The reappearance of cultural colonialism

  In the post-war era, how does Western countries influence non-Western countries? The film Gulliver’s Travels provides a good answer. Moreover, it also depicts the history of foreign colonization by Western countries for nearly a century.
  1. Gulliver in
  Hollywood movies is a small clerk of a company in Manhattan, USA. During a trip, a boat accident happened and he drifted to Lilliput. The Lilliputian has a stable and strict social order, which is similar to the British constitutional monarchy in the 16th century in terms of institutional structure and cultural model, such as chivalry, king authority, loyalty and honor, etc. After Gulliver’s arrival, he became the hero of this Lilliputian country in a series of events, and received the support and love of the Lilliputian country from the king to the commoners. Gulliver, who is accustomed to the American life, is out of tune with this small country that is orderly and lacks vitality. Then Gulliver changed the cultural model and architectural style of Lilliput into American Manhattan style according to his own vision, and even the pure British accent of Lilliput became Americanized after Gulliver’s arrival. Under Gulliver’s transformation, the grand theater of Lilliput is no longer performing traditional plays. “Titanic” and “Star Wars” have replaced Shakespeare’s plays: the neat and standard clothing style is replaced by comfortable, natural, Replaced by loose clothing (denim, skirts, etc.) with sunglasses and accessories that are very fashionable (like the Lady Gaga trend); concerts in the square, rave crowds, confused neon signs and huge advertisements The box turned Lilliput into a completely different America. In this society that pays attention to order and hierarchy, stability and calm used to be the main themes of this society, but the once-a-year carnival has become the norm of social life in Lilliput.
  From the perspective of structuralism, the original stable order of Lilliput is abnormal, and is obtained by suppressing equality, freedom and justice. The arrival of Gulliver brought temporary chaos to Lilliput, and also provided an opportunity for the elimination of this abnormal phenomenon. Then, in a series of events such as the spreading and exposing of Gulliver’s lies, the loyalty and betrayal of Edward’s knighthood, the confrontation and war between Lilliput and Brayford, and the establishment and destruction of the princess’ engagement, Gulliver showed his skills. , control the situation. Thus, the chaotic order was stabilized, and the unbalanced order regained its balance. But how long can this balance last? In the clash of loose traditions and new torrents of ideas, can this social and institutional structure stand up to another blow?   2
Gulliver is a Lilliputian
The members outside the establishment, he came from another world, destined to return to the place where he lived – the United States. It took the United States more than two hundred years of nation-building to achieve the stability of today’s social order, and its values ​​and cultural models have long since become part of American consciousness. (However, it is doubtful that when Gulliver was still a small clerk in Manhattan, why did the core American values ​​not become Gulliver’s driving force? Can it be shown that the American values ​​with freedom, equality and justice as the core, Can no longer be used as a positive force to urge Americans to move forward? The solid structure of the United States has suppressed many Gulliver-like crowds, resulting in a demand for order breaking?) Therefore, for Lilliput, he is only a Floating clouds. However, for the future of Lilliput, Gulliver may be a black cloud. What he has brought about is short-term changes and a temporary balance. What awaits Lilliputian will be changes and revolutions after the loosening of the structure. Maybe Lilliputian will embark on a path that Western countries have taken, but the price will be heavy. .
  Therefore, from the perspective of the social process of Lilliput and Gulliver’s influence, the film “Gulliver’s Travels” is a reappearance of American colonialism. Compared with the past under the guise of Disneyland, it is a naked cultural colonialism. Reappearance, and the Hollywood film “Gulliver’s Travels” has become a complicity in American cultural colonialism, which manifests in the following aspects:
  First, American centralism. As a petty citizen in the United States, Gulliver is only a member of the mail room of a certain company. He has neither prominent status nor made special contributions. He is almost an “unknown person” in American society. But it was this “unknown man” who, when he arrived in another country with a different system and cultural model, became the hero and guardian of this country. From Gulliver’s perspective, the Lilliputian system is feudal and backward, the society lacks vitality, and the people lack freedom and equality. It can be said that Lilliput is to the United States what backwardness is to civilization. This arrogant, conceited American-centrism speaks for itself.
