Getting the masses in the United States to be concerned about combating global poverty is a difficult task. Generally speaking, we tend to be in denial about the social problems in our own country, preferring to fantasize about the lives of celebrities, and give very little thought to the social problems of other countries. Most of the media in the United States spend their resources following celebrities around or demonstrating the importance of owning material goods.
It doesn't take an Emerson or an Einstein to recognize that the system has lost it moorings, and, like ancient Rome, is drifting into an increasingly dysfunctional situation. Still, we have ways, both individually and culturally, of hiding this from ourselves. There are so many anodynes aroundsuch as the constant outpouring of new technological toysand the media is brilliantly adept at drowning the country in the kinds of spectacles that keep our minds focused on the trivial and the sensational:
[...] Informed more by impartial academic sources than by media reports, I will discuss below some of the current issues in Africa and some policy implications for supporting its future development. Current Issues in Africa Richard A. Joseph (2003), a professor of political science and the director of the African Studies Program at Northwestern University, provides an interesting perspective about the current situation in Africa as he criticizes recent initiatives aimed at its development: While welcome, these initiatives still do not constitute a sufficiently comprehensive response to the impediments to growth and human security on the continent. [...]
[...] Kearney (2003) cautions us that art and philosophy may provide a deeper understanding of global issues than the media do: The advantage of art and philosophy is that they are “critical” discourses . which underscore the character of such illusion. And in so doing they may allow us to understand that every coverage of the unthinkable is always to some extent a cover-up. There is no unmediated presentation of events—however terrible—which does not involve some kind of framing, editing, emplotment, perspective of packaging. [...]
[...] At this point in time, it is reinterpreting its own history and is in the process of writing a new chapter for itself. I don't know about you, my reader, but next summer I'm going to Africa. References Berman, Morris 2000 The Twilight of American Culture. New York: W. W. Norton. Chavis, Rod 1998 Africa in the Western Media. Paper presented at the sixth annual African studies consortium workshop, October 2. University of Pennsylvania. http://www.africa. upenn.edu/workshop/chavis98.html/ Christie, Iain T., and [...]
[...] The Western media's portrayal of Africa downplays the people's accomplishments, destroys their cultural self- esteem, and hurts tourism. This is ironic because increased tourism would not only increase Africans' economy but also their self-respect. Christie and Crompton (2001) observe on this point: The quality of Africa's resource endowment for tourism is exceptional, but most [African] countries have only barely developed their tourism potential. (p. Thus, increasing tourism can play a huge key in Africa's development if we can only find a way to get the Western media's boots off Africa's back. [...]
[...] Two of the most important strategic plans that I feel deserve some attention as a matter of public policy are addressing the negative portraits that appear in the Western media and maximizing the potential of Africa becoming a leader in tourism. There is no doubt about the need to improve Africa's image. Relying on Western media to be objective, considerate, helpful, understanding, and caring is not the way to go. It is time for Africa to tell its own stories in its own voice. [...]
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