Portrait of the twentieth century…

One of the tedious aspects of travelling to the USA is immigration check; even though I have a machine readable passport, all my travel data has been collected by the airline company and transmitted to the US authorities, and I have a valid ETSA, which is a visa in all but name, it is quite common for me to wait an hour at immigration.

Someone realised that this captive audience is perfect for some propaganda, so there are always multiple screens playing Welcome: Portraits of America, a movie that presents a sequence of clichés that supposedly depict the people in the US. The main problem of this movie is that it way too short: around 5 minutes. Disney, who donated that movie, should have taken into account the average waiting time in the lines, a longer movie is way better than one that is seen twelve times, after the 10th time, the welcomes at the end seem less sincere…

What I find interesting in this movie, is that this image of the US is basically stuck somewhere in the twentieth century: the most modern element of the whole movie is the space shuttle taking off. What kind of country presents images of a space program of the 80s which has in the meantime been abandoned? Other technological elements in the movie seem to be straight out of the 50s, early on, there is a yellow school bus, then there is a classical, long nosed truck, then there is an old looking tractor, and at the end of the movie, there is a bunch of bikers on old school motor-bikes. There are also some horse riding cowboys and the Canadian view of the Niagara falls…

I know this movie is supposed to depict people, but they are presented in what is allegedly their environnement, and if that movie is the reference, then people in the US live somewhere between the 50s and the 80s.

One thought on “Portrait of the twentieth century…”

  1. Understandable, as the 1950-1980 era is arguably the Golden Age of the USA.

    What would they show, now? Homeless veterans in Washington, derelict homes in Detroit and gang warfare in Los Angeles interspersed with arrogant New York bankers, Silicon Valley geeks and gun-toting Tea Party followers?

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