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Quiz Begins Here

Q #1
:

Verbal Question

Read carefully the passages given below and answer the questions. France’s Ministry of Culture does not look like the sort of place where pessimism ought to flourish. The ministry occupies a wing of Richelieu’s magnificent Palais Royal, round the corner from the Comedie Francaise and just a short walk from the Louvre and the Opera. On their way to lunch its inhabitants have to pick their way through throngs of tourists who have come from all over the world to admire France’s cultural riches. Pessimism flourishes here nonetheless. The ministry’s officials are convinced that a rising tide of American popular culture is swamping France. And they spend much of their working lives administering a complex system of quotas and subsidies that are designed to protect French culture from total submersion. The ministry has almost uniform support for its position among a French cultural elite worried about the threat that America poses, particularly to French film. Their concern is not, as sometimes claimed, that an upstart America hijacked the French national invention of Melies and the Lumieres. Rather it is that Hollywood is a Trojan horse bringing with it Disneyland Paris, fast-food chains and free advertising for American products from clothes to rock music. “America is not just interested in exporting its films,” says Giles Jacob, the head of the Cannes Film Festival. “It is interested in exporting its way of life.” These French people lead a world guerrilla army, hoping to curb American cultural hegemony. In 1989, the French government persuaded the European Community to decree that 40% of TV programs should be domestic. It also strengthened their complex system of support (which taxes cinema tickets to help French film production) by extending it to television programs. In 1993, France threatened to sabotage the GATT trade round in order to exempt audio-visual materials from free trade agreements. The French have found a powerful ally in Canada, which has long been terrified of being swamped by its closest neighbor. Of the films shown on Canadian screens, 96% are foreign, primarily American. Three¬ quarters of the music on Canadian radio is not Canadian. Four in five magazines sold on newsstands in Canada, and six in every ten books, are foreign, mainly American. Canada had, some time back, organized a meeting in Ottawa about American cultural dominance. Nineteen countries attended, including Britain, Brazil and Mexico; the United States was pointedly excluded. At issue were ways of exempting cultural goods from treaties lowering trade barriers, on the view that free trade threatened national cultures. The Ottawa meeting followed a similar gathering in Stockholm, sponsored by the United Nations, which resolved to press for special exemptions for cultural goods in another global trade pact, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment. Quite apart from its recommended solutions, is the “resistance” to American cultural imperialism correct in its diagnosis of the problem? Lurking here are three distinct questions. Is Hollywood as powerful as its enemies imagine? Is there an identifiable thing you can sensibly label “American culture”? And does America’s domination extend to every corner of the popular arts and entertainment? A strong case can be made out that America dominates world cinema. It may not make most feature films. But American films are the only ones that reach every market in the world: the highly successful films of India and Hong Kong hardly travel outside their regions. In major markets around the world, lists of the biggest-grossing films are essentially lists of Hollywood blockbusters in slightly differing orders with one or two local films for variety. In the European Union, the United States claimed 70% overall of the film market in 1996, up from 56% in 1987; even in Japan, America now accounts for more than half the film market. “Titanic” has grossed almost $1.8 billion worldwide. “Armaged¬don” and “Lethal Weapon 4” play well from Belgium to Brazil. Hollywood’s empire also appears to be expanding by the year. Hollywood now gets roughly half its revenues from overseas, up from just 30% in 1980. At the same time few foreign films make it big in the United States, where they have less than 3% of the market. Between 1995 and 1996 Europe’s trade deficit with the United States in films and television grew from $4.8 billion to $5.65 billion. Striking figures, to be sure. Yet the more one looks at many of these films, the less distinctively American they become. One reason for Hollywood’s success is that from the earliest days it was open to foreign talent and foreign money. Some of the great figures of Hollywood -- Chaplin, Murnau, Stroheim, and Hitchcock -- were imports. And now two of the most powerful studios, ColumbiaTristar and Fox, are owned by foreign media conglomerates, Japan’s Sony and Australia’s News Corporation. Several of Hollywood’s most successful films have drawn heavily on international resources. “Three Men and a Baby”, which helped to revive Disney after a fallow period in the mid-1980s, was a remake of a French comedy. “Total Recall” was made partly with French money, directed by a Dutchman and starred an Austrian, Arnold Schwarzenegger. “The English Patient” was directed by a Briton shot in Italy and starred French and British actresses. It may even be argued that it is less a matter of Hollywood corrupting the world than of the world corrupting Hollywood. The more Hollywood becomes preoccupied by the global market, the more it produces generic blockbusters made to play as well in Pisa as Peoria. Such films are driven by special effects that can be appreciated by people with a minimal grasp of English rather than by dialogue and plot. They eschew fine-grained cultural observation for generic subjects that anybody can identify with, regardless of national origins. There is nothing particularly American about boats crashing into icebergs or asteroids that threaten to obliterate human life. The very identification of Hollywood with American culture, particularly American high culture, is itself a mistake. So is confusing screen conduct with real conduct, although plenty of serious-minded people do seem to treat Hollywood as a ruinous influence on American manners and morals: Michael Medved, an American screenwriter turned cultural commentator, argues that, far from nurturing deep-rooted values, Hollywood helps destroy them. “Tens of millions of Americans now see the entertainment industry as an all-powerful enemy,” he argues, “an alien force that as¬saults our most cherished values and cor¬rupts our children.” Making a point more about art than behavior, Terry Teachout, a music critic, says that educated Americans would cheer if an earthquake reduced Hollywood’s sound stages to rubble. “The ene¬my’ at the gates is not the United States free trade or even Walt Disney,” he says with de¬liberate effect, “it is democracy.”

