As you are aware, Dear Reader, the chatterati are presently involved in a drag-em-down full-on Texas Cage Death Match. As I previously noted, Justrecently defined the PRCs new conceptual parameters in no uncertain terms. Chinageeks has successfully ditched most of its old school comment base of trolls (incl myself), and reinvented itself with a new generation of interesting posters. Peking Duck, is as you would expect, steady at the helm. Seeing Red in China goes for the long historical sweep, but ignores the role played by the Mongols in developing and systematizing the Old Silk Road(s). Note: There was more than one trade conduit to Medieval Europe. Adam Cathcart’s main site piles on, and the following comes out of exchanges which took place there.
To cite from wiki:
The primary currencies of soft power are an actor’s values, culture, policies and institutions—and the extent to which these “primary currencies”, as Nye calls them, are able to attract or repel other actors to “want what you want.”
Now, I’m going out on a limb and arguing that Nye’s concept of soft power primarily appeals to Western scribblers as it gives them a free kick when it comes to China and how it is presently governed by the CCP. If anything, contemporary China suffers from an excess/a full spectrum of negative charisma outside its borders, and that in part includes it contiguous East Asian neighbours.
Second point. It is an all-encompassing globalising concept, appealing in its simplicity with its attraction/repulsion continuum.
Many may be attracted to aspects of Chinese culture, yet loathe and detest CCP policies and some of its government institution. Forget about bending other global actors/nation states to your will, and think about these lesser issues.
In fact, Nye may have had a passing interest in S @ M, what with his coupling of dominant/subordinate instances of cultural soft power, bending and being bent to the will of others national interests.
Do Japan and South Korea exercise soft power on the global stage, and forget about various US military relationships with these two countries? That is all about pragmatic self-interest. The answer is that they don’t need to worry about their soft power global ratings, since any power they exercise is acquired though the technological excellence of their brands. Western consumers have already voted with their wallets, and are relatively indifferent to these cultures and their institutions of government. That neither repel or attract, while fully satisfying Western materialist wants and desires.
Lady Ga Ga’s massive imprint on Chinese popular youth culture. Okay, Hu would have us believe that this is a low moral instance of US cultural imperialism. A deformation of true/authentic Han culture, of which the CCP is the arbiter. Well, this is hogswash.
All Ms Ga Ga does is provide is a toolkit for outrageous dress sensibilities, plus a most welcome take on sexual identity/identification which is at odds with dominant Sino heterosexual patriarchy. (Not to forget her most welcome AIDS awareness bit.)
She (and I couldn’t name one of her songs if my life depended on it) simply provides a window of personal possibility, kitsch though it is, for young folk. Lowbrow instance of western cultural imperialism/slaves of the West. You have to be joking. Chinese youth simply appropriate aspects of her style to suit their own personal needs and desires. If anything, China is well and truly ready for its own healthy sexual revolution.
To be sure, what I have written above is co-joined with the trash money orientated Super Girl-type TV culture, which I jeer at and which also pisses off Mr Hu, but that can be taken up at a later date.
To recycle, music is one of the perfect conveyor or transmission belts on how we feel about cultures Other than our own. And here I am not talking about, for example, how Korean pop is embraced by diaspora Korean communities outside Seoul. That’s a given.
Despite the fact they have broken, totally crap systems and institutions of governance, think about the disproportionate musical influence exercised by countries like Jamaica, Nigeria, Senegal and poor land-locked Mali. (Even a snake pit like Somalia produces killer sounds.) These countries sell records by the ton thru independent distributorships to honkies like myself.
Uncounted in terms of sales, but majorly influential in the world of popular musical culture. Here in tubbyland I can count on about 30 hours per week of “roots’ music on govt funded radio stations per week, and could spend a year on the road trucking from one global music festival to another. To be sure, Nye’s definition of soft power need not concern itself with the nation state minnows I’ve mentioned, but these small fish punch above their weight in the cultural export department. Unlike China.
Rant over. And don’t ask for a discography. Talk to your personal trainer.