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The Last Place

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the word-from-our-sponsor dept.

Television 489

angela morgenstern writes "Buddhist Bhutan was the last place on earth to legalize television. Trading traditional practices for daytime soaps and WWF, many fear that western influence will trample the culture." A whole set of articles about the effect of American television on one of the most remote places on earth - it's official, there is no escape from American "culture".

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kung foo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031266)

bow.

btw, trools are lamerz

No escape? (5, Funny)

warmcat (3545) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031268)

Sure there is, turn off your TV, prise your kids out of the kid-shaped depression in the sofa and do other things that don't require you to be passive and watch ads to give you a value system.

Re:No escape? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031296)

"...and do other things that don't require you to be passive..."

I thought being passive was the whole idea behind being a monk!

Re:No escape? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031362)

A vaule system where the almighty buck is held in the highest regard. Hey, I want a system like that, then we only have to pretend we care about people, animals, and the earth.

You want to know the main problem I have with Americans? Its a lit cigarette, not a "lighted" one - coloUr has got a U in it, and "normalcy" isn't a fucking word!! The word you are looking for is normality.

Damn Yankies!

Wow (1)

GiorgioG (225675) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031269)

How did this actually get posted on /. ?

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031282)

/me wonders too...
"What's the difference between Yoghurt & the US? Yoghurt has culture"

Re:Wow (1)

jini (153221) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031366)

OK it is low tech, but any sort of crap appears on slashdot these days.

Re:Wow (1)

Hrshgn (595514) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031378)

And just like in yoghurt there needs to be growth for some time until you can really call it 'culture'.

Re:Wow (1)

hazyshadeofwinter (529262) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031382)

Possibly because it's, oh I dunno, thought provoking? If that's not enough for you, just mentally add on some extremely tenuous connection to geek culture and pretend the byline sez "Jon Katz."

Thought here: What if a society like that could go from no electronic media to ubiquitous Internet access? Would they actually use the more open medium to tell their own stories, sing their own songs, propagate their own culture? Or would they just replace the mindless WWF/soap opera/Pantene ad parroting with "I wanna Linux Penguin", or worse yet, "I wanna FREE PHD and an ENLARGED PENIS!"

Re:Wow (1)

GiorgioG (225675) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031484)

Well, it might be thought provoking to the average joe blow idiot. If you actually knew anything about the world's poorer regions, you'd know that:

The United Nations and World Bank use $1-$2 (PPP) per day as an international poverty line, indicating a lack of access to basic sustenance. In 1998 1.2 billion people had consumption levels less that $1 per day and 2.8 billion less than $2 per day.

American influence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031270)

Americans just doesn't get it, most simply don't understand how good they have it.

Re:American influence. (1, Funny)

dvanduzer (563848) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031280)

Americans just doesn't get it, most simply don't understand how good they have it.

45 cable television channels, featuring everything from the BBC to Baywatch, all for about $5 a month

How good we have it? I would *kill* for such low cable bills!

FIRST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031271)

FIRST POST

I hope (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031273)

Im not the last post.

WWF (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031274)

What does the world wildlife fund have to do with any of this?

"...all for about $5 a month." (3, Interesting)

Erik_ (183203) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031287)

In the report it says : "Rinzy has hooked up this secluded society to 45 cable television channels, featuring everything from the BBC to Baywatch, all for about $5 a month: the price of a bag of red chillies."
Is that the cost of a bag of red chillies in the United States ? How much buying power is $5 in Bhutan ? So these people get to watch adverts for cars/food/luxuries that they will not be able to purchase.

Re:"...all for about $5 a month." (1)

jamieo (22197) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031380)

I can't say exactly how far $5 goes in Bhutan, but I've been to neighbouring countries and can tell you $5 is way too much to buy a bag of chillies (unless you mean a donkey load of them) and will go a long way.

For comparison I hired 2 people - a guide and a porter - for $11/day for 3 weeks. By local standards this was a very respectable wage. We are talking national average incomes of the order of $4 per week ($200 per year - yes that's no typo!).

So it will be only the rich people who can afford $5/month for such TV access.

TV--the great equalizer. (2)

quintessent (197518) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031466)

So the rich will raise children on WWF, Martha Steward, and boy bands. After a generation or so, rich IQs will be cut in half, and the poor will begin to replace them in the high-paying jobs until they too can afford TV...

Re:"...all for about $5 a month." (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031528)

You were OK with hiring these people at such a miserable wage? Why didn't you pay them for real? $11 per hour for instance? Western cheapskate.

Re:"...all for about $5 a month." (3, Informative)

laa (457196) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031391)

...with the risk of being unbearably dull...

The GNP per capita [ecoworld.com] 1995 for US seems to be $26 062, ranking at 12th postition. Bhutan, again, is 145th with a GNP per capita of $172. So, I suspect five bucks is a huge portion of a normal monthly salary.

Re:"...all for about $5 a month." (3, Funny)

Zarf (5735) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031509)

So these people get to watch adverts for cars/food/luxuries that they will not be able to purchase.

Sounds like TV in Alaska.

Re:"...all for about $5 a month." (3, Funny)

io333 (574963) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031516)

So these people get to watch adverts for cars/food/luxuries that they will not be able to purchase.

Exactly. And plenty of folks there are going to want to purchase those things. And they're going to realize that they need to quit hanging out in the monestary so often, or meditating, or whatever other unproductive things they do and GET A JOB.

And in a few years they're gonna be waking up early every morning and going to a job they hate and busting their butt every friggin' day, just like you & me, to get all that stuff.

Welcome to the west.

they will be less affected than is thought (3, Insightful)

Zemran (3101) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031288)

I have only just got back from SEasia and could not find much to watch on their TV as they have their own programming that I found terrible. They have a good strong culture of their own and I think it will prevail. I had to resort to MTVasia and the BBC world. Even MTVasia is their own bubble pop rather than the stuff we are used to. As the tube moves into Bhutan I think it will be asian TV that goes with it and they will not get this expected burst of western "culture" when it arrives.

American "culture" ? is that an oxymoron ?

Re:they will be less affected than is thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031352)

I have only just got back from SEasia and could not find much to watch on their TV as they have their own programming that I found terrible. Even MTVasia is their own bubble pop rather than the stuff we are used to.

Not find much? I'm from Sweden, and I have lived in Thailand for the last three years. The range of american shows and movies is far superior to that of networks in Sweden (and we only watch American stuff). I've never missed out on a single show that has been mentioned here on Slashdot over the years, for example. I think you must have stayed in cheap hotels, with no cable connections.

As for their locally produced shows, they are quite the same as American daytime TV (I speak the language), and they are mostly shown during the day. In the evenings, there is a more serious tone, and lots of American movies and Hong Kong Action (suff from Jackie Chan & co that you've never even heard of).

And as for bubble pop, I don't know. I'm a raver, and depending on the channel you choose, you can completely avoid bubble pop (which is pretty omnipotent all over the world anyway - buoeh for boybands). There are channels with nothing but techno, ambient, trip hop, and so on, much of it locally produced at top international standards.

I'd say that South East Asia is not the arsehole you'd suggest. Just because you don't understand the language doesn't mean that what they say is shit.

Re:they will be less affected than is thought (1)

australopithecus (215774) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031450)

Even though the programming that is shown in SEAsia and is localized, it is all based on the idea of emulating western TV. For example, the comapny I have been working for all summer has launched a channel in China where one of the programs is, for all intents and purposes, a chinese version of "Friends".
TV as we know it is by and large a western phenomenon. On the site, there is a testimonial about what the kid like to watch. The description is really quite similar to the processed U.S. soap opera crap.
Even if the programs that are playing are completely produced and aired in one country, the impact provided from advertisments will be significant, especially to a country that has never had TV before.

