Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Defending European values and culture.

I grew up in a Europe dominated by American or "Anglophone" songs and movies. But I remember when I was young, I was exposed at home to music from France, Italy and Greece, apart from the popular English speaking
one. So what ever happened to European music and movie industries now-days?

When you are exposed to music or any form of art other than your native from a young age, you eventually become "bi-cultural." So when most of Europe is consuming mainly American music, films, television programs and series, then how will our future generations identify themselves?

In the past Europe was the birth place of the so called "Western civilization," with centuries old creativity and heritage so abundant, that made our continent dominant in most arts. Europe contributed to the global heritage hugely, but now it is merely a follower.

The "Western" culture is today  mainly expressed by the American or Anglophone productions, while the rest of Europe is apparently the consumer of these products with few exceptions. Our ruling elites possibly believe that by "Americanizing" us all, they create a common culture for Europe to help with its unification.

If I was exposed in Romanian movies when I was a young kid for example, possibly I would speak Romanian by now. Or at least I would have a very close affiliation with anything coming from that country. But I was exposed in American movies, so I am writing this article in English. When you come in contact from a young age with another culture, by watching movies and TV series produced by this culture, then you adopt it.

In many countries of Eastern Europe that were under Soviet influence, the affirmation that they are now "Western" comes with a flood of Anglophone songs and movies into their market. Just as it happened in Greece in the past, when the country needed to be "Westernized" and stay under European or American influence.

But why don't we instead of relying on USA to "Westernize" us, promote our own arts and heritage by selling it from one to another? Besides, aren't we Westerners already? We know more about New York from all the films we are watching, than Warsaw, Prague or Milan for example.Never mind the fact that we do not know much about some of the new EU states that joined recently, or are going to join soon.

European integration should not be just financial or political. If we want to succeed in it, we will also have to invest in culture as well. Culture and heritage is what binds people together, not an economy. We could start watching each others cinema and television programs. Listen to each others music. Organize pan-European art festivals, promoting and investing in art in all EU states.

We invest and subsidize almost everything in Europe, why can't we treat our art as a commodity as well? The Americans are making millions in revenue from selling their films and music to us. From royalties to everything that is attached to their entertainment industries.

If we do so we enforce and safeguard our arts, culture and heritage, individually as countries but also as a continent. We ensure the continuation, revival and influence of European arts in the world stage, but also that of our values. Our values are reflected in our arts and passed on through them.

And by exposing ourselves to each others culture we get to know each other too, promoting European integration. Perhaps in the end, we will create a common European heritage that will have a little bit from every corner of Europe. And that can be far more binding, than any currency or single market.

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