Rana Dasgupta on Thu, 23 Mar 2006 21:42:40 +0100 (CET)

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Dear Ben

thank you for comments.

> I think you have a point about Westerners' changing perceptions, but
> perhaps you ought to have mentioned the vast gulf between those
> commodified images and the ways many who live in third-world
> megacities perceive their own environment: not as a vibrant,
> irrepressible source of unlimited creativity, but as a prison to which
> they resign themselves or from which they long to escape.  

i should make clear that this article is not interested in people who
live in Third-World cities, or in making generalisations about what
they might think.  nowhere does the "reality" of the Third-World city
feature: the article is precisely about the commodified images of which
you speak, which are for the most part not produced by by people in
Third-World cities.  this article is an anthropology of the west, not
the east [or the south or whatever one calls it].

> Also, Western tourists and consumers are not perhaps the only ones who
> admire the third world: is Silvio Berlusconi, in gaining personal
> control of the media and the economy, consciously imitating certain
> third-world autocrats?  As Western elites search for a political
> formula that maintains the trappings of democracy while staving off
> the spectre of egalitarianism, might they (such as those who arranged
> for George W. Bush to follow in his father's footsteps) not find
> inspiration in the rigged elections, media homogeneity, trompe-l'oeil
> political parties and dynastic regimes that are a fixture of politics
> in many countries further South?

interesting line of thought.  but do you think that the virtue of
europe is so great that any compromise to it could only come from the
corrupt third world...?  perhaps european elites have no need of
tutors...  (-:


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