Instead of treating the sovereignty of popular taste as something that underpins America’s cultural domination of the world, many of America’s neoconservatives (and some liberals) see it rather as a perilous solvent acting on the United States itself. The country, they fear, is dissolving into a babble of discordant ethnic voices without a common cultural identity or a shared national purpose. And they put much of the blame on the proliferation of foreign-language media outlets. One of the most popular television channels in Los Angeles is KMFX 34, which broadcasts in Spanish; there are also channels which broadcast exclusively in Korean, Cantonese and Japanese, and others that rent air-time for Yiddish and Russian broadcasts. Even in the shadow of the Hollywood sign it is possible to live without bowing the knee to a majority culture. The world’s culture ministers might well reply that the inroads that Spanish and Korean television have made into the United States are as nothing compared with the inroads that American television has made into their home countries. The deregulation of television in the 1980s created a legion of upstart stations that were desperate for content -- and much of the cheapest and most reliable content came from America. Yet as new stations establish themselves, they tend to drop generic American products in favor of local productions: audiences still prefer homegrown fare if given the choice. In every European country in 1997, the most popular television programme was a local production. “Navarro”, an unmistakably French action drama, has never had less than a 33% market share. Across the channel, “Inspector Morse”, a much re-run British detective series, owes its lasting appeal to an Oxford setting and a curmudgeonly hero. The strength of local ties is even more apparent in pop music, long supposed to provide the soundtrack to America’s cultural hegemony. The United States has never enjoyed the same dominance of pop music as it has of cinema, having to share the global market with Britain. According to a book reporting the results of a rock-music poll of 200,000 people, aged from nine to 62, in America and Europe, “The All-Time Top 1,000 Albums”, seven of the ten most popular albums were British. As the rock market fragments into niches -- ¬from urban rap to techno -- it is harder and harder to create global brands. A few years ago, few self-respecting teenagers would be caught dead listening to French or Swedish pop groups (The Swedish group Abba was almost the definition of naff). Now French groups such as Air and Daft Punk and Swedish groups such as Ace of Base and the Cardigans are decidedly cool. In Germany, the world’s third-largest music market after the United States and Japan, local performers account for 48% of the DM6 billion ($3.5 billion) in yearly sales, double the percentage five years ago. Two leading music channels, Viva and Viva-2, now devote about 40% of their time to German titles. In Spain, 58% of the total $1 billion music sales are generated by Spanish and Latin American artists. In the French market, French rock groups account for nearly half the country’s total sales. MTV makes different programs for different regions. As America’s pop-music industry struggles with a stagnating international market, European groups are finding it easier to cross borders. Americans buy some $2 billion worth of Spanish music a year. Ace of Base’s first record was one of the biggest selling debut records ever, dominating the American charts. German techno bands such as Mr. President have had a string of international successes. Ibiza is the capital of global dance music. Daft Punk sold 900,000 albums outside France, earning some 77m francs ($13m). Even Ice¬land has a global star in Bjork. The American empire is equally shaky in other areas of popular culture. The British have dominated popular musicals since the appearance of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” in the mid-1970s. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Macintosh revived what had become a geriatric art form with catchy tunes, clever lyrics, sumptuous sets and relentless marketing. They turned British musicals into both a major tourist attraction and an important export. “The Phantom of the Opera” has been seen by an estimated 52m people, pulling in more than $2.5 billion. Basle has a purpose-built theatre for “Phantom”. As for fashion, the great houses of Paris and Milan dominate the high end of the market; London its street-wise, popular base. Walk down Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, with its outlets for Gucci, Valentino and Armani, and America looks like the cultural colony, not Europe. Here too it is the British who are shaking up the industry. Jean-Paul Gaultier claims that he gets some of his best ideas by walking around London. Ex-punker Vivienne Westwood is a grande dame in Paris and Milan, and two big French houses recently put young British designers, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, in charge. Even in publishing and magazines -- an area that particularly worries the Canadians -- American domination is by no means clear-cut. The best-known magazine editor in the United States is an English¬woman, Tina Brown, who is credited with reviving (before leaving) both “Vanity Fair” and “The New Yorker”. Foreign companies control half of America’s top 20 publishing houses. Earlier this year Bertelsmann, a German conglomerate, purchased America’s biggest publisher, Random House, provoking headlines about American culture being sold to foreigners. In fact, Bertelsmann may well be a stronger global force than its American-¬owned rivals. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, it built a network of book clubs, publishers and record companies across the old Soviet block. It holds a stake in Prague’s City Radio, owns the biggest newspaper in Hungary and in Slovakia, and has launched a glossy science magazine in Russia in a venture with the Orthodox Church.

