Culture Flows Through English Channels, but Not for Long

Momus (Nick Currie) in Wired:

1035f1997eAt UNESCO’s glamorous Cold War spy-thriller headquarters in Paris, Koïchiro Matsuura, the Japanese diplomat running the organization, is pushing to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions.

Yep, he’s trying to keep English from muting out every other language, and that’s certainly nothing new. But unlike others, Matsuura comes off like an airline executive talking about routes, planes, hubs, spokes and flow. That’s because culture flows.

There are two basic route models in the aviation business. Airlines either fly point to point or hub and spoke. Point-to-point flights move from one city to another, while hub-and-spoke transit goes through connections via the airline’s base city. Now, let’s contemplate that in relation to cultural flows. With books, films and the internet, which kind of world do we live in, point to point or hub and spoke? If culture were an airline model, in other words, would Poles be able to fly to Tokyo without having to transfer at LAX?

More here.