"hi, id like a k2 size fries, and a dragon sized buddha burger to go"

Ah yes! (1)

Lucky_Pierre (175635) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031289)

And you really believe we only watch American TV shows here in Asia? Typical Anti-American Euro-trash ranting....

Re:Ah yes! (2)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031444)

Your comment would make a lot more sense if it actually were Europeans making the comments. Check the facts a bit. The site hosting the article is PBS, which is American. And the people writing the stories are Americans. So no Europeans here!

Re:Ah yes! (1)

australopithecus (215774) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031465)

well, if it isnt dubbed or subtitled American (or British) programming, its a local language program based on the same sitcom/drama/soap opera paradigm.
The Hindi version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" was one of the highest rated programs ever in India.

Re:Ah yes! (0)

AmInParis (458817) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031489)

Typical Anti-American Euro-trash ranting....

Thank you for expressing my exact sentiments. I'm so sick of this BS the whole world gives America about their "culture". I'm tired of seeing "Yankee go home!" scrawled on American movie posters in the metro (as if the individual had any idea what he was talking about but says this because he thinks he is somehow "better"). Here are a couple of things to think about.

The last time I checked, most countries were sovereign and not controlled by the U.S. As far as I know, U.S. businesses do not hold a gun to the heads of foreign governments or their businesses to force them to accept American products/services. If you want to complain, do so to your local government and businesses for allowing U.S. interests in.

American businesses are in business for one reason - to make money! When America opens a business overseas it expects to make money. Who do you think is buying their products? That's right - you and your countrymen. So if you're looking for someone to blame, blame yourself and your friends. If you didn't support the business, it would dry up and blow away (cf. Burger King in France).

American business creates foreign business. A quick flip of the tv remote shows that about half of the things on in Paris are old (and some new) American shows that have been dubbed. Better still, the dubbing houses that are handling this are usually just a few miles down the road in Neuilly. Do you think they want to get rid of American products?

Anti-American sentiment is chic right now. You can be a slack-assed, don't wanna work, socialist but hey, don't be so down on yourself. You can blame the Americans! One of my favorite examples of this is the French farmer who was jailed for damaging a McDonald's with his tractor. He was protesting American Imperialism. Funny thing was that most of the product used there is from France (including the low-grade meat). That particular franchise was also owned in France. Moreover, who do you think gets jobs from that McDonald's? Local people!

If you don't like American business in your area, don't support it. Better yet, get off your ass, try working a real work week, do a good job for once, try to keep strikes to less than one a year, and BUILD A BETTER BUSINESS. "If you build it, they will come." American products fill a hole. If YOU can fill the hole better, you will drive them out. Until then, shut the hell up.

Thanks for making the point (1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031510)

You jackass.

You can be a slack-assed, don't wanna work, socialist but hey, don't be so down on yourself. You can blame the Americans!

This is exactly the problem. You and your fellow countrymen have no understanding of other cultures, you don't want to have any understanding of other cultures, and you will never have an understanding of other cultures. Hey, they don't like America?! They must be socialists! Like you have any idea what Socialism is (Hint: Not your McCarthyist, Red Baiting, Commie-Under-The-Table American view of Socialism). Like you have any idea of why American Imperalism is bad. All you care about is money, and making the rest of the world as much like America as you can so that you don't have to concern yourself with that whole pesky "other cultures" thing.

The reason America bashing is "chic" is because of your and your fellow countrymans ignorance, self centeredness and introspectiveness. Wake up! The world exists outside of the US of A, and its different! Stop trying to make us like you!

Re:Ah yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031511)

"Euro-trash"? Surely you noticed that the USA is on a different *continent* from Europe?

And just like all of Asia is not a single culture, neither is Europe.

What's with the quotes? (1, Flamebait)

glennrrr (592457) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031290)

I'll put The Simpson's and other high points of American culture against any other "culture" past or present.

Re:What's with the quotes? (2)

mike_sucks (55259) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031322)

<Nelson>Hah Har! Loser!</Nelson>

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031404)

The Simpson's...American culture

The world council rests its case.

Re:What's with the quotes? (2)

tunah (530328) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031439)

Um... the simpsons spends half its shows making fun of american culture. I love the simpsons, but there must be a better example.

"No Escape from American 'culture'?" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031291)

Bullshit. You don't wanna watch it, you don't have to. Pull the plug, turn off the TV, don't buy it in the first place. Meanwhile, I'll be content to indulge myself in the fine quality of American TV, thank you very much.

*flip* Rerun...
*flip* Crap...
*flip* Crappy rerun...

Avoiding US Cultural Imperialism. (3, Funny)

tjensor (571163) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031292)

it's official, there is no escape from American "culture".
Sure there is. Here are a set of simple instructions.
1) Locate point of entry for electricity in to your house.
2) Disconnect Electricity (some car is advised at this point). 3) Locate all telephones in house.
4) Smash telephones with Hammer, or other large heavy object (possibly your now useless VCR).
5) Locate large wads of cotton wool.
6) Insert cotton wool in to ears (in case of passing boombox).
7) Never leave house.

Never mind Pax Americana, fear Pax AOL / Time Warner.

Excuse me... (1)

Peridriga (308995) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031293)

*cough*...

WWF [wwf.org] is not that same (or at least was but, not now) as WWE [wwe.com] ..

Are the Buddahists are worried about the "SMACKDOWN" being laid down to a Panda bear..
Nah.. /. Editors just forget little things like big corporate lawsuits...

Re:Excuse me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031343)

Is the world wildlife federation a big corporation then? (They certainly act like it!)

Culture?!? (1)

kraven_73 (586236) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031297)

Considering the age of the american culture which isn't a very long time, one van debate whether or not america has any culture at al, considering the long lasting culture from europe and not to forget asia. Not to say what is to prefer, the old or the new. greetings from the old world. :)

Re:Culture?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031311)

"one van debate whether or not america has any culture at al,"

It is not debatable at all. FACT: The United States has no culture. I am getting the distinct impression you are posting drunk for some reason.

Re:Culture?!? (1)

kraven_73 (586236) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031483)

maybe you are a little narrow minded. In my opinion everything is open for discussion. You don't have to agree of course, but mmhh..then you would be in a discussion with me. :)

Hmm (1, Troll)

af_robot (553885) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031300)

What is so "wrong" with American culture? Why everybody hates it?! If our culture can so easily break your own traditions from usual TV broadcasts then you should blame only yourself, not Americans. And if you don't like American Rationalism then welcome back to medieval age...

Re:Hmm (2, Funny)

velco (521660) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031335)

What is so "wrong" with American culture? Why everybody hates it?! If our culture can so easily break your own traditions from usual TV broadcasts then you should blame only yourself, not Americans. And if you don't like American Rationalism then welcome back to medieval age...

Nothing's wrong with American culture. Nor with the USA "culture", it's just that people outside USA don't call WWF, McDonalds and The Simpsons "culture".

~velco

Re:Hmm (1)

af_robot (553885) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031376)

Well, i don't like WWF, but what is wrong with McDonalds and The Simpsons?!
There are some kinds of fast-food restaurants in every country and McDonalds is not SO bad.
The Simpsons is just plain damn funny for everyone who has similar cultural background!
Yes, if you was born in Islamic country then i'm sure you wont find it funny...but you HAVE the choice, if you don't like, don't watch it, don't eat at McDonalds, don't read USA news sites - nobody forces you..

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031435)

I can't wait for the arabic simpsons. I would learn arabic just to watch that.

Re:Hmm (0)

tahirbond (597679) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031449)

Yes, if you was born in Islamic country then i'm sure you wont find it funny...

