Was having a discussion with a friend about how India fails to create focused movies without targeting the masses; of course, things are changing, especially off late, and some fine movies are coming out of Bollywood... I made an error by stating that America has a rather intelligent audience; to this, my friend knocked me down with a hail of words, stating some of the reasons why America creates some great movies once in a while. I accepted my error and then, as ALWAYS, my brain went into overdrive.
This country used to be, and still is, the envy of a large part of the world. A lot of incidences have occurred in the past which presented America with opportunities to become a great nation - a status which is now debatable.
With envy come brickbats and therefore, a lot of people around the world hate the excesses of the US, exaggerate the stupidity of its population, ridicule the narrow mindedness and this makes for interesting gossip.
But, I have been in America for a while now and I have this to say:
The will and the ability of the people of America (at least in the past) to reinvent itself and grasp at opportunities has helped grow this nation to what it is now.
America decided to develop its infrastructure to proportions that are hard to imagine outside this land; this infrastructure has, in turn, significantly improved the quality of life.
Americans only know one language! Of course there are people who speak only English but answer me this, why should they speak other languages when most of what they need is in the US and whomsoever wants to sell to the US decides to adjust themselves to English.
Of course there are people who don't know much about what is outside the US, but you will find such people everywhere in the world - people who don't know more than what exists within their community / state / country. Again, an American rarely needs to know what is outside the US (this too is changing).
Thing is, America is a very public nation. It is a watched nation. People love stupid people and the country which speaks the most known language in the world is the US. Imagine this, I am sure one can find a rather dumb person in Mumbai who can barely speak English; do you believe India has the consumer power to demand that person filmed? Either for Youtube or for a TV channel or for a comedy show? No. US does; consequently, pockets in the world do.
America is the land of great opportunities and rightly so. Largest reason - Judicial system and its enforceability. People feel relatively secure, businesses feel incentivized.
My belief is that America has managed to create such vast global organizations - it deserves that and its people deserve that.
Apple (The company ;) ) was a blip a few years ago; innovation, marketing and an active consumer market has made it what it is today.
Addendum: Courtesy - My idiotic friend.
As said by Uncle Ben: "With great power comes great responsibility."
America wielded that power for many years, especially after the second world war; Western European countries still despise the conditions that allowed America to help rebuild, and thereby benefit from, these countries. An economic angle to all of this is the Gold standard and how it was pegged to the USD, which allowed the US to become the largest holder of gold reserves in the world (a title it still holds).
But, through this power, America came out victorious after the Cold War; it helped South Korean success and independence. I shudder to think of what may have transpired if the USSR had come out victorious. However, soon enough, the power got to America and thus, has been called for a long time - a bully.
The nonsense in the Middle East has been astonishing (over the last 3 decades). What I note is that, at first, America was the messiah; saving the world from communism and promoting capitalism. Of course there must have been hidden agendas, but all in all - it was a great force that helped the world. Then, something changed. America became greedy; natural resources, religion and terrorism took centrestage. It is amusing how any atrocities in Saudi Arabia or Russia would be overlooked, simply because they wield a lot of power.
I hate to go into examples but, Iraq attacked Kuwait; and international forces - primarily, US, UK, Egypt and Saudi Arabia - attacked Iraq. Was this war in pursuit of liberty and justness or was it to protect Oil - a major consumer of which was the US.
Terrorist attacks and that was a good reason to destroy (and help rebuild) Afghanistan, destroy Iraq (finally) and somehow, aid Pakistan. Were these measures to protect Oil and to promote the the global acceptance of the USD which could have possibly lost to the EUR.
The pretenses are debatable, the consequences are debatable, but the mere fact is that America held and still holds a lot of power. It went into Iraq (in the 2000s) after the UN came out with a report that no WMDs were found; what can stop brute force?
A thought that I have worded often - Who will regulate the regulators?
Going back to the discussion with my friend; it's because America has so much money that it can afford to 'waste' money in creating niche movies, risking money on adventurous ventures; in addition, there are people who have the appreciation for art, much more than people from lesser countries where people would much rather worry about money and daily life.
One amazing thing I have noticed here is how much Americans love entertainment; they are crazy about sports, and that too, a variety of sports. Again, they do not play world sports, but nobody said they need to - they have a huge market which is more than sufficient.
Americans love to eat out, a life-style that is easier to live and at times, a necessity, but one that makes the entire community richer.
Americans love playing sports, just for fun. They love the outdoors, and they love travelling. They love their movies and their music. It's amazing when one thinks of the money that is generated at different stages of the production process of movies and songs. People around the world know American movies and music that has become popular through America. Why would a band such as U2 need to come to America - it has the money and its people have the capacity to spend it. Their standard of living has allowed them many comforts - but most importantly, they grasp at it - they are living their lives (some of them :D )
The perception that people have of Americans is that they live an easy life. I agree that living conditions in America are much more superior than those in most other countries, however, I believe that Americans work very hard to do what they do. It is a much more competitive place to work in than India. Of course there are exceptions and of course there are people who live beyond their means, but people work just as hard if not much harder (quality / quantity) than people from other countries.
If Indians have the audacity to point their fingers at Americans who live beyond their means, we should look at people in the political and bureaucratic circles who, in essence, rob other Indians. If Americans have the audacity to laugh at the Indian accent or think of Indians as an IT army, I would feel sorry for them; Indians are a whole lot more and individually we are an amazing people...
This post has been poorly worded.
This post was not about pro-Americanism.
I am promoting thought and rubbishing dogma.
I am going back to India because I believe I belong there.
I am going back to India because I believe in a story back home.
I am going back to India because I will always be an Indian at heart.
I love what America has managed to create for itself and for its people.
I wait to see what India (and I) can do for itself and for its people.