  Second, American colonialism. Gulliver’s transformation of the country from the physical level to the “enlightenment” of the spiritual level (for example, he taught Ho Ruixu to put aside the shackles of authority and hierarchy, bravely pursue the princess and realize his own happiness), all reflect the representative of Gulliver. American cultural colonization. American culture is the representative of “freedom, justice, and equality”, which are the core values ​​proclaimed in the American Declaration of Independence. As a spokesperson for American culture, when he was in American society, Gulliver did not reflect this core value, but abide by his low self-esteem and abide by his humble position. I didn’t get any promotion opportunities, nor did I have the courage to pursue what I love. When he arrived in Lilliput, the core values ​​of freedom, equality and natural human rights became Gulliver’s identity label and logic of action. This makes him act as a great enlightener, transmits these great ideas to the “ignorant, ignorant, backward” Lilliput, and activates the vitality of Lilliput. But, ironically, this core value begins with Gulliver’s lies, such as his claim to the Lilliputian royal family and citizens that he is the president of the United States, that there is a beautiful and noble princess who is very popular in the United States National respect, and so on. From Foucault’s discourse analysis and postcolonial criticism, we can see that the establishment of the “centralization” of the West is usually based on the “marginalization” of the non-West, especially Asia, Africa and Latin America. In the past two centuries, the colonization of other countries by Western society has been achieved not only through the mode of force, but also through the infiltration of cultural colonial forces.
  After the Cold War, this method of cultural colonization resorted to Hollywood films, music, books, theories, television, education, awards, food culture (KFc/McD0nald’s) and other levels. Eastern countries. As a result, the eastern countries unknowingly agreed with this cultural model and used it as the reference object of “modernity”. Scholars such as Spivak, Said, and Hall Baba have made detailed and profound analyses on this, which are not listed here. It should be pointed out that the film “Gulliver’s Travels” is a presentation and penetration of the West from colonialism to post-colonialism, and this penetration goes beyond the screen and into real life. For example, when we watched this film, we did not realize the infiltration of this kind of cultural colonization, but instead applauded Gulliver’s “lovers get married” and his promotion. I think that the meaning of cultural criticism may begin to speak at this time.
  Third, American utopianism. With the help of this film, the moral concern and value publicity of the American society for different systems and different civilizations are revealed. It is believed that through the propaganda and praise of American core values, the chaos can be eliminated and the peaceful evolution of other countries can be achieved. Isn’t this the expression of utopianism? At the end of the film, Gulliver and his Darcy begin to dance for victory and eliminate the forces of evil, and the lyrics sing the good wishes of “eliminate war and live in peace”. The people of Lilliput are united in an atmosphere of peace and joy at this time, pushing Gulliver’s victory to a climax. At this time, Gulliver and his Darcy also left Lilliput in the tragic farewell of Lilliput.
  Fourth, American hegemony. Gulliver achieved the balance of Lilliput in the form of a war in the middle and sudden, and he not only destroyed the mechanized General Edward, he defeated not only the hostile forces of the Bradford people, but It is a set of social systems, a set of cultural models, and a civilized ecology. I think, according to what Gulliver did in the film, only by eliminating all enemies of different systems, civilizations, and beliefs in the existing world can we completely eliminate war and achieve peace? However, this elimination of differences , the pursuit of a unified flat and consumerized civilization will be our “big” same “society?
  Hollywood film “Gulliver’s Travels” is based on British writer Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” adaptation. The original tells about the British surgeon Gulliver’s miraculous overseas travel, which involves Lilliput , adult country, flying country, horse country, etc., as well as the description of the yahoo population.