Why's that?

cultural memetics (2)

shomon2 (71232) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031485)

Yes, I'm not "American" (well I am, I'm south american, but in the states people take that name to mean them. In Chile, "America" means the continent). It's not about it being right or wrong, but it's the fact that it influences other people's culture. And the point that you can then argue is wether those other cultures should survive, be preserved, or if they are subject to "survival of the fittest".

As far as I'm concerned, one of my cultures was destroyed when the spaniards invaded northern chile and bolivia, and huge areas of that culture are now gone. But even though I've never even spent more than a couple of days in the places where my ancestors lived, I can still pick up a book or search the internet and learn about it. So yes, preserve it, but no, don't force people to keep it while they want to watch WWF, eat at McDonalds or whatever else.I don't want to impose my judgement on that. Otherwise you're teaching people to see their culture as obligatory...

Re:cultural memetics (0)

Flowers_By_Irene (598799) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031541)

I think that sometimes cultures do require and deserve a little protectionism as witnessed in the report. Despite the "benign paternalism" practised in Bhutan, 95 percent of people who travel abroad to get an education return - presumably because they like it. Is this matched anywhere on the Indian sub-continet? Ultimately cultures are vulnerable because they generally don't represent a revenue stream (unless it's Disney merchandise) so they have no lobbying influence. It's rare to see a country have so much culturally-based legislation and I think it is a good thing.

Re:Hmm (3, Interesting)

jamieo (22197) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031353)

Are you happy with US "culture" as it is today? By that term I do not mean real US culture (there is some), but the jokingly termed "culture" many non-US people label for things like Disney, Coke, WWF, etc.

Travelling around the US you see that such companies have had, what I believe, to be a very negative effect. Everywhere you go it all looks the same, tastes the same, hears the same (same music industry manufactured "pop"), etc. Local and regional flavour is lost. This is great if you like Taco Bell, only drinking Coke and listening to Britney. But there is a lot more to life than that!

Why is it popular in other countries? Well, 2 reasons:

1) The *good* thing about the US - **freedom**. You live a very privelidged life compared to many people of the world. Many people of the world see the US and freedom as being very related things. So when they are given a bit of freedom they have previously lacked, they gravitate towards such things. Think as a teenager and how you behaved once given freedom from parents.

2) This is a not so good thing about the US - **money**. Consider the situation in Bhutan as an example. At the moment there are local (very small) companies that make soft drinks - these won't be copies of Coke, etc., but will be genuine different soft drinks you've never experienced. As Bhutan opens itself up, Coca Cola will move in and either set up a new company to manufacture their drinks, or buy existing ones. People will buy their drinks first of all because of #1 above - it's new, it's cool, etc. Within a very short time, there will be no local soft drinks made. The reason for this will *not* be because Coke is better and people only want it. It will be because the Coca Cola company have the financial muscle to completely control the soft drinks industry of that country. This is not good.

#2 applies to things much more than soft drinks, TV, etc. When you're talking about 3rd world countries and things like agricultural seed supplies and strictly controlled genetically engineered crops, this can have a very bad effect. It's very realistic for companies akin to Monsanto to completely control who areas of agricultural production in these kinds of countries.

So if you believe "raionalism" is #2 above, and this is a good thing, you can surely extrapolate this to meaning there will eventually be only 1 of anything in the world - a single soft drink we all only buy, a single type of car, etc. I don't think this will be a nice place to live.

Left uncontrolled, #2 will eventually remove much of the choice and freedom in the world, thereby harming the greatest thing about the US, #1.

Re:Hmm (5, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031476)

I think the problem with American culture is that it tends suck you in and forget about the others.

Let me give you an example. In the US there is a wine company that sells itself as Cabris, which is actually a region in France that is know to sell a good white wine. Well the American company took advantage of this to "con" people. The French region on the other hand has problems now because people get confused by the marketing message.

The problem of American culture is not the American's themselves, but the companies that take advantage of situations. Corporations in their quest for profits and bigger market share do not care a rat's butt about culture. Just more money. And in the past that has not been a problem. But now in a global economy that is a problem. Since it means some things will be lost, even though they should not be.

The American corporations are just too damm efficient at taking over the world. Result is hatred. Whenever you see people hating America, do you see people hating individual American's? Nope just icons, flag, McDonalds, jeans, etc.

I think that the challenge of this century will not be tech, or political, but social. This century will be the century when humanity is tested to see if we can truly live together! Or if we are doomed to be fighting each other. We have the technology to destroy each other and we have the means to live together.

Re:Hmm (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031501)

Uh-huh...like any American knows what Cabris is.

Waitasec. (3, Funny)

vavenger (177469) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031302)

Bhutan's top 10 cable channels. [pbs.org]

They mean to tell me that they get HBO in friggin' Bhutan? I can't even get it in Canada!

Re:Waitasec. (1)

Kwikymart (90332) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031326)

You are forgetting the nicest, most magical four letter acronym of them all: CRTC.

Re:Waitasec. (1)

hazyshadeofwinter (529262) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031417)

You (and the parent) need to either: get a *real* sattelite (not one of those crappy little Bell Expressvu dishes, the ten-foot-wide ones) or stop caring and p2p whatever good shows Canadian cable misses/runs 1+ season behind (Sopranos, Osbournes, Oz, what else?) Or move to a really remote small town with non-Rogers/Shaw cable. I've seen US-only channels like HBO, etc., in places like Ymir, BC and Rainbow Lake, AB, where your "cable" is probably from some Bob or Doug with the aforementioned sattelite setup. Oh, or you could stop caring about TV and make /. your sole source of entertainment.

Re:Waitasec. (1)

kuiken (115647) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031338)

And ESPN, now if i only could buy MtDew there cheaper then here (.be), I am moveing!

note: Mt dew is not sold in europe, except in some American style shops (closest i can find is 100k away) where you pay about 1$ a can

Spread of US "culture" (5, Informative)

jamieo (22197) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031303)

Actually this is a bit more accurate than you may think. Recently I spent a month trekking in Nepal - a nearby country to Bhutan and one that has only recently (30 years) opened itself to foregin influences.

The popularity of WWF, even high in the remote mountain villages, was not something I expected. Then again, this is usually the only "culture" the US exports.

I also visited the country about 10 years earlier after a few months backpacking through India. For around 3 months I travelled and didn't once see a bottle/can of Coca Cola (or derivative) - it was all local soft drinks that were available. At the time it was a refreshing change, and gave you a much more local flavour.

On my more recent trip you could *only* get Coca Cola soft drinks (Coke, Sprite, Fanta, etc.), even high in the mountains a week's travel from the nearest road. OK, they were locally manufactured (under license) and tasted different (the Fanta was nice!), but it was something that got in the way of emersing yourself in a completely different culture. As for the locals themselves, there seemed to be no benefit whatsoever for them having "Coke" soft drinks compared to the local ones before them.

Ho hum, roll on the Disneyfication of the planet.

Re:Spread of US "culture" (2, Interesting)

Zemran (3101) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031385)

I agree that there are stacks of Coke/Fanta bottles but you can always ask for something different if you want the "local" flavour. I preferred to ask for a Watermellon shake. They use the inside of a watermelon, liquidised with ice. It is really simple and a great drink costing 10cents (up to 70 cents if you are in a hotel).

I think a more interesting report will be "how the marketting men got on" in 5 years time. Can they really understand a culture so different ? Bhutan is classified as one of the poorest countries but there is very little real poverty. It is hard for us to relate to a country that does not need money, so we call them poor. We think of poverty as not having a TV, extreme poverty as not having food. So how do you classify poverty in a country where food is there on the trees all year round? Where people happily feed a stranger just because he is passing at meal time? Where people will work for no wages because those around them will look after them? I do agree that their culture will lose from TV but I think we have far more to learn from them. The children in Bhutan already wear t-shirts and trainers so this is not a big step but it is a step further away from the beauty of what they had.

