‘Don’t Look Up’ should be ‘Don’t Look EAST’

The recent film on Netflix ‘Don’t Look Up’ was by most arguments highly clever, topical, and poignant.

It’s easy to criticize media, and doubtless it is easier for those who don’t produce media themselves to criticize media.

The thing is, the film was science fiction, because for all we know, an asteroid is going to impact Earth in a million years, or hundreds of thousands.

Sure, it could hit us tomorrow, but what are the odds in Vegas?

There are larger comets that are barreling towards us at a rapid rate as I write these words, however these significant impacts will be cultural, economic, financial, and geopolitical.

They will also be hitting America harder than they hit anywhere else on our planet.

The world is shrinking faster than ever, and I would argue that demographically, linguistically, technologically, and sociologically, the United States is the least equipped for a globalized future.


Here’s an example: having spent the better part of a decade in Asia, I can say this — money travel’s faster here.

In Thailand, I can go to any ATM and deposit money into a friend’s bank account, no questions asked, no proof of my identity, only by typing in my friend’s account number and slipping in the cash to the machine.

This is only one example of how America is falling behind — the financial aspect.

What about the linguistic aspect?

America is one of the most monolingual countries I have ever been to, and I grew up there.

Being multilingual is not just about being able to speak multiple languages, it’s about being able to learn new languages, rapidly.

So sure, many Americans might speak two languages, but how many Americans have spent their entire lives learning new languages, new dialects?

In reality, the asteroid in Don’t Look Up is not a heavenly body, but a country, and that country is China.

China is adapting to a globalized future so quickly, if you blink you will miss it.

While America is arguing about right vs. left, rich vs. poor, white vs. non-white, Chinese just aren’t really arguing.

It’s as simple as that.

Democracy has not even began its pressure test yet, and America is too drunk on its status as #1 to realize all the ramifications of a swiftly shrinking world.

Let’s keep on with language learning as an example.

The number of Chinese that speak English with passable proficiency compared to the number of Americans that speak Mandarin Chinese is so disproportionate, it makes any ‘per capita’ argument moot.

And languages prevent wars, while some of the Admirals in charge of the Pacific Fleet of the US Navy might not even have a second language in their arsenal.

How about India?

Indians (those who are not so impoverished they never had classes) are often much more articulate, well-spoken, polite, and descriptive than most Americans I have met.

In English.

Not in Hindi or Telugu or Marathi.

That is how fast this world is shrinking, and Americans aren’t noticing it because they don’t get out of their bubbles enough, and because we are stuck arguing about Trump, and because we are just too damn comfortable.

Some Americans might travel to Asia, maybe even a few times a year.

But they don’t spend enough time in Asia to pick up on the microclimates of the subtle geopolitical factors that are at play here.

My suggestion is, if any American doesn’t want their country to fall behind or become subject to some form of neo-globalist-colonialism from the Eastern hemisphere, spend at least a year in any Asian country to see how America is already a backwater.

Hurry up.

Blink and you missed it.

Meanwhile, I’ll be brushing up on my Mandarin.

Not because I don’t love my country, but because I do.




Gabriel is a writer, actor, and musician from Los Angeles. Currently, he is based out of Bangkok, Thailand.

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Gabriel Walker Land

Gabriel Walker Land

Gabriel is a writer, actor, and musician from Los Angeles. Currently, he is based out of Bangkok, Thailand.

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