I don’t often watch the news but I am a very paranoid person. How do these two relate? To quote Aunty Uji in Americanah, “If you keep watching television, you will think these things happen all the time. Do you know how much crime happens in Nigeria? Is it because we don’t report it like they do here?” (140). This quote specifically references the paranoid behavior Ifemelu begins to exhibit after coming to America, more specifically after she is exposed to a heavy dose of American news. Upon reading this quote, it got me thinking about how plausible it is that paranoia stems from the news Americans are subject to everyday. Robberies, kidnappings, murders, the works. It’s around us, all the time, practically shouted from the rooftops. It’s almost impossible not to be subject to some of the crime and negativity the news stations rave about.
I think it’s interesting that crime-something that isn’t specific to only America-isn’t as heavily broadcast-ed in other countries as it is here. Ifemelu mentions prior to the talk with Aunty Uju that she was used to seeing militarial broadcasts occupying the Nigerian news station, which gets me thinking. Obviously news reports depend on the area in which they are located, but does the location also affect which news is presented? Like in America it’s all crime stories but in other countries it’s more military focused or stuff like that?
That would make sense, especially if censorship is involved. When I think of censorship in the media, I specifically think of China because I remember learning about Tiananmen Square and realizing that almost no one in present day China knew anything about these series of protests and this massacre that had taken place almost thirty years ago. And then, with that comes the inevitable question of what the American government is hiding from us.
Overall, the whole concept that the American broadcasting system is somewhat responsible for widespread paranoia opens a million others doors regarding censorship and government secrets and I completely understand why Adichie chose to include this in Americanah because it truly exemplifies something that is very prevalent in American society that might not stretch to many other countries. The whole idea is an invitation to really consider the mechanics of mass media in America.
That’s it for now.