I was fed up of the USA and UK dominance in culture, so I designated May 2014 as a month without USA and UK. This is the long awaited summary.
Why I did that? Because I can’t even take a step outside without being surrounded by USA and UK culture. Wait, no, even without going outside I’m surrounded by USA/UK culture. Majority of science fiction or fantasy books are from USA and UK (especially in libraries). Most TV series in Polish TV/cable TV too. I don’t even want to think about music – radio station and music TV channels are infested with USA/UK artists.
It wasn’t easy to watch TV. It was really hard, actually. Only very few channels were free of USA/UK programmes. I had to be very picky, look up the TV guides or watch what I recorded earlier. Too bad a lot of films were co-produced either by USA or UK.
It’s not that I hate USA or UK, and have something against those countries culture. It’s just… too much of it everywhere. Hardly any differences between Poland and Indonesia, for example. This kind of globalisation is a big no-no.
I invite you to see the notes from exploring culture in around 50 countries from around the world, but most of them are European.
My own country’s culture was dominating the whole challenge. From week 1 to week 5.
- I re-read a book, from my own childhood.
- I watched lots of Polish music videos, including Video’s Dobrze, że jesteś in Polish Sing Language, and Polish concerts in TV. The concerts of: Kasia Nosowska, Pustki, Mozdzer Daniellson Fresco.
- I watched a bit of TV series Pitbull ( I like it!) and Kogiel mogiel film. And some other programmes produced in Poland.
- I listened to Polish music in radio, both folk and pop/rock.
I went back to the roots, especially music roots. And I embraced the current Polish culture, which I fell behind on. I’m happy from this result. And I got even more into European culture.
Around the World
I got to know a bit of culture from around 50 countries. Mostly I had to rely on the Internet. The easiest it was to look for new music, using sites like Jamendo.com or music festivals: EuroMusic Contest 2014 and Eurovision 2014. Theme-focused online radios were also an asset. You can get all the info on what I read. watched, listened to during the May 2014 without USA and UK culture in earlier posts.
As for TV, it was easiest to find Polish music/films (Polish only channels) or European from the following countries: France, Russia, Germany. Which I watched.
Besides Poland, those countries music/TV series were most often on my playlist: Japan, Austria, France, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Russia. Well, I also read some Icelandic poems translated into Polish. Japan is no surprise, Russia – a bit of come back, Iceland – great come back, bit forgotten in the latest craze.
The shortest visit (not including Eurovision) I paid to: Brazil (reading The Hour of the Star) , Hong Kong (bad quality film), India (music), Indonesia (again), Kazakhstan (music), Malaysia (Yuna again ;)), Pakistan (concert in TV), Rwanda (music).
In between there are countries like Slovakia or South Korea.
Another thing is diversity. I watched much more diverse things in TV, even the not-so-liked programmes focused on nature and wildlife. Actually, some of those are really interesting! I started watching archaeology and history TV series again. Great!
I was lucky with designating May for this kind of challenge. There were lots of events, both online and offline, that helped me out to reach for culture from various countries. I mentioned the two music festivals already, but I also used The Long Night of Museums and Warsaw Book Fair.
Not always I was successful. Eurovision which was a great place to familiarise with artists from around the Europe, had also UK artist. EuroMusic Contest 2014 gave me lots of new artists from around Europe to listen to.
In the End
Did it change anything in the long run? I think so. I got to watch new TV series, started using more channels in my cable TV, got bored with the old TV series (USA made) and almost fully stopped watching them. 😉 I realised I like European TV series much more, closer to the life than those made in USA. Thanks to Flikken Maastricht for that. 😉
The challenge pushed me to try out new things (mainly in TV) but limiting out some part of culture was difficult. It required a lot of effort and by the week 5 I was already tired of it. It proved what I suspected earlier, limiting anything is not a good idea. If I were to limit myself, like to reading only women for the whole year, I would go nuts.
I didn’t watch some films co-produced by USA or UK or didn’t read some anthologies. No worries, I don’t even know now what I missed. 😉
That was an interesting challenge, but very tiring. I gained more in the end than I lost in not engaging with USA/UK culture. I was right to limit those countries products, but limiting entirely is not an option.
What do you think about USA/UK culture? How often do you read/watch/listen to it?