Secondly, it gives me some hope for an element of civility when Conan can, in the heart of LA where mentioning Donald Trump or Republicans, without following it up with a sharp enough diatribe, let alone defending them, offer Jorge Ramos — a person who has been very vocal about his dislike of Donald Trump — a statement that tacitly embraces the idea that Trump supporters are welcome as viewers of his show. Again, this is because the inhospitable nature of political discourse in the United States is at an all-time high to the point where people are disowning their own family members for not belonging to the same political ideology as them. The only way to step back from this brink is to follow the example Conan sets here.
Thirdly, I think the concept of traveling around the world, just like when done by Anthony Bourdain, and being an ambassador for American culture is an imminently important thing to do. At a time in history where globalization is rapidly expanding, making positive inroads into other cultures and giving a good impression of Americans pays dividends in invaluable goodwill. In Anthony Bourdain’s case, he was an ambassador for food — a key component of any nation’s culture. In Conan O’Brien’s, for comedy.
For a long time now, America has left culture to be mostly an afterthought, something without practical, financial rewards. But it’s not true — the material rewards that come from cultural industries like food, tourism, music, literature, film, history, language translation, comedy and other sources reveal themselves over time in people’s personal pride, unity and reputation around the world. If you want to see the evidence of this, look no further than how factitious American society has become after years of neglecting these areas and, instead, focusing on STEM.
This is the kind of thing that has a ripple effect. You can see it here, where South Koreans watching Conan’s special on visiting a Korean Spa opens, little by little, people’s hearts and brings everyone a little closer together. With comedy. Who would have thought? And, additionally, he’s sharing foreign cultures with American citizens, making them more comfortable, and perhaps, one can hope, preempting conflict.
If you want to check out Conan’s Conan Without Border special, you can check it out on his youtube channel here.
The statement I’d like to leave you with for this post is this: Conan is a Harvard educated man with a large following, but the example here is something that can be practiced by individuals without the immense resources he has. All you have to do is try things you don’ t normally try, talk to people you wouldn’t normally talk to, and visit places you wouldn’t normally go. There, make friends and have positive experiences. That’s all it takes — 330 million people in the US, if everyone did that, we’d find a lot of our problems would be solved more quickly, more satisfactorily, and with less acrimony.