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Leapin' Lizardos!

Monday, April 09, 2007 by Jeff

Who could argue that the U.S. is not the cultural factory for the rest of the world? Hip-hop, Hollywood, and hanging ten were all produced on these shores before being exported to the far reaches of the globe. Your average global citizen is much more likely to recognize Jerry Seinfeld than GĂ©rald Depardieu, Madonna than Ayumi Hamasaki. And this isn't a benign exportation, this is cultural imperialism. Many critics of the U.S. have screamed that the "McDonaldization" of their societies is breaking the backbone of traditional cultures and replacing it with a global culture dominated by the richest country on Earth. Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and blue jeans - it's hard to disagree with them.

Enter Omar Lizardo. Though he's not alone, our dear friend disagrees and he recently appeared on a New York progressive radio program to talk about it. You can hear for yourself as Omar takes on the forces of anti-imperialism here (fast-forward to the 40-minute mark, just beyond halfway). I dare say, I don't think Omar supports cultural imperialism, but he does question whether or not it really is happening.

One listener responds, "I could take only about 15 minutes of listening to this guy (Lizardo) before I had to delete the...segment lest I destroy my computer in anger." Read more of that comment and the ensuing discussion here. Finally, read Omar's paper for yourself (mentioned briefly in the New York Times).

Go Omar, go Omar - it's your birthday!

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Passenger 21A calling

Sunday, April 01, 2007 by Jeff

I'm writing from seat 21A on US Air flight number 2834 tonight. How cool is that? I've never blogged from an airplane before and, in fact, I've never found a free WiFi connection in an airport before. We're sitting idly at gate B3 at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport waiting for some connecting flight to send more passengers our way. Frankly, I think if they can't hire a fast enough plane to get here on time that's their problem. Let's taxi this sucker!

It occurs to me that in only twelve hours I'll be in front of 60 students again, introducing them to framing theories - not my favorite part of social movement studies. Oh how I long to be in bed at that time! Has anyone ever tried teaching a class from bed via podcast or some such newfangled technology? The thought is intriguing. Would it be possible to have a video conference with my students from the site of, say, a protest event? Could we connect from the classroom to Gloria Steinem's office for a discussion? Would John McCain discuss the view of immigration protests from Washington in real time?

Ok, we're ready to taxi! Tucson, Arizona...here I come!

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Jeff A. Larson
Sociologist, Arizona.


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