Dynamist Blog

Cultural Complexity

This LAT article by Reed Johnson starts out as sarcastic fluff, but analyzing the cultural significance of Eva Longoria eventually leads to some valuable insights--the sorts of things that should be blindingly obvious to anyone actually living in contemporary American culture but that are too often obscured by various political blinders. Here's one:

This phenomenon of inhabiting more than one culture simultaneously, without feeling a sense of conflicted loyalties, differs in important ways from Chicanismo, the political-cultural movement that arose among Chicanos (people of Mexican descent born in the United States) in the 1960s. Chicanismo was a survival strategy for members of a minority group struggling to get along in a society that treated them as third-class citizens. By necessity, its supporters felt, Chicanismo often took an aggressive stance of resistance toward mainstream U.S. culture.

The new dualism favors assimilation over resistance. Rather than being grounded in identity politics, it's being fueled by technology and the free flow of goods, ideas and talent across an increasingly open and globalized border. This border is not merely a physical place. It exists on the airwaves and in cyberspace as well, in big urban centers and remote pueblitos.

Its influence is especially evident among Mexican Americans and other Latino American youth, who are seeing themselves reflected not only in TV, movies and books but on millions of individual MySpace.com pages. They're wearing LeBron James jerseys, but they may root as hard (or harder) for El Tri, the Mexican national soccer team, as for the U.S. squad in the upcoming World Cup.

Despite an off-putting lead, the whole article is worth reading.

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