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What Sets Us Apart Essay

In the essay “What Sets us Apart,” by Mortimer B. Zuckerman, he examines the issue of how America is regarded by foreign countries and the impact America has in these countries. Zuckerman acknowledges of Hollywood contributing to “a significant piece of America’s ‘soft power’” on how we are perceived by other countries; meaning that American culture is not viewed favorable by other countries because of Hollywood.

Zuckerman’s perception is something that I agree with; unfortunately, America is viewed in a negative way by other countries because of Hollywood contributing to an askew image of America, a misperception by foreign countries, and the tolerance by the American society. First of all, the reason Hollywood has such a profound impact on the appearance on American society, is because they supply “over 70 percent of the European film makers and 90 percent” to the rest of the world.

Sadly, Hollywood targets the “younger population audience who constitute the bulk” of the film industry, which has a tremendous impact to what movies contain. Of course, being a younger crowd will imply more “action, violence, sex, and special effects,” which seems as though it will not have an effect but it does. Since Hollywood is the biggest supplier of films to other countries, whatever is shown in these films (action, violence, sex, and special effects) will reflect the “American lifestyle.

Thanks to these images, “Hollywood has made Americanism a dirty word. ” Furthermore, these misperceptions of the American lifestyle has made foreign countries once “favorable opinion[s] of the United States” drop in recent years. The liberty portrayed in America gives rise to the fears of an up rise by the people in a communism country. Thus making democracy “less attractive,” rather than displaying the beauty of democracy. People from foreign countries that have strong values see our society with little to no morals, and a lot of promiscuity.

All of these factors emitted by the media have attributed to making America a less desirable place to other countries. Moreover, the American society has tolerated and accepted what the media has presented to other foreign countries. The purchase of any these products means we have accepted what is being displayed and agree with what is shown in them. As Americans we need to educate other countries that we are educated individuals whom have strong values and value diversity. We need to show how organized and well-established we are as a democratic society.

Here in America, freedom and liberty is granted to individuals in their lifestyle choices. Being American grants us the freedom that not many countries offer; as Americans we can demonstrate the beautiful attributes we have as a society. Overall, we need to demonstrate and educate countries whom view us poorly that we are not what the media displays. Instead, let us show the beautiful aspects of life this country offers to all ethnicities. Here, in America, like Zuckerman said we are provided with “self-help, self-improvement, and self-renovation” that no other country can offer.


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