Commodifying Culture and Ethnicity: Chinese New Year
Parade and the Chinatown Tourism Industry in New York City
The face of America has changed dramatically in the last few decades. With the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, a large influx of immigrants from Asia and Latin America came into the United States. The increase in the number of immigrants from the Chinese-speaking world is particularly drastic as the quota for immigrants from the Eastern Hemisphere was lifted. From the early integration pattern of assimilation to the growing popularity of multiculturalism in the 1990s, the American society has gone from a melting pot to a salad bar, where people can co-exist with their distinctive cultures and identities. In this paper, I argue that culture and ethnicity as a commodity can serve as a main economic booster for the ethnic enclaves as well as the entire city. I will use the Chinese New Year parade in Manhattan’s Chinatown as an example, and discuss the economic impact the 911 attacks have on its economy, and how important it is for the government as well as community-based organiz-
ations to work together to develop promotional campaigns to attract tourists. Also, the Chinatown community also needs to draw plans to reinvent itself by becoming more tourist-friendly but remain authentic at the same time.
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Rural and Urban Dynamics in Taiwan New Wave Cinema— A Comparative Study of Films by Hou Hsiao-hsien and Edward Yang
In the 1980s, a revamped film industry in Taiwan produced a number of international
acclaimed films, marking the beginning of the Taiwan New Wave Cinema and
putting Taiwan on the cultural map of the world. Hou Hsiao-hsien and Edward Yang,
the two most prominent directors in the movement, were born in the same year.
However, they came from very different family backgrounds and both use their
personal experience in their filmmaking. The dynamics in their films represents two
very important elements in Taiwanese cinema – the struggles and challenges in
urban and rural lives.
Taiwanese people are obsessed with metropolis and actively pursuing the myth of
urbanism, with the tallest building in the world, a high-speed rail and expansion of
subway systems. Meanwhile, as globalization dominates our everyday life,
Taiwanese people also embrace Westernization, striving to learn English and
adopting Western values. It is only natural that the audience is more likely to
appreciate films with strong urban themes while rural stories are often deemed as
boring and old-fashioned.
Although many of the new directors did receive their training in filmmaking in
Taiwan, they are often under strong Western influence with further training overseas.
It is very likely that we will see more urban directors rise in the coming years in the
international circuit, such as Tsai Ming-liang, whose films always center around city
life. However, since government funding for films has been institutionalized to
support local film industry, films with rural flavors will have room for survival but
will likely remain a minor player in Taiwanese cinema.
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The Impact of DVR on Television Viewing
Published by the International Journal on Technology, Knowledge and Society Vol. 3, Issue 4, 2007
Pioneered by TiVo, the digital video recorder (DVR) is leading a revolution in the television industry. Introduced
in 1999, the DVR gives television audience more control than they have ever had, leaving the advertisers scrambling to
keep up. The relatively new technology enables television viewers to record their favorite shows and watch them at a later
time when it is convenient for them. Often time, commercials are skipped, which pushed Nielsen Media Research, the company
that measures television ratings, to reflect this new trend in its surveys. Although only an estimated 10 percent of all
American households are equipped with digital video recorders, the percentage is expected to rise to 25 by 2007, according
to Nielsen. Started in late December 2005, the company has been providing three numbers – The number of people who
watch a show live, the number of people who watch it live or within 24 hours, and the number of people who watch it live
or within a week. This gives the advertisers more accurate information on the effectiveness of their advertising dollars. It
is surely going to be a factor in the negotiations between advertising agencies and television networks, but its significance
remains to be seen. The study will conduct preliminary analysis on the initial numbers of the new Nielsen surveys, and the
response from the networks and advertising agencies. It will give insights into the DVR’s impact on the future of the television
Asian American Stereotypes in the Media
Published by International Cultural Communication Studies Vol. XV I: 2006
Asians or Asian Americans constitute approximately four percent of the entire U.S. population. With a growing number of immigrants from China, Vietnam, the Philippines and other parts of Asia, Asians are one of the fastest growing minority groups in America. Although Asians have resided in America throughout three-fourths of the nation’s history, many fourth-generation or fifth-generation Asian Americans still feel like foreigners in this country in many ways. As new generations of Asian or Asian Americans strive to take prominent roles in American society, including politics, academics, as well as the media industry, the representation of Asians or Asian Americans in the media has rarely reflected that fact. In this study, I argue that the under-representation and stereotypes of minorities on television have misled the viewing public to form inaccurate perception on minority groups based on mostly distorted or insignificant portrayals they see on a daily-basis. In order to provide fair representation of minorities to the general public and avoid creating stereotypes or misunderstandings, television networks, which bear the responsibility of social education as public domain, ought to hire more production and editorial personnel with minority background to provide objective perspectives to the programming. Meanwhile, people of minority background should also strive to become active members of the media to write stories about themselves and make their voice heard so that representation of them in the media can accurately reflect who they are and their contribution to the society.
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