  Behind the witty, bizarre and fairy-tale stories, Swift’s ridicule and criticism of Britain are actually hidden. In the novel, Swift expresses his critique of partisanship in Britain, a poignant satire of British history of madness, jealousy, greed, and hypocrisy. For example, in the Great Lord, Gulliver bragged to the king about the power of British artillery. , can make people’s corpses spread all over the field and blood flow into rivers, and hope that this kind of arms manufacturing technology can be dedicated to the king. The king was amazed: “He is such a humble and incompetent little worm! He has such a cruel idea!” So the king regards Gulliver’s compatriots as “the most harmful of the little poisonous insects crawling on the ground in nature”. In addition, the novel also expresses the author’s various worries about modern technology, alluding to the author’s concern about the problems brought about by the expansion of capitalism at that time. Criticism of this kind of malpractice.
  Adapted from Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”, the Hollywood movie of the same name, cuts the original book, rewrites Gulliver’s 18th-century social background in the original book, and places it in the 21st century American metropolitan society. , showing Gulliver’s identity as a messenger of civilization and the role of a spokesperson for American culture everywhere, and in sharp contrast with the British feudal order of Lilliput. Around Gulliver’s experience in Lilliput, it highlights Gulliver’s reformers And the Enlightenment image and American values, consumerism and way of life. In fact, this arrogant American centrism is very suspicious.
  Where the novel’s text intersects with the Hollywood film is Gulliver’s experience living in Lilliput and getting involved in the conflict between the two Lilliputs. The part that the text is separated from in the film is: Gulliver never reformed Lilliputian in line with his own wishes and values ​​from beginning to end. Instead, he respected the social norms and cultural traditions of Lilliput. own behavior; what the film highlights is precisely Gulliver’s cultural transformation project. By showing Gulliver, the great reformer, the “Gospel of American culture” brought to Lilliput, it shows Gulliver’s “humanity”. From the narrative point of view of
  the novel text, Swift is standing in defense of the Irish nation, against oppression and colonization from the United Kingdom. Swift is known for his poignant writing and integrity. He refused to accept honors and awards from the British government, and in the novel he named and criticized the British ruling measures, political struggles and colonial practices. In the Hollywood film adaptation, Gulliver’s identity became a modern citizen from the United States. He travels through a country with a tightly ordered and relatively closed monarchy, a system that mirrors 18th-century England. Through the perspective of American citizen Gulliver, the film mocks the isolation, feudalism and backwardness of Lilliput. In terms of the object of criticism, the text and the film have similarities, but the arguments of the two are essentially different. The object of the text criticism is the British colonial rule policy and the greed, material desire and exploitation under the capitalist industrial civilization: the film boasted It is the superiority of American culture, the modernity of capitalist civilization, and the enrichment of American consumer culture and lifestyle. For example, the Hollywood blockbuster staged by the Little People’s National Theater, the miniature Manhattan Street and other places built with the help of Gulliver The roaring pop music, etc. Through the disparity between Gulliver and the Lilliputian nationals in appearance, there is a hint of cultural pros and cons. This is the post-colonial representation of the Hollywood movie “Gulliver’s Travels”.
  From the textual form of Gulliver’s Travels in the 18th century to the adaptation of Hollywood films in the 21st century, it shows the change of Western colonialism from old-fashioned colonialism to cultural colonialism, which is accompanied by the internal transfer and competition of the status of Western colonialism What happened is marked by the establishment and influence of the current US superpower status.
  Western colonialism since modern times has generally gone through four stages: emergence, development, imperialism and neo-colonialism. In the first three stages, the implementation of colonialism was dominated by brutal and tough colonial means such as force and violence, supplemented by cultural means. The United Kingdom is the suzerain of the old colonialism. Since defeating the Netherlands in the 17th century and becoming a maritime hegemon, the United Kingdom has used its strong naval strength and strong ships to occupy the East Indies such as Jamaica, Barbados and other islands and parts of Asia and North America. important area. Ireland was Britain’s “first colony” (Engels). During Swift’s time, the United Kingdom had been suppressing the development of Ireland, resulting in the stagnation of the Irish economy, the decline of industry and commerce, and the extreme poverty of the people. Swift has deep feelings for Ireland, and his Gulliver’s Travels alludes to early British colonialism. For example, in the war against another Lilliputian country, Bleifsku, Gulliver captured most of the enemy’s ships, forcing the Bleifsgu country to send envoys to seek peace. However, Emperor Lilliput was greedy and demanded Gulliver to capture all the remaining ships of the other party and make the country a province of Lilliput, which alluded to the British attempt to expand by military and force. Colonial disk ambitions.