It can be inferred from the passage that:
+

Explanation: Third paragraph: France's national invention…

Q #2
:

Verbal Question

Read carefully the passages given below and answer the questions. France’s Ministry of Culture does not look like the sort of place where pessimism ought to flourish. The ministry occupies a wing of Richelieu’s magnificent Palais Royal, round the corner from the Comedie Francaise and just a short walk from the Louvre and the Opera. On their way to lunch its inhabitants have to pick their way through throngs of tourists who have come from all over the world to admire France’s cultural riches. Pessimism flourishes here nonetheless. The ministry’s officials are convinced that a rising tide of American popular culture is swamping France. And they spend much of their working lives administering a complex system of quotas and subsidies that are designed to protect French culture from total submersion. The ministry has almost uniform support for its position among a French cultural elite worried about the threat that America poses, particularly to French film. Their concern is not, as sometimes claimed, that an upstart America hijacked the French national invention of Melies and the Lumieres. Rather it is that Hollywood is a Trojan horse bringing with it Disneyland Paris, fast-food chains and free advertising for American products from clothes to rock music. “America is not just interested in exporting its films,” says Giles Jacob, the head of the Cannes Film Festival. “It is interested in exporting its way of life.” These French people lead a world guerrilla army, hoping to curb American cultural hegemony. In 1989, the French government persuaded the European Community to decree that 40% of TV programs should be domestic. It also strengthened their complex system of support (which taxes cinema tickets to help French film production) by extending it to television programs. In 1993, France threatened to sabotage the GATT trade round in order to exempt audio-visual materials from free trade agreements. The French have found a powerful ally in Canada, which has long been terrified of being swamped by its closest neighbor. Of the films shown on Canadian screens, 96% are foreign, primarily American. Three¬ quarters of the music on Canadian radio is not Canadian. Four in five magazines sold on newsstands in Canada, and six in every ten books, are foreign, mainly American. Canada had, some time back, organized a meeting in Ottawa about American cultural dominance. Nineteen countries attended, including Britain, Brazil and Mexico; the United States was pointedly excluded. At issue were ways of exempting cultural goods from treaties lowering trade barriers, on the view that free trade threatened national cultures. The Ottawa meeting followed a similar gathering in Stockholm, sponsored by the United Nations, which resolved to press for special exemptions for cultural goods in another global trade pact, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment. Quite apart from its recommended solutions, is the “resistance” to American cultural imperialism correct in its diagnosis of the problem? Lurking here are three distinct questions. Is Hollywood as powerful as its enemies imagine? Is there an identifiable thing you can sensibly label “American culture”? And does America’s domination extend to every corner of the popular arts and entertainment? A strong case can be made out that America dominates world cinema. It may not make most feature films. But American films are the only ones that reach every market in the world: the highly successful films of India and Hong Kong hardly travel outside their regions. In major markets around the world, lists of the biggest-grossing films are essentially lists of Hollywood blockbusters in slightly differing orders with one or two local films for variety. In the European Union, the United States claimed 70% overall of the film market in 1996, up from 56% in 1987; even in Japan, America now accounts for more than half the film market. “Titanic” has grossed almost $1.8 billion worldwide. “Armaged¬don” and “Lethal Weapon 4” play well from Belgium to Brazil. Hollywood’s empire also appears to be expanding by the year. Hollywood now gets roughly half its revenues from overseas, up from just 30% in 1980. At the same time few foreign films make it big in the United States, where they have less than 3% of the market. Between 1995 and 1996 Europe’s trade deficit with the United States in films and television grew from $4.8 billion to $5.65 billion. Striking figures, to be sure. Yet the more one looks at many of these films, the less distinctively American they become. One reason for Hollywood’s success is that from the earliest days it was open to foreign talent and foreign money. Some of the great figures of Hollywood -- Chaplin, Murnau, Stroheim, and Hitchcock -- were imports. And now two of the most powerful studios, ColumbiaTristar and Fox, are owned by foreign media conglomerates, Japan’s Sony and Australia’s News Corporation. Several of Hollywood’s most successful films have drawn heavily on international resources. “Three Men and a Baby”, which helped to revive Disney after a fallow period in the mid-1980s, was a remake of a French comedy. “Total Recall” was made partly with French money, directed by a Dutchman and starred an Austrian, Arnold Schwarzenegger. “The English Patient” was directed by a Briton shot in Italy and starred French and British actresses. It may even be argued that it is less a matter of Hollywood corrupting the world than of the world corrupting Hollywood. The more Hollywood becomes preoccupied by the global market, the more it produces generic blockbusters made to play as well in Pisa as Peoria. Such films are driven by special effects that can be appreciated by people with a minimal grasp of English rather than by dialogue and plot. They eschew fine-grained cultural observation for generic subjects that anybody can identify with, regardless of national origins. There is nothing particularly American about boats crashing into icebergs or asteroids that threaten to obliterate human life. The very identification of Hollywood with American culture, particularly American high culture, is itself a mistake. So is confusing screen conduct with real conduct, although plenty of serious-minded people do seem to treat Hollywood as a ruinous influence on American manners and morals: Michael Medved, an American screenwriter turned cultural commentator, argues that, far from nurturing deep-rooted values, Hollywood helps destroy them. “Tens of millions of Americans now see the entertainment industry as an all-powerful enemy,” he argues, “an alien force that as¬saults our most cherished values and cor¬rupts our children.” Making a point more about art than behavior, Terry Teachout, a music critic, says that educated Americans would cheer if an earthquake reduced Hollywood’s sound stages to rubble. “The ene¬my’ at the gates is not the United States free trade or even Walt Disney,” he says with de¬liberate effect, “it is democracy.”

