The Influence of English Mass Culture on Estonia

  • Просмотров 3290
  • Скачиваний 486
  • Размер файла 86
    Кб

The Growing Influence of English Mass Culture This article considers the influence of English mass culture on Estonia. How these issues affect Estonia, a small Baltic country, leads to a discourse on our cultural identity, and to a specific look at the effects of American mass culture. In any discussion of English (or “Western”) ideas of culture and consumerism in young peoples’ eyes, we need to focus on several issues: computer software as a carrier of Western culture and the connection between – and universal language of – Hollywood and American mass culture. It is my contention that computer software design is deeply influenced by American and Western culture, and therefore reflects its values and priorities. These very same values are

“downloaded” into cultures all around the world, embodied in the Microsoft Office suite. I believe that a language is an integral part of culture, and vice versa, so one cannot separate them without some clear effects. Language expresses, embodies, and symbolizes cultural reality: people view their language as a symbol of their social identity, and this is an especially poignant point for a country like Estonia, force-fed a diet of Russian language and culture for so many years. It is interesting how Estonians identify with their language and its uniqueness, and why we often fret about the loss of our cultural identity We crave and loathe the same things at the same time: Wanting to be more “Western” in our lifestyles, while retaining our

“Estonian” character in our languages and attitudes. Estonia is greatly influenced by English mass culture and it is definitely the youth of today who are being exploited by it. We drink Coca Cola, wear blue jeans, watch Hollywood movies, listen to American music, use Microsoft software, and eat fast food. We do all these things daily. When you visit schools in Estonia, you will find students listening to music on their CD players: it is mostly American pop music from singers like Britney Spears, Christina Aquilera, Ricky Martin, Ciara and Eminem. Everywhere you go in this small country, which used to be behind the Iron Curtain, everyone knows about Madonna, Michael Jackson, Louis Armstrong and other icons of American music. Another field where the influence of

English mass culture has been felt is fashion. Young people especially like American fashions. If you visit Tallinn, you can see many young students wearing the same brands – 96 New York jeans, Guess, Prada – that you might see in Texas or Tennessee. Is it in Kohtla-Järve or Kansas that you might hear a teenaged boy saying, “Look, I'm wearing a Tommy shirt and Polo pants?” ‘Viru Keskus’, the "American style" shopping mall in Estonia, has become very popular among young people as they may buy there any global brand. I assume that this is a ‘Western’ idea: to make young people believe that brands stand for something special, and convince them that they also will become special if they buy and wear a product that carries a certain

name. Many young people define themselves less by their social class or ethnic origin than by their personal brand set: the jeans they wear and the labels on their clothes. They try to imitate the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Young people feel that they are on the way to pursue an American Dream if they have prestigious and costly products, and hope to establish their social position through them. Yet, others think that the brands are the evil of a consumer society, enriching their corporate owners by exploiting people’s insecurities and desires; the brands represent a triumph of consumerism over human values. The older generation assumes that our nation of workaholics has become a nation of ‘shopaholics.’ Nowadays, more and more Estonian families, like