Re:Spread of US "culture" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031504)

> I preferred to ask for a Watermellon shake

Just make sure the watermelon is fresh and it isn't the rainy season, water borne diseases can play hell with your digestion.

In some cases, Fanta etc might be safer.

Clasification for Bhutan (2)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031543)

pure and uncorrupt, just like a lot of africa etc ..... a hundred and a bit years ago.

As a gross overstatement Africa hasn't become poor, it's become greedy.

My name is cmdrtaco (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031310)

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IBM and the Sign of the Beast (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031312)

To understand how 666 relates to this discussion, one needs to explore
technology. One pertinent contributor to this technology is the
International Business Machines Corporation. IBM developed a laser method
of information transfer that has now become universally accepted. Lasers are
used for many different applications in society today, such as measuring
distances, detecting structural flaws, determining straightness, and so
forth. You can see the IBM system at your local supermarket quickly reading
prices and controlling inventory as it prints out a list of all purchased
items. Since checkers no longer have to punch keys on a register, check-out
time and errors are reduced. This system also provides the shopper with an
itemized receipt. That receipt information is stored in a central computer,
which keeps inventory and indicates what products the store should order, as
well as which products should no longer be carried.

But the use of automation is going considerably further. In fact, in Fresno,
California, one of eight regional test cities, a new computer system called
Behavior Scan gives shoppers a bar code card that is read at each purchase.
The computer then keeps a detailed list of all purchases made by a family,
including brands and quantity of each product. This same computer is also
attached to the user's home television set to monitor what is being watched.
It then selects commercials to be shown to that customer to affect his
specific buying habits. While most customers claim that they are not
affected by these commercials, the advertising companies have spent a lot of
money on research proving otherwise. Is this the start of a more modern
version of George Orwell's "1984," the complete control depicted in Vance
Packard's 'The Hidden Persuaders' ? Certainly, computers are powerful and
indispensable tools. Thanks to computers, paychecks are deposited
automatically into checking and savings accounts at predefined rates while
many bills and loans are automatically paid on time every month. The system
works so well that many institutions give a discount on loans and insurance
payments if automatic payment is used (they are more confident that they
will be paid and on time). This can convenientiy save time, postage, and
worry. The world is positioned to facilitate the ever growing requirements
for increased automation and convenience.

The convenience of computers is everywhere. Even a simple inexpensive $3
watch contains a computer. No longer does it merely tell time; it also can
add and subtract, keep time in three different zones, give the day and the
date, and beep at predetermined intervals. Computerized voices in fancy cars
warn you if you have not fastened your seat belt, that your oil is low, or
that you are almost out of fuel. The proliferation of computers has created
a strong dependence on them, for real need and pure convenience. The average
American's name is accessed 35 times a day by computer, and this is only the
beginning as we become plugged into the ever-growing system.

Our credit card system is also very convenient. Carrying cash is unnecessary
and sometimes useless, for example, when renting a car or cashing a check.
With a credit card, transactions are easier, and banks are now able (and
more then willing), to deduct payment of your credit card bill automatically
from your main account.

In fact, paper money soon may become a thing af the past for three reasons:

1. The government is concerned about the advances being made in color
xerographic technology. Advanced copy machines will soon be able to produce
counterfeit bills that are indistinguishable from government issues. The
FBI reported that up to 20 percent of people having access to advanced color
copiers will produce some counterfeit bills.

2. The successful introduction of the Smart Card in France and U.S. test
cities such as Washington, D.C., and Norfolk, Virginia, may render cash
obsolete. This Smart Card, manufactured by Motorola and Toshiba carries a
complete history of the user, including a physical description and health
record. The card allows direct payment to the seller by instantaneously
deducting the purchase amount and any service charges directly from the
cardholder's account. Thus, not only is the seller paid immediately but,
also, the card companies save millions of dollars by eliminating bad
payments and personal bankruptcy debts. Reducing credit card fraud should
also save card companies large sums of money. For example, MasterCard could
save $25 million annually by eliminating fraudulent cards. By the end of
1990, 20 million fraud-resistant cards will be in use in France. Seventeen
other countries have agreed to a standard card for all bank machines. Visa,
Eurocheque, Eurocard and MasterCard have already agreed to a method to make
their cards, systems, and money access interchangeable. Thus, by eliminating
checks and voluntary payments, the credit card industry would save 3.2
billion dollars per year.

3. The Federal Government is paying close attention to methods for taxing
the $300 billion underground economy in the United States. Unreported income
costs the U.S. Treasury $90 billion per year. If cash were eliminated,
computers could keep track of all income.

Evidence that cards may soon replace cash (and checks) was provided by Arco
service stations and Lucky supermarkets, which announced in September 1986
that their pumps and check-out stands now accept automatic teller bank
cards. With this system, payment is deducted electronically from the user's
bank account before the user received his purchase. Within one month, 6,400
service stations and supermarkets in 23 states were fitted with the system.

The gentlemen who came up with the laser reader in supermarkets for IBM
also invented the means of placing the same kind of bar code beneath living
tissue in one-billionth of a second. This marking is totally invisible to
the naked eye, and it can be read only by a certain type of laser. The
writing and reading is totally harmless and painless. The inventor
demonstrated this system in 1979 by marking salmon as they swam downstream.
The fish were totally unaware of the process as the laser burned a code into
their flesh. The computer then keeps track of the codes. Years later, these
fish will be detected by the same system as they swim back upstream and are
forced through fish ladders and chutes. *

Just as impressive is what Walter Wriston, the chairman of CitiCorp did in
1983. He passed a rule within the bank that was later withdrawn as a result
of public outcry. His rule stated that unless you were a depositor of $5,000
or more, you were not entitled to a teller. This meant that the vast
majority of depositors would have to stand in line outside the bank and
"talk" to machines. This was an economic move, of course, because banks have
had some problems of late. But its message was that people would no longer
talk to people. If banks could establish such a policy, then they could make
the minimum deposit higher and higher. Finally everything for everyone would
be done by machines. The concern is that we are reaching a highly automated
state, which if followed to the next logical step might have profound
impacts on how we rate life.

Even more startling was an "off the cuff"' statement made by an other
chairman of an eastern megabank: He announced that a method is in place that
can imprint in human hands a silicon chip the size of the head of a pin.
That chip will include not only the person's identification number, Social
Security number, name and birthplace, but also his criminal background,
educational level financial worth in the community, and his political
affiliations.

* Such a system is currently manufactured by Taymar, Inc., Westminster, CO
The U.S. Agriculture Department uses the product for cattle. Will it be
used for people in the future?

With such a system, the minute someone walked through the door of the bank,
he would be sensed and the bank would know who he was, where he came from,
what he did, and how much he was worth. All this would occur before a person
could reach the counter.

Now this was one step further than even progressive thinkers envisioned.
There had been discussions about placing codes on the hand to be used as
identification marks, like fingerprints, similar to package bar codes in
supermarkets. With such a system you would not need cash or a validated
check or even a Smart Card. You could put your hand through a laser and be
read by the computer. The store would automatically deduct the amount of the
purchase from your account. The method would be efficient in terms of cost,
speed, thoroughness, and elimination of bad checks. * But the price of all
this automation is individual independence from nameless bureaucrats looking
over your shoulder and approving (allowing) every transaction.

The amount of control would be unprecedented: however, the government would
immediately know how to put this control to use. People would no longer be
able to cheat the government because every time anyone had any money, the
government would know about it. The government could collect taxes each time
you spent your money, and, thus, there would be no more filing on April
15th. It also means that advanced printing and photocopying machines could
not be used for counterfeiting. Even a law breaker who traded with stolen
goods would have his purchase and sale traced by computer as he tried to
move or "spend" funds. The government would monitor every transaction,
knowing precisely everyone's location, actions, and worth. Instant
evaluations, approval or disapproval, and tax deductions on every individual
would be made.