Instead of treating the sovereignty of popular taste as something that underpins America’s cultural domination of the world, many of America’s neoconservatives (and some liberals) see it rather as a perilous solvent acting on the United States itself. The country, they fear, is dissolving into a babble of discordant ethnic voices without a common cultural identity or a shared national purpose. And they put much of the blame on the proliferation of foreign-language media outlets. One of the most popular television channels in Los Angeles is KMFX 34, which broadcasts in Spanish; there are also channels which broadcast exclusively in Korean, Cantonese and Japanese, and others that rent air-time for Yiddish and Russian broadcasts. Even in the shadow of the Hollywood sign it is possible to live without bowing the knee to a majority culture. The world’s culture ministers might well reply that the inroads that Spanish and Korean television have made into the United States are as nothing compared with the inroads that American television has made into their home countries. The deregulation of television in the 1980s created a legion of upstart stations that were desperate for content -- and much of the cheapest and most reliable content came from America. Yet as new stations establish themselves, they tend to drop generic American products in favor of local productions: audiences still prefer homegrown fare if given the choice. In every European country in 1997, the most popular television programme was a local production. “Navarro”, an unmistakably French action drama, has never had less than a 33% market share. Across the channel, “Inspector Morse”, a much re-run British detective series, owes its lasting appeal to an Oxford setting and a curmudgeonly hero. The strength of local ties is even more apparent in pop music, long supposed to provide the soundtrack to America’s cultural hegemony. The United States has never enjoyed the same dominance of pop music as it has of cinema, having to share the global market with Britain. According to a book reporting the results of a rock-music poll of 200,000 people, aged from nine to 62, in America and Europe, “The All-Time Top 1,000 Albums”, seven of the ten most popular albums were British. As the rock market fragments into niches -- ¬from urban rap to techno -- it is harder and harder to create global brands. A few years ago, few self-respecting teenagers would be caught dead listening to French or Swedish pop groups (The Swedish group Abba was almost the definition of naff). Now French groups such as Air and Daft Punk and Swedish groups such as Ace of Base and the Cardigans are decidedly cool. In Germany, the world’s third-largest music market after the United States and Japan, local performers account for 48% of the DM6 billion ($3.5 billion) in yearly sales, double the percentage five years ago. Two leading music channels, Viva and Viva-2, now devote about 40% of their time to German titles. In Spain, 58% of the total $1 billion music sales are generated by Spanish and Latin American artists. In the French market, French rock groups account for nearly half the country’s total sales. MTV makes different programs for different regions. As America’s pop-music industry struggles with a stagnating international market, European groups are finding it easier to cross borders. Americans buy some $2 billion worth of Spanish music a year. Ace of Base’s first record was one of the biggest selling debut records ever, dominating the American charts. German techno bands such as Mr. President have had a string of international successes. Ibiza is the capital of global dance music. Daft Punk sold 900,000 albums outside France, earning some 77m francs ($13m). Even Ice¬land has a global star in Bjork. The American empire is equally shaky in other areas of popular culture. The British have dominated popular musicals since the appearance of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” in the mid-1970s. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Macintosh revived what had become a geriatric art form with catchy tunes, clever lyrics, sumptuous sets and relentless marketing. They turned British musicals into both a major tourist attraction and an important export. “The Phantom of the Opera” has been seen by an estimated 52m people, pulling in more than $2.5 billion. Basle has a purpose-built theatre for “Phantom”. As for fashion, the great houses of Paris and Milan dominate the high end of the market; London its street-wise, popular base. Walk down Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, with its outlets for Gucci, Valentino and Armani, and America looks like the cultural colony, not Europe. Here too it is the British who are shaking up the industry. Jean-Paul Gaultier claims that he gets some of his best ideas by walking around London. Ex-punker Vivienne Westwood is a grande dame in Paris and Milan, and two big French houses recently put young British designers, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, in charge. Even in publishing and magazines -- an area that particularly worries the Canadians -- American domination is by no means clear-cut. The best-known magazine editor in the United States is an English¬woman, Tina Brown, who is credited with reviving (before leaving) both “Vanity Fair” and “The New Yorker”. Foreign companies control half of America’s top 20 publishing houses. Earlier this year Bertelsmann, a German conglomerate, purchased America’s biggest publisher, Random House, provoking headlines about American culture being sold to foreigners. In fact, Bertelsmann may well be a stronger global force than its American-¬owned rivals. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, it built a network of book clubs, publishers and record companies across the old Soviet block. It holds a stake in Prague’s City Radio, owns the biggest newspaper in Hungary and in Slovakia, and has launched a glossy science magazine in Russia in a venture with the Orthodox Church.

