It’s interesting how the recent Fox News footage (of Glenn Beck) created a furor about insulting India. Nobody should feel insulted by Fox, but if they should, I think it’s an insult to the whole developing world, of which rising powers like Brazil, China and India are the new strong voices. Over the top has already seen a very good post by Vijay Vikram on this topic.
I am most interested in the response of New Delhi and Bombay’s well-informed and critical middle class. The kind whose progeny slobber at the mention of American higher education and Subway. Remember, this is a class that lethally combines a post-colonial hunger for Western approval with an almost unmatched intolerance for irony and sarcasm in the English language…
There has never been any doubt that the social base of the Republican Party comprises of moose-hunting neo-Palinites whose primary political impulse is centered around childbirth and gun control rather than relations with rising Asia.
Personally, I think that Fox News should be ignored and if possible ridiculed. Not only Fox, but there many other (some say almost all, and I happen to agree partially) American media beat around the bush in order in order to keep the audience from concentrating on “the issues.” Some sections of the American liberals have expressed worry about the situation and guessed that without proactive actions, soon there would be no mainstream liberal media outlet left in the States.
Back to the topic. This piece of video raises many questions.
- Notice the tone, laugh, and facial expression of the anchor as he uses certain words, like “India.” He calls Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Zimbabwe (and Copenhagen, if I heard correctly, though it’s not a country) “stupid countries.” He even says that the river Ganges sounds like a disease.
- For such a great country and people like America, I wish they had something/someone better to represent them in front of the International audience. With a decreasing American might, un-winnable wars and economic crisis, Beck and Fox certainly don’t help change the rest of the world’s perception of Americans as stupid.
- Talking of stupidity, the most ridiculous part of the video is when Beck goes to the board to compare Indian and American income levels. He compares the income of just-out-of-college Indian doctor with a well earning American doctor. He’d better got back to school and understand that such comparisons based on USD or exchange rates are very inaccurate. Comparing in terms of Purchasing Power Parity, one can perhaps have a better quality of life in India with $5000 than with $150000.
- Becks suggests that the high cost of health care in America is because of its high-tech hospitals, good doctors and all. Sure they have excellent manpower and facilities, but is an analysis of US health-care system complete without mentioning how much the private insurance companies keep for themselves? He doesn’t fail to mention though that a reason for high costs in US is because of the payments for laborers. Instead of comparing with a developing economy like India, one can get a better perspective by comparing the costs with some countries with comparable level of technical and economic progress. These charts compare the costs of private health-care plans of the US with other industrial countries like France and Germany.
- Becks should probably be thankful to the goods and services he gets from the developing world including India and China that have helped his country cope with an economic crisis that was aggravated by the “best of managers” who went to Harvard and Yale.
Right wing American media’s similar derogatory depiction of South Asia, its heritages and culture isn’t new. India, China and other countries happen to be at the receiving end because of their rising stature. All of Southasia and the developing world share the brunt of such tactics.
How do you think the Southasians need to deal (or challenge) with it? Please let your views be known in the comments.
Edited: The first few words of the second last paragraph were: “American (and Western in general) media’s… ” I edited after reading Joseph’s comment (2nd comment in this post).
Here is my response to his comment.