* Such systems are not in the distant future. Six thousand people in Sweden
have accepted a mark on their right hands in a test of a totally cashless
society. Tests also have been conducted in Japan and the Dominican Republic
in Latin America.

Small wonder that the government likes this idea.
Governments have always liked control. They would like to control
everything, even the areas they say they do not want to control, such as
business, transportation, education, religion, entertainment, and other
governments. If this sounds the least bit exaggerated just look at our
government's actions regarding the restrictions of business concerning tax
credit, labor laws, advertising, antitrust, and corporate subsidies. Even in
deregulation, transportation requires licensing, registration, inspection,
subsidies, price controls, flight approval, and government flight
controllers. Although there may be talk of eliminating the Federal
Department of Education there is no attempt to reduce control of school
curriculum, subsidies, and even school lunches. Most universities are
dependent on federal aid and research grants.

The government controls religion by granting tax exemption to "desired
religions" and by making it illegal to pray in school. The government
exercises control of entertainment by licensing and or censoring television,
radio, movies, and books. The Federal Government also seeks to control other
governments by rewarding or threatening them with trade concessions,
military or econonic aid, sanctions, or war. The highest people in
government, it would seem, want the government to have total control of
everything.

In Orwell's 1984, the government "took over," and everyone was controlled by
"Big Brother." In reality, government may take over, not through control of
transportation and censorship, but through the economy, the lending
institutions, and every financial transaction. Is it too far-fetched to
imagine that you may have to take a mark on your hand to be able to buy and
sell and exist in a modern society? The technology exists. The chairman of
the megabank was asked what it would take to motivate people to put little
pieces of silicon under their skin. He answered, "a major catastrophe." He
knew people would not do it voluntarily.

Of course if there was a financial or national emergency (catastrophe), the
government would exercise unprecedented control, and compliance of citizens
would be anything but voluntary.

Central Computing
-----------------

As mentioned earlier, the impact of computers on society has been enormous.
However, their likely future role may be overwhelming. As powerful as
computers are, their effectiveness is greatly multiplied when they can
communicate with other computers. For example, missile launch command
computers talk to U.S. Weather Bureau computers to update the possible
flight paths of thousands of Minuteman missiles every hour. Thus, to enhance
a system's capabilities, computers need to talk to computers. To sort out
the enormous amount of cross-references, a central computer is needed.

The central computer for America is in Texas, and the international computer
that ties all the national central computers together is situated in
Brussels, Belgium. The Brussels computer is housed in a 13 story building,
the first three floors of which are occupied totally by this system's
hardware. Because of its size. the Brussels computer is referred to
affectionately as "the Beast."

This immense computer has enough capacity to store every detail about the
lives of every human being on Earth, the information contained in the
Library of Congress, and every book ever printed. Having operated for years,
it stores a growing volume of information as additional countries tie into
it ever more heavily. This allows international banking, interstate banking,
and quick credit references. Money can be moved from New York to California
or London in minutes. If a deposit is made in a bank other than where the
check was drawn, banks usually impose a 5 to 10-day holding period.
Actually, this practice is just a means for banks to increase their "float"
and thus to increase their profits, since the money is transferred within
one day. What happens to the money for the other days? The bank uses it to
float shorter loans by which the bank earns interest. Banks typically wait
longer to issue credit because they want to use the money for as many days
as possible.

Daily manipulation of funds by banks is common. Many banks are forced to
move their funds around the globe with the sun to have their reserves where
they are needed-in the banks that are open. Even the CIA likes the
capability of the central computer because it can check on personnel
mobility, foreign trading, and all financial transactions.

Many advanced computers are available with many designations, but one is
especially interesting. NCR produced a six-core memory computer with 60
bytes per word in conjunction with six bits to the character. It is named
and advertised as the 6-60-6 which defines the size and shape of the
computer. The only way this can be pronounced is six sixty-six (666). In
computer language, 666 has a unique significance.

A computer is an information retrieval system, and all of its information is
stored as numbers. A computer's memory cell has only two states-on and off,
or mathematically 1 and 0. Thus, every number must be represented in 1's and
0's. We use a decimal system based on 10; thus, it has 10 symbols: 0, 1, 2,
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Computers use a binary system using two symbols (0
and 1). To manage large numbers, computers use a binary coded decimal system
(BCD) which consists of groups of four digits, to make up all numbers. By
comparing the groups of number listed below one can find each system's
equivalent symbol. Thus, 0011, 0111, 0101 in the binary coded decimal system
is equal to our decimal system number 1,375.

As shown in the BCD system, the number 6 is represented by 0110. This is
unique because 0110 written backwards or upside-down is still 0110. The
only other number in the BCD system with the same property is its complement
1001, or 9. (However, not every computer counts past 7.) This consistency is
the same in every country in the world, unaffected by language because every
computer speaks the same language of "1's" and "0's." Thus, 0110,0110,0110
is 666 universally.

In the Book of Revelation; John said that 666 is the mark of the beast. This
number also represents the universal consistency of the computers that will
be required to control the world's finances and thus the world's people.
When John wrote 1,900 years ago, he did not know anything about the binary
number system, computers, or why computers would require binary coded
decimals. Yet, he stated emphatically that the mark of the beast is 666.

Is this to say that the endtime beast is merely a building located in
Belgium? No! The Brussels computer is no more the beast than a general is
an army. The significance is that computerization for financial dominance is
the financial beast. The beast is a false god and the worship of that false
god. Worship means "worth respect." A false god does not have to assume the
figure of a man: It is the physical representation of that which controls,
that which is worshipped. So, if people worship the "$" symbol too much for
what it can acquire, influence, or accomplish, then that can qualify it as
the false god. The Brussels computer is only the figurehead of a vast,
soon-to-be indispensable financial network that will control all financial
transactions and thus all business and people.

He who controls the system controls all. What is feared by some is that
whoever is in control wiil demand that all take the code (mark) on their
hand to be able to buy and sell. Money, credit cards, and checkbooks would
be totally eliminated. Everything would be done through the government,
through the computer, giving the government total control. The greatest fear
is that when receiving the mark, you also may be forced to pledge allegiance
to your flag and (as in the days of kings) to your ruler, but in this case
the world leader would be the Antichrist. Of course, to have allegiance with
the Antichrist is to make a pact with the Devil. If you think that this
unified system is very far away, then you have missed some intriguing news
items.

As you probably are aware, the government has been talking about a national
identification number for some time. It is supposed to make record keeping
easier and to provide a means of crosschecking. It will help find deserting
husbands who owe child support as well as locate tax evaders. Most people
anticipate that the Social Security number will play a part in this national
identification code.

The government's system for identification uses 18 digits, the last nine of
which are the Social Security number. Virtually every citizen in the country
over the age of 1 will be forced to have a Social Security number. At
present, a Social Security number is necessary to have a job or a
savings/checking account. Starting 1990, every child over one year old must
have a Sociai Security number to qualify as a dependent on tax returns.
Preceding this 9-digit Social Security number are 3 digits corresponding to
one's telephone area code. Obviously, the whole world is tied by phone; even
barren deserts with no inhabitants have area codes. In front of these
numbers is a country code; for America it is 110. From this single
universally consistent number, the government will instantly know a person's
country, region, and identity. Does that seem logical so far? But that
accounts for only 15 digits, and the system is based on 18. The missing
3-digit code specifes that you are in the system: 666.

All computerized companies are going to 18-digit identification codes.
According to the report '666 Is Here,' Sears Roebuck is going on this system
and is committed to changing over all its credit cards. J.C. Penney's is
reported to be switching over, as well as New York Telephone. The U.S.
Government used to prefix all the serial numbers of everything it owned with
the code 451. But that also is changing; the dog tags on every soldier in
America are to be converted to 666.

