Amar C. Bakshi has an interesting blog, but I think his title is a bit grandiose:”How the World Sees America.” You have to give him credit though; by getting the Newsweek/Washington Post brands at the top, he has immediate credibility for his work. A look at the comments on the blog, though, reveals weaknesses in the whole project.
Bakshi promises he will do his work the old fashion way – with one way plane tickets and shoes, whatever that means – and I don’t think it worked. Maybe he isn’t seasoned enough yet to write what he really learned, or maybe he really didn’t learn that much. The piece on “American Studies in Beirut” says much more about the professor than about students. It repeats generalities (We need to learn about America,â€ they say. But they don’t have to love everything about it.) What I see as his major shortcoming however, is his lack of understanding of the people he is speaking to. That he is surprised at his greeting in Venezuela (Their eyes light up, â€œBueno!â€ they say, “Welcome.”) strikes me as a bit condescending. Whatever people may think about American politics, they as able as we are to separate individual citizens from government policy; at least enough to be polite.