Michael Jackson. "Star Wars." "Dallas." America has given all these to the world, or rather, sold them to an enormous international market with a passion for American pop culture. To many, American pop culture is cool, smart and entertaining, although as with any massive success story, there are many detractors too. Whatever critics say about it, there is no denying the worldwide popularity of American pop culture.
The spread of American pop culture throughout the world, through movies, television shows, popular music and other cultural forms, earns billions of dollars for producers and artists. A vast number of people, from movie studio cleaners to top Hollywood producers, are employed thanks to the spread of American pop culture. All these people are taxed, which brings revenue into the public purse to pay for education, healthcare, road building, and other public spending programs.
Few people will be unaware of Elvis, Bob Dylan, or Madonna. Likewise, American television programs -- from "I Love Lucy" to "Cheers" to "Friends" to "Desperate Housewives" to "Glee" -- have captured the attention of much of the world. In the sense that it provides common cultural experiences for a global audience, American pop culture has a unifying effect. This does not necessarily imply that all American pop culture is meritorious, simply that it brings together a wide, varied and appreciative audience.
Freedom of Speech
American pop culture typifies the freedom of speech for which America is famous. It transmits the values of a people who know they have a right to an opinion. In many parts of the world, this right is actually or effectively non-existent, or is in constant threat of being eroded by shifting social forces and political maneuverings. Freedom of speech is one of the key liberties that people of the free world enjoy. American pop culture, it could be argued, helps to defend this liberty.
America is one of the world's most ethnically and religiously diverse, multicultural nations. In its cultural transmissions to the rest of the globe, it represents diversity, racial equality and tolerance. This is not to say that American pop culture cannot be improved by drawing even further on the strength that its multicultural diversity represents. Indeed, this is a likely development for American pop culture in the years ahead.