The author is most likely to agree with which of the following?
+

Explanation: The author does not dispute that Hollywood is a powerful force, but it does dispute the second and third points by giving evidence against them.

Q #3
:

Verbal Question

Read carefully the passages given below and answer the questions. France’s Ministry of Culture does not look like the sort of place where pessimism ought to flourish. The ministry occupies a wing of Richelieu’s magnificent Palais Royal, round the corner from the Comedie Francaise and just a short walk from the Louvre and the Opera. On their way to lunch its inhabitants have to pick their way through throngs of tourists who have come from all over the world to admire France’s cultural riches. Pessimism flourishes here nonetheless. The ministry’s officials are convinced that a rising tide of American popular culture is swamping France. And they spend much of their working lives administering a complex system of quotas and subsidies that are designed to protect French culture from total submersion. The ministry has almost uniform support for its position among a French cultural elite worried about the threat that America poses, particularly to French film. Their concern is not, as sometimes claimed, that an upstart America hijacked the French national invention of Melies and the Lumieres. Rather it is that Hollywood is a Trojan horse bringing with it Disneyland Paris, fast-food chains and free advertising for American products from clothes to rock music. “America is not just interested in exporting its films,” says Giles Jacob, the head of the Cannes Film Festival. “It is interested in exporting its way of life.” These French people lead a world guerrilla army, hoping to curb American cultural hegemony. In 1989, the French government persuaded the European Community to decree that 40% of TV programs should be domestic. It also strengthened their complex system of support (which taxes cinema tickets to help French film production) by extending it to television programs. In 1993, France threatened to sabotage the GATT trade round in order to exempt audio-visual materials from free trade agreements. The French have found a powerful ally in Canada, which has long been terrified of being swamped by its closest neighbor. Of the films shown on Canadian screens, 96% are foreign, primarily American. Three¬ quarters of the music on Canadian radio is not Canadian. Four in five magazines sold on newsstands in Canada, and six in every ten books, are foreign, mainly American. Canada had, some time back, organized a meeting in Ottawa about American cultural dominance. Nineteen countries attended, including Britain, Brazil and Mexico; the United States was pointedly excluded. At issue were ways of exempting cultural goods from treaties lowering trade barriers, on the view that free trade threatened national cultures. The Ottawa meeting followed a similar gathering in Stockholm, sponsored by the United Nations, which resolved to press for special exemptions for cultural goods in another global trade pact, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment. Quite apart from its recommended solutions, is the “resistance” to American cultural imperialism correct in its diagnosis of the problem? Lurking here are three distinct questions. Is Hollywood as powerful as its enemies imagine? Is there an identifiable thing you can sensibly label “American culture”? And does America’s domination extend to every corner of the popular arts and entertainment? A strong case can be made out that America dominates world cinema. It may not make most feature films. But American films are the only ones that reach every market in the world: the highly successful films of India and Hong Kong hardly travel outside their regions. In major markets around the world, lists of the biggest-grossing films are essentially lists of Hollywood blockbusters in slightly differing orders with one or two local films for variety. In the European Union, the United States claimed 70% overall of the film market in 1996, up from 56% in 1987; even in Japan, America now accounts for more than half the film market. “Titanic” has grossed almost $1.8 billion worldwide. “Armaged¬don” and “Lethal Weapon 4” play well from Belgium to Brazil. Hollywood’s empire also appears to be expanding by the year. Hollywood now gets roughly half its revenues from overseas, up from just 30% in 1980. At the same time few foreign films make it big in the United States, where they have less than 3% of the market. Between 1995 and 1996 Europe’s trade deficit with the United States in films and television grew from $4.8 billion to $5.65 billion. Striking figures, to be sure. Yet the more one looks at many of these films, the less distinctively American they become. One reason for Hollywood’s success is that from the earliest days it was open to foreign talent and foreign money. Some of the great figures of Hollywood -- Chaplin, Murnau, Stroheim, and Hitchcock -- were imports. And now two of the most powerful studios, ColumbiaTristar and Fox, are owned by foreign media conglomerates, Japan’s Sony and Australia’s News Corporation. Several of Hollywood’s most successful films have drawn heavily on international resources. “Three Men and a Baby”, which helped to revive Disney after a fallow period in the mid-1980s, was a remake of a French comedy. “Total Recall” was made partly with French money, directed by a Dutchman and starred an Austrian, Arnold Schwarzenegger. “The English Patient” was directed by a Briton shot in Italy and starred French and British actresses. It may even be argued that it is less a matter of Hollywood corrupting the world than of the world corrupting Hollywood. The more Hollywood becomes preoccupied by the global market, the more it produces generic blockbusters made to play as well in Pisa as Peoria. Such films are driven by special effects that can be appreciated by people with a minimal grasp of English rather than by dialogue and plot. They eschew fine-grained cultural observation for generic subjects that anybody can identify with, regardless of national origins. There is nothing particularly American about boats crashing into icebergs or asteroids that threaten to obliterate human life. The very identification of Hollywood with American culture, particularly American high culture, is itself a mistake. So is confusing screen conduct with real conduct, although plenty of serious-minded people do seem to treat Hollywood as a ruinous influence on American manners and morals: Michael Medved, an American screenwriter turned cultural commentator, argues that, far from nurturing deep-rooted values, Hollywood helps destroy them. “Tens of millions of Americans now see the entertainment industry as an all-powerful enemy,” he argues, “an alien force that as¬saults our most cherished values and cor¬rupts our children.” Making a point more about art than behavior, Terry Teachout, a music critic, says that educated Americans would cheer if an earthquake reduced Hollywood’s sound stages to rubble. “The ene¬my’ at the gates is not the United States free trade or even Walt Disney,” he says with de¬liberate effect, “it is democracy.”

