Cultural exports

screen tvIn her new book, Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture, Public Diplomacy, and America’s Image Abroad (Yale University Press), Martha Bayles shows how America’s in-your-face entertainment became our country’s de facto ambassador. Based on interviews she conducted in 11 countries, Bayles argues that this distorted picture of America has been a most influential export. She cites many objections to the violence and vulgarity pervading today’s American popular culture, but also a deeper complaint: namely, that America no longer shares the best of itself. Far from finding fault, Bayles hopes her work can help to chart a positive path for the future. Listen to her talk about her new book on NPR’s “On Point.” Bayles teaches in the College of Arts & Sciences Honors Program. She is also the author of Hole in Our Soul: The Loss of Beauty and Meaning in American Music.

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