Is that enough to concern you? The point is that 666 is a significant and
important part of what the future is going to hold. The Bible prophesied it.
Nostradamus explained it, and we are presently at the very edge of seeing it
become enacted. Rumors abound about people receiving checks with these
marks, governments admit they need better financial control, and the
chairman of one of the largest banks says, "It's ready; we just need a major
catastrophe."

Never has something so influential as television (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031317)

been so unexamined and undiscussed. Four hours per person per day is the claimed average in the United States.

American Culture? (0, Troll)

jlt9572 (594866) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031320)

Is it fair to call the trash on television American Culture, or Jewish Culture?

Bhutan Broadcasting Services' schedule for today (2)

jukal (523582) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031321)

this is [bbs.com.bt] hot stuff!:

19:00-19:15 Tonight & The News in Dzongkha
19:15-19:20 Advertisement and announcement
19:20-19:50 Dzongkha Gongphel
19:50-20:00 UK TODAY Sutton Hoo- The London Marathon
20:00-20:10 News in English
20:10-20:15 Advertisement and announcement
20:15-20:30 Telematch
20:30-21:00 Telematch

I am ready to Dzongkha! Whatever it is ;)

Re:Bhutan Broadcasting Services' schedule for toda (1)

sabster (206427) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031437)

Dzongkha is the national language of Bhutan.

I guess I am too young ... (2, Insightful)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031325)

It never occured to me that there might be a place that there *ISN'T* TV.

Re:I guess I am too young ... (1)

kaluta (575272) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031350)

You don't actually have to try that hard to get away from it. Whenever I've been travelling in places like China or India you don't have to get far off the backpacker trail to find villages where there is no tv. The people don't seem to miss it either... then again without a tv I guess they've got no way of knowing what they're missing :)


Something I've seen enough times that it doesn't really surprise me anymore is small rural villages where nobody has a tv but there is a village computer with internet accesss. Usually set up by some Government scheme or other. I even saw this sort of thing in Iran of all places.

The CIA Stole My Brain (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031327)

Secret government agents are zapping and robbing the brains and minds of
ordinary Americans.

So says a respectable, middle-aged New England businesswoman, who claims she's a
guinea-pig victim of a bizarre electronic brainwashing experiment.

Dorothy Burdick's mind-boggling allegation -- which has direct links to CIA
involvement - is made in a recent prestigious scientific journal.

And she claims that other unsuspecting Americans are being zapped and
brainwashed by fiendish government sci-fi techniques.

"Some people might think that's nuts, but they've forgotten the government's long
history of experimenting on its citizens," says Mrs. Burdick.

She gave as examples the spraying of an unknown substance into the New York
Subway tunnels and the more recent charge by a member of the Canadian Parliament
that a CIA-financed psychiatrist tried to brainwash her.

Mrs. Burdick -- not her real name -- said that the first hint that something was
amiss came when she was making love to her husband. The words "Dorothy, you're
being programmed," suddenly popped into her head. She burst into tears.

Her concerned husband suggested that she see a psychiatrist which she did, to no
avail. Strange, unwanted thoughts continued to surface in her mind despite the
psychiatrist's efforts to stop them.

She said that she then checked with her brother who she identified only as a
scientist doing research on the H-bomb at M.I.T.

He told her about the top secret government brainwashing program and said she
was one of the people being zapped by laser in an experiment in mind control.

According to Burdick's new book, Such Things Are Known, a laser-telescope
located at an Air Force base near her Cape Cod, Massachusetts home is scanning
her house and analyzing the electrical impulses given off by her brain.

"In fact, I'm sure that the computer can decode my brain impulses just as
telegraphers decode Morse code," she said.

"For example, dot/dot/dot/dash/dash/dash/dot/dot/dot in Morse code means SOS, or
help.

"Likewise, scientists have learned that dot/dot in my head means Dorothy. Now
that they know the code, they're shooting dots into my head and programming my
thoughts.

"It wouldn't at all surprise me," a high placed member of a European
intelligence service said.

"We know the Russians have been using radio waves to control the minds of their
citizens. Only recently we had a huge intelligence breakthrough when some
Soviet scientists lent one of the cruder models of a mind control device to an
American veterans hospital. Quite stupidly, they sent along an operating
manual, which clearly specified its use as a mind control device.

"We know that the Soviets have been beaming highly suspicious radio waves at the
West and I've been involved in several high level discussions during which the
various means of counteracting Soviet mind control programs were discussed.

"The most compelling course of action suggested at one of those meetings was
that the West must first learn how the snoops are doing it before we can learn
how to counteract it.

"There is no better way to devise a countermeasure to a new weapon than by
learning exactly how the enemy's system works. And to do that one must actually
attempt to do the same things things the enemy is doing -- which, in this case,
quite frankly, is to attempt to control the minds of people.

"So I'm not in the least surprised to learn that our American colleagues are
doing this sort of thing. It is, after all, a matter of self-defense."

Mrs. Burdick has adopted her own method of self-defense against the mind-zapping
she claims she's experiencing.

She wears a coat with tin cans attached to it, and a hat filled with playing
marbles.

What is Happening to the Economy? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031334)

In spite of Reaganite propaganda to the contrary, we have been in a
depression since the Volker engineered interest rate spike in 1979 (20%
plus) that brought the "post WWII" economic prosperity to an end exactly
50 years after "1929" in true Kondratief 50 year cycle fashion. This
primary fact is veiled from most analysts, even Kondratief analysts, by
the monetary mechanics of the Post WWII welfare/warfare state. The
built-in stabilizer of monetizing a wasteful budget deficit prevents the
classic crash that resulted in 30% unemployment in the 30's and
substitutes a "real goods" depression in which increasingly worker
grinding, labor intensive economic activity persists as the new money
flows into the economy, but real wages and living standards (adjusted for
inflation) slip lower and lower. Workers either scramble frantically for
less and less or leave the work force and find a subsistence in the
welfare end or fade away in crime, prison, or other forms of degradation.

After setting the preceding Kondratief scenario (driven by a 50
generational cycle within the conspiracy itself), we predicted a new
long-wave expansion (not prosperity in the old sense) based on issuing
money through a World Conservation Bank which would hold wilderness areas
and other natural resources off the market as collateral. We did not
predict true prosperity, but only an increasing tempo of grinding labor
intensive activity as the populace is denied access to reasonably priced
natural resources under the guise of "environmentalism."

Our error in 1988 was in suggesting (hoping?) that we were perhaps
already at the bottom of the cycle. Unfortunately, it is now clear that
we were not. This may be the bottom now or an even worse bottom may occur
within a year or two! However, it now appears that in spite of
Bush-Congressional pig- headedness regarding the budget deficit and
Federal Reserve foot dragging, the debt monetization is now proceeding
full blast and will check the economy's free fall soon in preparation for
the predicted, "environmentally sound" World Conservation Bank
monetization of untapped world resources, in particular, the Amazon,
Africa, Siberia, Asia, etc.

Bush's repudiation of Reagan-Conservative-Vatican economic growth
and concurrence in the shocking "bottoming out" the economy that could
very well cost him his second term can only be another example of his
Anglophile "Skull and Bones" roots taking precedence over his personal
ambitions. We can expect Bush to systematically repudiate the temporary
Vatican-Conservative alliance that brought him to power as he moves back
to Rockefeller-Republican positions. The final straw will be when he
moves to support abortion, probably only if he is elected for his second
term.

Illegality, not Legalization (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031345)

It's not a case of "legalizing television". It's actually an "increase in restrictions".