Instead of treating the sovereignty of popular taste as something that underpins America’s cultural domination of the world, many of America’s neoconservatives (and some liberals) see it rather as a perilous solvent acting on the United States itself. The country, they fear, is dissolving into a babble of discordant ethnic voices without a common cultural identity or a shared national purpose. And they put much of the blame on the proliferation of foreign-language media outlets. One of the most popular television channels in Los Angeles is KMFX 34, which broadcasts in Spanish; there are also channels which broadcast exclusively in Korean, Cantonese and Japanese, and others that rent air-time for Yiddish and Russian broadcasts. Even in the shadow of the Hollywood sign it is possible to live without bowing the knee to a majority culture. The world’s culture ministers might well reply that the inroads that Spanish and Korean television have made into the United States are as nothing compared with the inroads that American television has made into their home countries. The deregulation of television in the 1980s created a legion of upstart stations that were desperate for content -- and much of the cheapest and most reliable content came from America. Yet as new stations establish themselves, they tend to drop generic American products in favor of local productions: audiences still prefer homegrown fare if given the choice. In every European country in 1997, the most popular television programme was a local production. “Navarro”, an unmistakably French action drama, has never had less than a 33% market share. Across the channel, “Inspector Morse”, a much re-run British detective series, owes its lasting appeal to an Oxford setting and a curmudgeonly hero. The strength of local ties is even more apparent in pop music, long supposed to provide the soundtrack to America’s cultural hegemony. The United States has never enjoyed the same dominance of pop music as it has of cinema, having to share the global market with Britain. According to a book reporting the results of a rock-music poll of 200,000 people, aged from nine to 62, in America and Europe, “The All-Time Top 1,000 Albums”, seven of the ten most popular albums were British. As the rock market fragments into niches -- ¬from urban rap to techno -- it is harder and harder to create global brands. A few years ago, few self-respecting teenagers would be caught dead listening to French or Swedish pop groups (The Swedish group Abba was almost the definition of naff). Now French groups such as Air and Daft Punk and Swedish groups such as Ace of Base and the Cardigans are decidedly cool. In Germany, the world’s third-largest music market after the United States and Japan, local performers account for 48% of the DM6 billion ($3.5 billion) in yearly sales, double the percentage five years ago. Two leading music channels, Viva and Viva-2, now devote about 40% of their time to German titles. In Spain, 58% of the total $1 billion music sales are generated by Spanish and Latin American artists. In the French market, French rock groups account for nearly half the country’s total sales. MTV makes different programs for different regions. As America’s pop-music industry struggles with a stagnating international market, European groups are finding it easier to cross borders. Americans buy some $2 billion worth of Spanish music a year. Ace of Base’s first record was one of the biggest selling debut records ever, dominating the American charts. German techno bands such as Mr. President have had a string of international successes. Ibiza is the capital of global dance music. Daft Punk sold 900,000 albums outside France, earning some 77m francs ($13m). Even Ice¬land has a global star in Bjork. The American empire is equally shaky in other areas of popular culture. The British have dominated popular musicals since the appearance of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” in the mid-1970s. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Macintosh revived what had become a geriatric art form with catchy tunes, clever lyrics, sumptuous sets and relentless marketing. They turned British musicals into both a major tourist attraction and an important export. “The Phantom of the Opera” has been seen by an estimated 52m people, pulling in more than $2.5 billion. Basle has a purpose-built theatre for “Phantom”. As for fashion, the great houses of Paris and Milan dominate the high end of the market; London its street-wise, popular base. Walk down Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, with its outlets for Gucci, Valentino and Armani, and America looks like the cultural colony, not Europe. Here too it is the British who are shaking up the industry. Jean-Paul Gaultier claims that he gets some of his best ideas by walking around London. Ex-punker Vivienne Westwood is a grande dame in Paris and Milan, and two big French houses recently put young British designers, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, in charge. Even in publishing and magazines -- an area that particularly worries the Canadians -- American domination is by no means clear-cut. The best-known magazine editor in the United States is an English¬woman, Tina Brown, who is credited with reviving (before leaving) both “Vanity Fair” and “The New Yorker”. Foreign companies control half of America’s top 20 publishing houses. Earlier this year Bertelsmann, a German conglomerate, purchased America’s biggest publisher, Random House, provoking headlines about American culture being sold to foreigners. In fact, Bertelsmann may well be a stronger global force than its American-¬owned rivals. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, it built a network of book clubs, publishers and record companies across the old Soviet block. It holds a stake in Prague’s City Radio, owns the biggest newspaper in Hungary and in Slovakia, and has launched a glossy science magazine in Russia in a venture with the Orthodox Church.

