Is Washington The World's Cultural Nanny?

I read "`Cultural imperialism' is no joke" (Economic Viewpoint, Nov. 30) with bewilderment. It's not the responsibility of the U.S. to reduce its export of movies and books. Instead, it is up to other countries to reduce their imports of these products. However, where there is a demand, there are buyers.

Particularly in Asia, people want to view U.S. films, read U.S. magazines, listen to American music, and wear American athletic gear. The import of U.S. films has not caused any cultural revolution or any change in lifestyles, characteristics, or family values in foreign countries. Jeffrey Garten refers to Lethal Weapon as an example, as if foreign viewers will now assume the roles of Los Angeles police officers and wreak mayhem. To press the Clinton Administration to place quotas on cultural exports is impractical and ludicrous.

I would be the first to expound on the aspects of American society that require improvement. Culture, however, is the responsibility of the host country.

Brian L. Black

Chennai, India

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.