Monday, April 04, 2005

French Call Europe to Arms Against "Americanization" of the Global Agenda

Interesting issue: Has American technological supremacy in the ether created a danger of international homoginization of human culture? Has Google become the McDonalds and Wal-Mart of the Internet? Some are beginning to think so....

The International Herald Tribune reports that the librarian of the Bibliotheque Nationale has called "Europe" (by which he seems to mean France) to arms in the digitization war. Jean-Noel Jeanneney says:

"I am not anti-American - far from it," the 62-year-old historian said in an interview in his office in the library's new headquarters overlooking the Seine. "But what I don't want is everything reflected in an American mirror. When it comes to presenting digitized books on the Web, we want to make our choice with our own criteria."

When Google's initial announcement went unnoticed here, then, Jeanneney raised his voice. In a Jan. 23 article in Le Monde titled "When Google Challenges Europe," he warned of "the risk of a crushing domination by America in the definition of the idea that future generations will have of the world." And he urged Europe to "counterattack" to preserve its culture and political influence.

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