Before any laws, TV could be provided and viewed by anyone.
If it was made illegal, people were more limited in what they could do and there were now laws which punished them if they broke the rules.
"Legalizing television" actually means that television is now allowed but only under the laws which limit what can be done with it. More television can be sent openly, but television thus has a new set of laws which prohibit various things.

I hate American TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031348)

Im glad i don't live in the land of corporate fraud, Terrorism, Fat Slobs, Mcbreakfast, DMCA and Slashdot. But we still get their crap. Luckily its only CNBC.

American Culture (5, Interesting)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031359)

I guess there should be a distinction made between american culture and american "culture" as used by michael. Yes, you americans have a great culture; excellent writers, great artists and original musicians. Too bad that the stuff that actually gets exported the most is "culture": coke, disney and the worst of hollywood.
I've been reading some of the comments and all I have to say is this: don't short change yourself or your culture, be aware of the things that have real value and give these to the world.

Re:American Culture (2, Insightful)

Arsewiper (535175) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031525)

No, what's sad is that the 'culture' is what the rest of the world subscribes to. It's market led so for people outside of the US to complain they are really complaining about the tastes of their own culture. I'm glad that the US has provided us with some excellent tv like the Simpsons and early X-Files. If I have any objection it's to the marketing of unhealthy food like McDonalds to children - that's harmful and underhand.

Hot Beef Porn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031361)

"Do you, like, ever let people into your meat-locker to, like, uh, you know,
fuck around with the meat?" I asked.

The short-haired Greek man looked at me strangely from behind the counter.
Several of the waitresses glared in my direction.

"What you mean 'fuck around'?" the dumpy Greek asked.

"You know, like shovin' your dick in and out of the openings in the meat.
Then, like, getting a bunch of smelly, sticky cream of tubesteak all over the
junk that you grind into foodburgers," I informed him.

"Naw. We don't do that. You don't do that. Nobody do that," the imbecile
claimed.

"I do that," I began, "and as a matter of fact, most of my pals do that too.
We like it."

Overhearing our conversation, one of the waitresses gave me a sour look.
She seemed to be acting like she was getting sick. The cook and the other two
waitresses completely ignored everything except the random orders for patty
melts and double cheeseburgers.

"Look, I don't wanna do nothin' weird or strange or anything. I just wanna
fuck a bunch of meat that you got in your huge ol' meat locker. Listen, don't
any of you stupid fuckers understand what I'm sayin'?" I stated in an agitated
manner.

"Mister, people gotta eat my food. If you stick dick in food, no can eat.
Frank lose money. No can do," the Greek said.

"How much money would you lose, bright eyes?" I asked.

"Big thing of cow cost Frank $220 for a half," Greek-man said.

"Well, I wanna fuck around with about 13 of them. Let's see...that's about
$2860...and I'll give you...oh, let's see...$40 just for letting me do it,
OK?"

"I dunno."

"OK. Look, I'll give you $3000 cash, RIGHT NOW, cause I like you an awful
lot, and also cause I'm fucking sick and tired or trying to talk to you
goddamn Greek half-wits."

The Greek seemed to ponder what I had said for a minute, or perhaps he was
just wallowing in incomprehension. One waitress went into the back-room and
loudly threw up.

"OK. But you give Frank money NOW."

I handed the three bills over to the fool and lifted up a section of the
counter and walked into the walk-in freezer.

"OK, you can fuck with 13 sides of cow, but leave cheese and other gunk
alone. OK?"

There was a wide variety of different kinds of food present in the walk-in
freezer. Many, many eggs and other fine foods. I could see containers of
pancake batter and butter. On the left was what I was after. Thirteen
beautiful sides of beef!

I started to get a hard-on just looking at the beef!

"You got your cash. Get out of here!" I shouted at the geek.

I casually waltzed up to the nearest beef-side and began to sweet-talk it.

"Hi, new in town? Ever get into Satanism? Shit, you're cute."

The cool beef did not reply.

Please use google cache (2)

shomon2 (71232) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031369)

This is a tiny country, and they don't need a slashdotting.
http://www.google.com/search?q=+site%3Awww.bbs.com .bt+bhutan [google.com]

That might be a good enough link to use for most pages in the bhutan broadcasting service.

Re:Please use google cache (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031421)

Well I guess no one is going to be using the internet in Bhutan for awhile. See, we'll help them preserve their damn culture whether they like it or not.

ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031374)

You want to feed your culture and yet you refuse to welcome them into your country.

American Culture Not That Bad (4, Insightful)

Kirby-meister (574952) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031375)

I think American culture is much better than some of the less-tolerant cultures there are in this world.

Come on, what's so bad about our culture? Not all of us are the stereotyped fat slobs who stare at the TV all day. Our music is diverse, our people tend to work, and our culture is mostly tolerant on issues. And I like the fact that we are free to discuss issues concerning the government.

Re:American Culture Not That Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031453)

Our music is diverse

Really? Where do you hide all of this "diverse" music of yours, America? You should maybe tell someone about it all, because we're all pretty sick and fucking tired of hearing another Britney song!

our people tend to work

I love the use of the word "tend" in there! You should compare unemployment & working week figures with other western countries. American workers don't work as much as most of the rest of the world.

our culture is mostly tolerant on issues

BOO! Palestian! Northern Ireland! Abortion! Gay marriage! DRUGS! Tolerent...hah, good one.

I like the fact that we are free to discuss issues concerning the government.

Only as much as they'll let you. Remember the guy who filmed the cops beating up a black guy? Guess where he ended up?

You can discuss your government just as much as anyone else can. Your constitution doesn't mean dick; Washington long ago proved that it doesn't hold any real value. All it is these days is a convenient smokescreen that they can use to distract you while they take away yet more of your cival rights.

Re:American Culture Not That Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031515)

Let's discuss this "Americans don't work" issue over my vacation. Let's see, I get two weeks. Can you Euros schedule that into your six-week vacation some time?

Would you like to by an Atlas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031530)

Can you Euros...

Who are the "Euros"? Last time I checked, a Euro was a currency used in the majority of the countries which are part of the European Union?

Europe isn't a single country, any more than the USA is a single "state", you dolt. Six weeks holiday a year? Yeah, I fucking wish. Britian, for example, has the highest working week of any European country, and easily "beats" the US, too. France, on the other hand, has one of the shortest working weeks, and workers also tend to have a large number of holidays.

You ignorant fuck stick.

Re:American Culture Not That Bad (1)

australopithecus (215774) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031523)

oh lordy, lordy.
I;m the most reluctant American you;ll ever meet, but dude, you are rather misinformed.lets see waht I mean:

Where do you hide all of this "diverse" music of yours, America?
Maybe if you listened to something else besides the radio this would become apparent. Yor comment is akin to me saying that Britain is only the Spice Girls. No need to rant on something you dont know about.


American workers don't work as much as most of the rest of the world.
Which is why the average paid vacation in western europe (and the U.A.E. for some reason) is five work weeks. U.S. average? two. Dont give me the whole hours per work week B.S. either, as I can tell you that a work day in Madrid is a hell of a lot easier than a work Day in New York.


Tolerent...hah, good one.

If i want an abortion, i can march my ass down town and get one. If i want to have a gay marraige, I can go to vermont or new mexico. If i want to claim glaucoma and smoke a fat tasty spliff, I go to Cali (id rather fly to amsterdam, but whatev). Funny that you dont realize how much of a role intolerance plays in the two international issues you addressed. If im living in Israel and Im Palestinian, you bet your ass I'll be seeing some intolerance. If im a Catholic living in the wrong Neghborhood in Belfast, you bet your ass I'll be seeing some intolerance. But if I'm any of these living in any neighborhood in the U.S. I'll bet your ass that no one will give a flying fuck.

