Thursday, May 20, 2010

The USA Pavilion Is a Disgrace

I'm glad that the people at Popular Science weren't afraid to point something out that's been bugging me since I went to the 2004 Expo in Aichi, Japan.

The USA Pavilion Is a Disgrace:
"Many of the pavilions at the 2010 Expo in Shanghai are phenomenal, both inside and out. The USA pavilion, however, is neither. But far worse than being visually unimpressive (which it is), the essence of our representation at the largest World's Fair carries an even sadder message. [...] I've been inside some pretty mind-blowing pavilions this week, which makes the failings of the USA's--the world's largest economy--even more shameful." 
The entire article is an excellent description of how I felt when I went to Expo back in 2004. After freely walking in and out of pavilions for such beacons of freedom as China, Pakistan and Iran...

...I was disheartened to find that the line outside of the USA Pavilion was not due to popularity but to a security check.

Once the backpacks and purses of our group had been checked, we were then forced to endure a corporate-sponsored video presentation by an actor playing a Disney-fied version of Benjamin Franklin who, after repeatedly telling us how great America is and informing us of all the "awesome" stuff they make there, he - I kid you not - started rapping.  I must have blocked out the rest because that's all I remember.

Sign translates as "Warning: Rapping Historical Figures"
 It's a good thing the Canada pavilion was not nearby and offering citizenships.  I might have had to take them up on it.

UPDATE: In a somewhat related note, here are some random videos from my trip to Expo.