the decline of local businesses, and the creation of a single, homogeneous world culture (O’Connor 161-162). In addition, writers such as Martha Bayles suggest that many local cultures seem to be negatively influenced by American entertainment media, so often characterized by “profanity, nudity, violence and criminal activity” (174).

 

Write an essay in which you, as a person who has experienced both your own and American culture, critically evaluate the extent to which O’Connor’s and Rice-Oxley’s impression about the pervasive American influence on world culture holds true in your country. (The two authors say that the whole world has been influenced by American culture. Is it true in your country? Why?) Then, discuss the impact of such Americanization in your country. (As a result of consuming American cultural products, do people in your country experience some positive and/or negative effects? What are they?) If you left your country long ago, try to recall your impression on your latest visit home. If you haven’t visited your country recently, interview those who have.

 

In order to accomplish this task, you need to decide on a few specific aspects of American culture because it is not possible to discuss many aspects effectively and persuasively in the limited space of this essay. You could focus on food (e.g., McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, TGIF, Starbucks), or on commercial products (e.g., clothes, shoes, bags, phones, computers), or on entertainment (e.g., movies, TV shows, music, video games), or on how American English has been imported into your language(s). You should cite at least FIVE ACADEMIC SOURCES, including three from the textbook (use O’Connor, Rice-Oxley, and Bayles) and two from outside sources (one outside source may be a newspaper or news website).

 

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