Will Mass Culture Paint the World Gray?

by Annie Lewandowski

Ever since the beginning of the 20th century, America has dominated the world as a superpower. This uncomfortable fact has created many social, cultural, political, and economic tensions around the world. Many different cultures in many different countries have resented the fact that American culture has permeated every aspect of life. This effect is not assimilation. Americans are not sharing sacred and long-held beliefs with other cultural groups and are not receiving important customs from the countries they affect. This is simply an exportation of the trendiest popular culture of the time. American culture being spread throughout the world is a result of major industrialization throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century and most notably the early twentieth century. Mass production makes the same products more accessible to more people not only nationally, but internationally. Having western culture in countries where tradition and custom is so important can have very alienating effects on the people who live there. Pop culture is dulling the important and sometimes sacred traditions and cultures of many cultures.

There is some good to come out of such globalization, though. Social media and international companies can connect people and enlighten them about a culture that they have never even heard of. Exchanges and communications are more feasible across country borders, and the new technology of the twenty-first century can even alleviate some of the language barrier. Globalization also encourages people to dig into their history and ancestry and revive parts of their culture that may be all but forgotten. I think that this is so important in a progressive world in order to stay in touch with the parts of the past with which people identify the most.