The over-riding principle of American cinema seems to be:
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Explanation: This is the reason that they take talent from all over the world.

Q #4
:

Verbal Question

Read carefully the passages given below and answer the questions.

Who is this man? You see him every day, sometimes on the street, sometimes in the ration shop, an ageless and timeless entity in the ever-changing world around him. And yet he is elusive. The man-in- the-street is no flesh-and-bone creature but a mere statistic, an apocryphal figure who is invoked by politicians  and  economists  alike  but  with  whom  they  are  most  comfortable  as  long  as  he  remains abstract.

Let us go beyond abstraction and get to the concrete reality of this common man. This particular man is middle-aged, literate, obviously urban and with an income much higher than the average per capita income.  This man lives with the very rich with their  indifference to wealth and  the very poor with their resignation towards misfortune. But can one define him merely in terms of the average per capita income or calorific intake of food or is there something more tangible about this man, his lifestyle, his work, his ambition, his struggles?

With a steady acceleration in the rate of inflation from 2.1 per cent in 1950-1960 to 9.2 percent in

1980-87, the dismal real per capita income growth of barely 1.5 per cent per annum has obviously eluded even this common man. What can this man buy with his one rupee note, which was worth 100 paise in 1950 and is now worth only 11 paise? Without inheritance and without really knowing the art of  making  easy  money,  he  hardly  has  anything  to  fall  back  on  in  his  old  age  except  his  meager pension, if he is what goes under the curious name of ‘government servant’ – and his son. After all, discharge of filial obligations still represents the most important element of social security in India.

Given the population growth rate of 2.2 persons per annum an average family size is 6.2. However, this  man  being  urban  and  literate is likely to  have a  smaller  family of  only four  members.  Having reached  the  plateau  of  his  life,  his  aspirations  are  directed  towards  his  children  –  probably  most towards his son. The desire to make his son as engineer or a doctor from the moment he is born takes the  shape  of  nurturing  him  in  an  expensive  English  medium  “convent  school”.  However,  the aspiration level may soon slide down to reconciling with reality, of the son becoming a bank clerk or a section officer. Even in that, luck will have to play a role because given the total educated job seekers being more than 16,452,000 the son may ultimately have to settle for any kind or job.

The common man’s desire to rise higher on the social scale is quite great and he is thus unlikely to withstand  consumerist pressures.  He  may succumb  to  acquiring  second-hand  assets  or  wait for  his son’s  Lakshmi  to  bring  the  goodies  home.  At  the  same  time,  the  preparation  for  his  daughter’s marriage starts from the time she is born while her education may or may not be in a “public” school. The social cancellation effect of this Lakshmi give-and-take, however, does not reflect in the case of individual households, as the gruesome figures of dowry deaths make clear.

The common man’s efforts to meet the requirements of roti, kapadaaurmakan are valiant enough. He realises the importance of a good diet but the forbidding prices more or less make it imperative for him to  go  for  something  cheaper.  Figures of availability of many important items of  consumption, themselves ensure that the overall consumption level of his family is not very high. For instance, per capita availability of sugar in 1986-87 was only 11.1 kg per annum, which works down to merely 30.2 gm. per day, sufficient only for a cup of tea or two. Although this man is depicted as wearing a dhoti, given the average per capita availability of cloth at less than 15 metres per annum, he is unlikely to wear such a garment.

However, his simple thinking and simple living does not deter the common man from aspiring to be a ‘lakhpati’  through  the  medium  of  a  bumper  lottery ticket  or  take  refuge  like  ‘MungeriLal’  in  his ‘hasinsapne’. (A popular television serial where the protagonist is an economically average man who dreams of extraordinary riches). The top priority in his dream world is of course to own a flat or a small house.

The common man’s familial and interpersonal links are strong enough to take him to his ‘native place’ once in every two or three years. And in ordinary dreary life, he manages to draw enough from his memories, his traditions, his religion, even without being overtly religious. The Club culture of the rich  and  the  community  culture  of  the  poor  are  both  absent  from  his  life  but  he  does  take  part enthusiastically  in  popular  festivals.  However,  apart  from  his  occasional  picnic  outings  with  his neighbours and friends, the prime time peep at the outside world through the Doordarshan window, the occasional movie in a cinema house, does he have anything else to distract him from his over- burdened and ever-growing responsibilities?

The common man is aware of political conditions, and feels strongly about corruption, annual budgets, high prices, his personal deprivation …. But does he voice them loud enough; does he have a solution or are his concerns lost somewhere in his daily struggle for a decent living? Is he happy with the state, which  arises  out  of  the  wants  of  man?  Is  the  common  man  optimistic  about his  future?  Does  this common man have a future?