  After the Second World War, many Asian, African and Latin American countries achieved victories in anti-colonialism and wars for national independence, ending more than a hundred years of colonial rule in the Western world. The old-fashioned and brutal colonial methods of Western colonialists have also temporarily withdrawn from the stage of history. However, the colonial nature of Western capitalism has not been eliminated, but a latent and implicit way has been adopted, through soft means such as cultural penetration, the promotion of consumption patterns, and the enlargement of the beautiful picture of Western society. They attempt to establish the superiority of Western culture in the new generation of third world countries through the subtle influence of Western culture (film and television, music, fashion, catering, consumption methods and even living habits, etc.), thus forming the stage of neo-colonialism (there are also Scholars refer to this stage as postcolonialism), or the stage of cultural colonialism, in which the United States is the representative of cultural colonialism.
  After the disintegration of the former Soviet Union, the United States became the world’s number one power, replacing the British colonial suzerainty status. Cultural propaganda and export, which served as auxiliary means in the old colonial phase, became the main colonial means at this time. However, neocolonialism did not cancel the brutal way of force and military strikes, but launched military strikes locally and carried out cultural colonization globally, thus making neocolonialism appear hybrid. For example, the United States has launched a so-called “just” war against the Middle East countries in a unique way of “carrot and stick”, and has successively launched direct military strikes against Yugoslavia, Kuwait, Afghanistan and the current Libya, or indirect military resources. Support: On the other hand, through the economic activities of multinational companies and cultural output such as film and television, music, fashion, food, etc., to promote American culture to the outside world, and to establish awards and research programs based on the United States to attract global intellectuals and human resources resources, thus forming the pillars of cultural colonization of Western state regimes and multinational corporations. American economist Sunkel once pointed out: “Transnational corporations play an important role in influencing the nature and activities of the (developing) economy, society and politics. It can be said that they are a kind of fifth column.”
  Via Swift Comparing special novels with Hollywood films, we find that the latter choose and tailor the text in line with its values. The text-based transformation of Hollywood directors, like Gulliver’s transformation of Lilliput in the film, appears aggressive. For example, Gulliver in the text of the novel did not try to change the way of life in Lilliput, nor did he try to change the political system and cultural concept of Lilliput. Live under the rules and consciously restrain your behavior. Although Gulliver also realizes that many rules and regulations are unreasonable, the protagonist has always maintained a high degree of sobriety, and did not try to transform the other party according to his own ideas – even if he has this ability. On the other hand, Gulliver in Hollywood movies blindly remodeled Lilliputian in accordance with his own values ​​and aesthetic concepts, which is the embodiment of cultural colonization.
  It should be pointed out that under the current globalization background, countries carry out multi-level exchanges in the fields of economy, education, sports and culture (such as official, non-governmental, academic, technical, scientific research, etc.) Values ​​and beliefs can be mutually respected and understood through dialogue, which promotes mutual communication and eliminates disputes. The cultural dominance or cultural identity that emerges in this dialogue and exchange is not cultural colonization or postcolonialism. For example, all countries currently agree to fight terrorism under the framework of equality, respect and dialogue, and advocate pacifism and environmentalism. No matter which country proposes it first, they all meet the common needs of the common interests of mankind. However, due to the unbalanced development of the economic, political and military strength of various countries, the discourse power of various countries in the dialogue will inevitably be unbalanced and even aphasia. Those who attempt to monopolize the right to speak, in cultural exchanges and economic activities, attempt to discriminate, suppress or even rewrite other cultures, incorporate other cultures into the transformation process of their own, establish their central position in world affairs, and form other cultures and their own. Cultural marginalization, these acts of cultural hegemony are manifestations of cultural colonialism.