Floating Clouds and Flowing Water? The Difficulty of Convergence Culture amid Cyberimperialism

There is a Chinese saying “floating clouds and flowing water” to praise good writing and thoughts, but here it occurs to me suddenly that the convergence culture through new media is just the same. Owing to the liquidity of information and ideas, people from different cultural and ideological backgrounds can now easily access each other’s most private thinkings by reading blogs, posts, and so on. However, the highly public and sharp differences can probably cause conscequences even the authors would have never imagined. So, maybe it is much more difficult to arrive the level of “floating clouds and flowing water” in cultural convergence. Maybe I should not overly exaggerate the difficulties, but the good side can turn bad if the situation is worsened by people who use rhetoric to fight wars, not making friends, am I right?

The example in the introduction to Convergence Culture immediately reminds me of the film that mocks Muslim prophet not long ago. Even the fresh news reported by New York Times on Chinese Premier Wen and his family is now in the spotlight online and in China. While the freedom of speech on the Western side can explore interesting stories on anyone anywhere, I cannot help suspecting the validity of the news and its purpose of releasing such a seemed horrible news just before the big conference in China. It seems to me that the NYT, one of my favorite news resources, has chosen a completely wrong target this time. One who is deeply loved by the people in China by his charisma and his idea to fight against corruption, to cooperate internationally, and even to change the Chinese governmental systems. Who does not know that politicians all over the world make a lot of money?! If such kind of non-friendly reports goes on and on, how can the convergence of culture happen if people just wage wars against each other openly and fiercely. Does it mean that US will convert all the other nations?

Each person has a specific memory of history that is rooted in the specific culture, and it changes or even shatters when new media era demand one to converge to another system of belief. Clashes and conflicts either openly or secretly is not necessarily bad, for they prompt one to learn and search for the specific information on the “other” for a more holistic literacy—a worldwide literacy that can embrace different histories, beliefs, experiences, and practices. In the popular culture circle, people debate with each other by commenting to a certain piece of news, by daily dialogues on certain topics that they cannot possibly understand within the limitation of one culture, and by blogging and other means of social networks. In the academic circle, through multinational collaboration and cross-national communication.

However, when bad things, such as the anti-US protests happened in Egypt and Lybia, when anti-Japanese protests happened in China, who is to blame? Should someone who has always been bullied feel sad and say a word? Can the internet wake up one day and say, “Hey, don’t look at me today. Your heart will break if you see other people playing with your faith now!” I love the internet and all new media stuff because I use them as a tool to learn, to share, and to communicate with friends and family. But sometimes, I woke up and was made sad because of tons of negative or bad news that would literally give me no mood to go to school. I wonder why people just cannot understand that politics are politics, when you play with the politicians, consider the feelings of the civilians also. They suffer a lot because of your games! All the world is now learning and adoring the American idol(I am thinking of the copied Hollywood in India, and many other cloned things), but whether they will continue to do so depends on what their Godly idol does to them, I guess.

Back to my title, I think the cyberspace environment is highly imperialist and pushy because the wind that blow the clouds and waters, or the trend of some important agencies really decides which direction the world will go to. Trying to understand each other thoroughly is just in vain and pointless if people do not calm down and make efforts to learn from each other and really sit down to talk. Because history has proven that wars and hatred cannot save problems once for all.

Once again, the power of rhetoric in such a “convergence culture”, whether true or false, has frightened me. I wonder when will a genuine democracy of culture come into being.

I have some links for my dear professor, classmates, and blog followers below:

The first one tells how imperialism and the foreign invasions happened in Asia. It has an audio version just ahead of the text.

The second one talks about an American Chinese journalist’s struggling with his dilemma of identities.

The third one is a link of the Chinese Exclusion Act, it will also take you to the National Archives.

Imperialism Asia

The Olympics, China, and Me

Chinese Exclusion Act 1882


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bradford Hincher
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 12:40:59

    Hi. Your ideas about the rest of the world idolizing and emulating America (Hollywood, for example) are interesting, and I have seen, throughout the years, that this is true in a lot of ways. Do you think that is changing in the age of the internet, as cultures are converging with one another?


  2. Belle Wang's multi-modal writing studio
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 14:17:26

    Thank you for your comment. Indeed the rest of the world is learning and worshipping US culture, especially in China, where young generation strives for an opportunity to come here and learn.

    You are right, it is changing because the information age automatically requires convergence and understanding on each nation. It is hilarious to see how people debate or even quarrel with each other on some issues online. What’s more, I have been watching the Revenge show, it strikes me when I saw the beginning chapter uses Confucius’ sayings, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”

    However, I think culture convergence can definitely be hindered by unfriendly rhetoric or actions. And I am surprised when some mainstream newspapers are doing this. I really wish that they could stop bashing other nations, or at least politely suggest both sides’ advantages and disadvantages by giving examples and evidences to support their argument so that their arguments can be more persuasive to their audience.


  3. Bradford Hincher
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 14:22:38

    I like the quote about digging two graves!

    As far as the unfriendly rhetoric, I hate to say it, but welcome to American political coverage. 😦 20 years ago, we did very well with it, but not anymore.


  4. Belle Wang's multi-modal writing studio
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 14:30:26

    Thank you! I understand. It is the same when people cannot understand what China does and does not. I guess I’ll learn and understand more as time goes by.


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