In  surveying  the  Indian economic  context,  in the end since we come up  with questions rather  than answers, the only conclusion that we can arrive at is that in the economy, as in society and politics, since so little can be said, much must be invented. Action is the essence of economic analysis.

The ‘Lakshmi’ in the passage refers to the …
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Explanation: Refer 5th para

Q #5
:

Verbal Question

Read carefully the passages given below and answer the questions.

In 1980, the World Health Organization (WHO) succeeded in its campaign to rid the world of smallpox. It has never let anyone forget the fact since. And rightly so. Given the effort it took to eradicate this scourge, the WHO richly deserves to make certain that smallpox, though gone, is not forgotten. Leprosy, however, appears to have endured the opposite fate. This ancient blight is forgotten, but not gone -- an unhappy predicament for its sufferers and for the WHO, which is still fighting against it.

So far, the WHO is committed to “eliminating” leprosy but not to “eradicating” it. That might seem a strange distinction to a layman, but in the argot, elimination is defined as a reduction in the number of cases in a population to below one per 10,000 people; eradication implies that no cases exist at all. The WHO Leprosy Elimination Programme, inaugurated in 1991, aimed to complete its task by 2000.

The campaign has made a lot of progress. It has reduced the number of people with the disease from more than five million to less than one million, and eliminated leprosy from 98 countries. But several South-East Asian and African states, as well as Brazil, still report from four to six cases of leprosy per 10,000 people. So at the Asian Leprosy Congress in Agra, the target date for global elimination was postponed to 2005.

A pity. But on the face of it, a five-year delay in “eliminating” a scourge that has horrified people since biblical times is a mere blip. There is, however, a fear that having allowed the deadline to slip once, the project’s momentum may be lost -- and even that the eventual result may be worse than if no grand plans had been laid in the first place.

The WHO originally accepted the idea of “eliminating” leprosy because in 1989, a symposium of experts decided that eradicating the disease was not feasible. In 1998, a workshop convened by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, echoed that advice. However, it added a new worry: that eliminating leprosy might not be possible either. Given the current state of knowledge of the biology of the disease, these epidemiologists argued, an elimination campaign could not guarantee to stop transmission, and thus keep the caseload down.

That is because a lot of basic information about leprosy is still missing. Doctors cannot, for example, diagnose it before a patient starts to show symptoms. Nor do they know how likely a treated patient is to relapse. More significantly, they remain unsure exactly how the disease is transmitted, how it infects the human body, and at what point a carrier of the bacterium may infect others.

As a result, and despite its success in treating those already infected, the campaign has not had much impact on the rate of new infections. That figure still exceeds 650,000 a year, or around 4.5 cases per 10,000 individuals in the worst-off countries; it has shown little sign of falling in the past 15 years.

The solution should be more research. Given the recent unraveling, by the Pasteur Institute in France, of the genome of Mycobacteriumleprae, the organism that causes the disease, science is better poised to carry out such research than ever before. But the loudly proclaimed 2000 deadline caused research funding to tail off. Funding bodies assumed that basic research into leprosy was becoming irrelevant, since the problem was being solved where it counted -- in the field. So they turned their attention elsewhere. In 1990, for example, the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations spent $6.5m on research projects. By 1998, its spending had declined to $3m. A lot of nifty public-relations work is going to be needed to repair the damage.

Fortunately, public relations is something that leprosy officials seem to be good at. They have already been pretty successful at “rebranding” the infection as “Hansen’s disease”, at least in medical circles. The Hansen in question, a 19th-century Norwegian doctor, did not, of course, recognize leprosy for the first time -- the usual reason to dub an illness after an individual. But he did identify Mycobacterium leprae, and that is good enough cover for the spin-doctors. Indeed, the Brazilian government went so far as to ban the “L” word completely, even in the names of aid organizations such as the British group LEPRA.

 

Cynicism aside, there may be good medical reasons for abandoning the old term. Most illness attracts sympathy for the victim. Leprosy often elicits repugnance. In some clinics, therefore, patients are now told only that they are suffering from a “skin infection”, and may complete their recovery without ever learning the details. Indeed, there is evidence that not telling people the whole truth gives better results than leveling with them - perhaps because they can take their medicine openly, without having to lie to their family and friends to avoid the stigma of being branded a leper.

 

Rebranding may also come to the rescue of the Leprosy Elimination Programme. The latest talk is not of elimination, but of “very good control” -- accepting, and being honest about, the fact that the disease will be around for the foreseeable future. As one participant in the CDC workshop remarked, “a number of us would like to eradicate the word elimination.”

 

This would alter expectations again since “control” is not, like elimination and eradication, a euphemism for abolition. And that might backfire. For although the elimination campaign put research funding on the back burner, it did, with its promise of an achievable goal, galvanize efforts in the clinic and the surgery. The WHO programme has already spent $50m and has another $50m pledged -- but on the understanding that there is a clear end in sight. If the language changes again, and particularly if the 2005 deadline also proves a mirage, the WHO may have to work hard to keep the money flowing; 1980 was, after all, a long time ago.

What is implied by the phrase, “forgotten but not gone”?
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Explanation: Directly implied in the phrase.