Both Curten and Morley sought to expand and disprove the notion that global media creates a sense of hegemonic culture and I, at first, was inclined to disagree. As a study abroad student in Europe, I was fascinated to find that each country I visited had one thing in common: televisions in public spaces were inclined to screen either Friends or How I Met Your Mother. To me, this suggested a sense of American imperialism, especially since I knew the countries I visited (England, France, Germany) to all theatrically have their own thriving entertainment industries (and were leaders in film before America). Coupled with my knowledge that my Pakistani friend (who I had met while abroad) was obsessed with The Daily Show, I wondered what it meant that American comedy in particular had so much universal appeal. Like Morley stressed, I needed more ethnographic research but had the sense that western (particularly American) culture was influencing people on a global level and hindering their engagement with the media content in their own culture.
With that said, I did come to understand Curten’s suggestion that while people may globally engage in American media, they may not engage with it in the same way. I can watch Friends and enjoy it for different reasons than a friend from another country, as cultural/personal experiences influence humor, taste, and social understanding. The appeal may be imperialistically enforced, but engagement yields to something more subjective. Moreover, this Culten quote in particular stuck out to me: “Globalization of media therefore should not be understood reductively as cultural homogenization of western hegemony. Instead it is part of a larger set of processes that operate translocally, interactively, and dynamically at a variety of levels: economic, institutional, technical, and ideological” (111). As did Morley’s point that class and access to global media are deeply intertwined and should be explored more in further ethnographic studies. Applying these schools of thought to my own experiences, I did come to see global engagement in media as a way to create a common entry point for discussion, where one can assert their own personal engagement and cultural identity while learning more from another’s point of view (whether it’s in person or through the inherently social media). Access more than anything is the key invitation into this discussion, as Curten also illustrates how the global expansion of capitalism influences which countries are able to not only engage, but also produce. In this light, media is not the true imperialistic force as much as Western business practices.