I JUST FINISHED MY LAST EXAM (HOPEFULLY) OF MY UNDERGRAD ACADEMIC CAREER!
(i’m just waiting for all the credits to transfer and receive my diploma. I pray there are no more problems about this.)
Anyway, I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for awhile, because I found it quite interesting in my class.
“Memory is not authentic or natural, rather, derived from our engagement with mass mediated representations. Mass media has become central to the mediation of memory in modern cultural life.”–From the class PPT
Maurice Halbwachs(1992), On Collective Memory.
“the past is not preserved but is reconstructed on the basis of the present.”
We spent some time discussing how current portrayals of historic incidents shape how Korean people think about Korea. Speaking broadly for example, pop culture representations of North Korean people tended to be highly caricaturized and representations of Japanese people villainized. The string of tragic conflicts in East Asia in the latter half of the 20th century are recurring themes in Korean films and television shows. And Korean people have a very strong national pride. I think these two ideas feed off of each other, and I think that is maybe why Korea has done a better job of preserving its cultural history–firstly, the desire to remember the history is there, secondly, because the memories of these time periods have probably been romanticized at least a little bit, and in the process of romanticizing, there has been calibrated emphasis placed on certain values. (i.e. loyalty, family ties, etc., etc.,)
As for China’s desire to play the soft power game, they do it by imitating successful soft power examples from Korea, Europe, and the USA. It really doesn’t seem to be working that well…and some Chinese people aren’t too crazy about the phenomenon either. Soft power can only come when the security in cultural identity is solid, and as China continues to re-invent who it wants to be, there is an already realized danger that the things that make China what it is are going to become extinct. I had a conversation with a Chinese classmate who mourned the increasing demolition of Confucian tradition and values in China after visiting Korea.
Which makes me wonder, what are some of the other collective memories in China that the mass media should try to highlight in the hope of solidifying the new “Chinese Cultural Identity?” I think the kung fu movies and the food and holiday celebration documentaries are not enough. But China is so big–huge–gargantuan–that I think it would be very difficult to construct national collective memories from the media.
Anyway, those were just a few thoughts.
(the face you make when you’re DONE!) (with one thing.)