Only as much as they'll let you. Remember the guy who filmed the cops beating up a black guy?
yet again, my australopithecene brain wins over your "sapien" one. the camera guy was arrested because he ahd previous charges held against him, not because he filmed the cops beating the black kid.

A very close british friend of mine once told me that he feels very sorry for intellectual americans. I feel very sorry for you.

Bhutanese Culture will cease to exist. (3, Interesting)

Zarf (5735) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031387)

Just like I've seen the culture of a small Alaskan village cease due to the introduction of T.V. So will the culture of Bhutan. This letter [pbs.org] to the editor is very convincing on that point.

When I was young, we were Alaskans. We had our own culture and music both the old (native alaskans) and the new Russians and Americans had forged a unique identity that was Alaskan. Then TV came. By the time I left High School you could see the changes.

My point is well illustrated by this story:
I graduated high school in 1992, the kids from our class did the Christmas dance theme on some cute "Stairway to Heaven" or other schmaltzy thing. The kids that were class of 1994 did "Christmas in da 'Hood". The '94 kids had gang violence in their classrooms. Kids bringing guns to school (with the intent of shooting other kids and not to show off their new hunting rifle), weapons, and grafiti became problems.

The ironic thing was that the younger classes were smaller ours was the largest graduating class.

I remember all the Rappers and the oppressed gansta' types sulking about the remote and wild wilderness of one of the remotest places on earth. Some people run away to the untouched beauty of Alaska to escape inner-city grime. How ironic that an aspiring young rap-star would be cursed with living in a place where there was hardly any crime and the government paid you to live there.

If religion is the opiate of the masses, then television is the crystal-meth of the glue huffing, crack-smoking, I-got-the-munchies masses.

Re:Bhutanese Culture will cease to exist. (3, Insightful)

Zarf (5735) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031454)

Not that it's a bad thing ofcourse. A single world-culture and a single world language would be good for trade. I still own a TV and I watch it BTW and I think that a strong mind can use TV rather than be used by it.

I just don't hold any illusions that you can preserve a local culture under the constant wash of TV. It just is as it is. TV's unblinking eye serves us well in many ways. As it connects it also provides a common experience to all who are watching, the common experience causes common culture. Just how GNU/Linux has a culture formed about it, and TV shows tend to spawn sub-cultures too (ie: Star Trek, Star Wars, et al.).

So maybe I'm being a bit harsh with my last post. Still, it is sad to see the end of a culture. Just like it was sad to see the end of Amiga, OS2, or Novell.

Re:Bhutanese Culture will cease to exist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031522)

Nice cloaked racism there.

Alaska is as lily-white as a KKK rally.

Forget about TV... (1)

Toasty16 (586358) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031396)

The Evil Empire will corrupt those poor Bhutanese (Bhutani? Bhutanian?) souls with a localized version of Windows, according to the Register:

http://www.theregus.com/content/4/25869.html

On the other hand, this could help create a new kind of white hats: Buddhist hackers!

Nothing on TV, and you still pay for it?? (5, Insightful)

Flounder (42112) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031401)

After realizing that I never watched TV anyway, and the kids were watching too much, I disconnected the cable.

Got internet for news, info, and entertainment. The kids now spend more time playing outside and reading. The only thing I really miss is sports (no big deal, as I hate all the local teams here in Maryland) and 24hr news (at least have the net).

Still have the TV (gotta watch DVDs and the kids still have the kiddie movies). But it mostly stays off now. It's nice.

Granted, instead of spending $40 a month on cable, I'm spending $100+ a month on DVDs.

Re:Nothing on TV, and you still pay for it?? (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031464)

Sounds like a good compromise to me. You still get the entertainment value of TV with none of the commercials. Good for you! I just might try it myself.

time heals all wounds (1, Insightful)

elite lamer (533654) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031418)

Hopefully, after the novelty of television wears off, the Bhutanese people won't become as obsessed with TV as Americans are. When I was a kid, I used to wach cartoons every Saturday morning, without fail. I'm sure many other people did the same. But as I grew older, I watched TV less often, and now I only watch the news and sometimes a few programs I enjoy.

The article made the Bhutanese people seem, to me, like America's children. But in a few years, hopefully the novelty will wear off, and Bhutan won't lose its rich culture to Sex in the City and MTV.

Hopefully.

What culture?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031419)

What culture?! They have no tv!

Bhorgtan (2, Interesting)

Zephy (539060) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031442)

"THIMPHU, Bhutan -- Microsoft's latest venture is a localized version of its dominant Windows operating system for the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. "

Article Here [cnn.com]

Life without TV is good (1)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031496)

I gave up having broadcast TV in my house 1.5 years ago, and after a short (2 month) period of missing it I now find life is so much better than it was with TV. I don't waste long hours watching stupid reruns of dumb shows (American or British - both are dumb) or worse still, infomercials. I have tons more time to spend with friends, my wife, reading, whatever. My wife spends more time doing her paintings and I spend more time studying computers and playing games (usually online). If we want some visual entertainment we go to the cinema or watch a DVD. The emphasis is on being able to enjoy the movies we want when we want, without commercials or being tied to a televison programmers schedule. Now we don't pay an average cable bill of 25GBP/month we can buy a DVD or even two instead and watch them at our leisure. Life without broadcast TV is cool, try it some time.

ups and downs (2)

zephc (225327) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031508)

downsides:
- WWE (formerly the WWF)
- The Anna Nicole Smith Show
- Jackass
- Springer/Oprah/etc.
- FOX News

upsides:
- Simpsons
- Red Dwarf
- Cartoon Network's Adult Swim
- MST3K

Re:ups and downs (1)

The Purple Wizard (537794) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031546)

You forgot a few:-

downsides: - WWE (formerly the WWF)

- The Anna Nicole Smith Show

- Jackass

- Springer/Oprah/etc.

- FOX News

- Windows

upsides:

- Simpsons

- Red Dwarf

- Cartoon Network's Adult Swim

- MST3K

- Linux

There, that should work wonders for my karma...

Read Kuensel (4, Informative)

rpjs (126615) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031532)

If you want a glimpse of Bhutan, read their national newspaper Kuensel [kuenselonline.com] on the web. It's in English and it gives a fascinating insight into a country that's still trying to take on the modern world on its own terms.

And it uses Slash.

WWF (2, Funny)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031533)

It's good to see that the people of Bhutan keep up with there budist nature and look after pandas and the wildlife...

didn't you mean WWE [wwe.com]

what really gets exported (3, Insightful)

-ryan (115102) | more than 12 years ago | (#4031535)

Unfortunately when American "culture" is exported to other countries the only thing that makes it is the more disgusting side of us. Baywatch, Britney Spears, and McDonalds can be found even in China of all places. Yet our fundamental values of freedom, responsibility, and individualism somehow don't sell as well.

Supermarkets and Swatchs (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4031537)

Recently, I had the oppurtunity to trek through three countries, Singapore, India and Switzerland. A few fascinating things I encountered:-
a)You get *authentic* Swiss chocolates in *all* countries.
b) Swatch watches are actually cheaper in Singapore.
c) It becomes depressing after a while, but supermarkets in *all* countries feature the same ice-cream brands (Nestle, Walls etc).
d) In Singapore (and to a large extent India as well), most of the costlier houses feature Swiss architecture. No, don't look at me, I really can't figure it out. Houses in Bukit Timah Road (in Singapore), Colaba in Bombay (India) and in Zurich seem exactly the same; the same sloping roofs, the same tiles and the same cars (Suzuki Altos, Toyotas, Pegueots).
e) Thanks to Ikea (apparently), beanbags are now a constant feature in middle-class houses all over.
f) Most Indian movies are shot in Switzerland.
g) Singapore's largest theater features Hindi movies only.

Now, what was that again about American softpower...?
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