“Before Elvis there was nothing.”
FROM AMERICANIZATION TO GLOBALIZATION
The USA, the country which had been an importer of influences has become in the twentieth century a major exporter of them. The whole world imports products and services from the USA. The majority of the world’s best known celebrities are from the USA. In many areas of life, American popular tastes and attitudes have conquered the world. The United States became the first nation in history to build its way of life. Culturally, Americans are in between “affective” and “neutral” cultures – in some ways they are more open and in other ways they are more reserved. However, the Americans tend to show feelings more, they show how they feel quite openly – when they are happy, or when they are angry. Over 60% would express anger openly in a work or formal situations. The USA is a big democratic country, where the way of life is fast, the food is fast, and thus, the trade mark features of America are the Statue of Liberty, McDonalds and Coca-Cola. Most people spend their holiday in the USA, because it’s so big, and there are so many spectacular places to visit. Besides, the Americans go to the movies a lot. In the 1920s American movies filled the cinema screens of the world. Most were made in Hollywood. By the 1920s it had become the film-making capital of the world. Hollywood movies were made by large companies called studios. The men who ran these studios were businessmen and their main aim was to make as much money as possible. They soon found that one way to do this was to standardize their films. The actors were turned into “stars”. A famous star could make any movie a certain success, so the studios went to great legends to make their actors into stars. They encouraged fan magazines. The movies of the 1920s were silent. They spoke in pictures, not words, and so their language was international. All over the world, from Berlin to Tokyo, from London to Buenos Aires, tens of millions of people lined up every night of the week to see their favourite Hollywood stars – and, without realizing, to be Americanized. After the World War II the spreading of American influence was continued by a powerful new force – television. In 1947 around 170000 American families had television sets flickering in their living rooms. Comedy, fiction, westerns – all these were popular. Nowadays, the Americans watch a lot of TV – there are hundreds of channels on 24 hours a day. By the 1960s filmed television programmes had become an important American export. Other countries found it cheaper to buy American television production than to make their own. Soon such exported programmes were being watched by viewers all over the world. Most TV shows were concerned with entertainment. The global appeal of big entertainment events is gained by “reality shows”, which combine the drama of life performance with interactive participation. One of such shows is “American Idol” – the US version of the huge British TV hit, “Pop Idol”.
celebrity – знаменитость
affective – эмоциональный
reserved – сдержанный
movies – кино
to standardize – стандартизировать
to line up – стоять в очереди
flickering – светящийся
entertainment – развлечение
interactive participation – непосредственное участие
The USA has had the enormous influence on popular music in the last hundred years. It all started with the “blues”. Things really began in a big way at the beginning of the twentieth century, when the blues developed from black folk music into popular music. George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”, first performed in 1924, was very innovative and succeeded in being both serious and extremely popular. Blues singers like Bessie Smith were popular with both blacks and whites. It was also big business. The 1920s was known as the “Jazz Age”, and jazz music was popularized by such great performers as the trumpet player Louis Armstrong, and late the...