Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Among America's exports....

Among America's exports is stereotypical imagery of American Indians. Take, for example, O. Henry's short story, "The Ransom of Red Chief." I wrote about it a few months ago, and, came across it today on the Voice of America (VOA) website.

VOA's purpose? From the website:

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of 138 million people.

"Voice" - singular. Maybe that's the problem! The page the story is on is designed specifically to help people learn English. Here's an except from the story. You can read the entire thing, or, listen to it read aloud.

That boy put up a fight like a wild animal. But, at last, we got him down in the bottom of the carriage and drove away.

We took him up to the cave. The boy had two large bird feathers stuck in his hair. He points a stick at me and says:

"Ha! Paleface, do you dare to enter the camp of Red Chief, the terror of the plains?"

"He's all right now," says Bill, rolling up his pants and examining wounds on his legs. "We're playing Indian. I'm Old Hank, the trapper, Red Chief's captive. I'm going to be scalped at daybreak. By Geronimo! That kid can kick hard."

Along with learning English, readers/listeners at VOA "learn" a lot about... About... About what O. Henry thought about American Indians. Or playing Indian. Readers/listeners certainly don't learn anything at all about American Indians, but I wonder if they know that?!

Anyway, I am pasting below comments to the story. If you want to see the page they appear, and maybe those that appear later, click here...


I love this story! Thank you, VOA!
Submitted by: Doll (Vietnam)
06-17-2009 - 03:47:03

2. comment

Thank you for letting us audio-read American short stories. However, I found this one a least imaginative and surprisingly unworthy of the name of the author of "The gift of the Magi" and famed VOA. I know there are far many rich American short stories than VOA has to start digging the trash field.
Submitted by: Kazuhiro Nagamitz (Japan)
06-16-2009 - 01:25:49

3. Very funny story

Such a funny story! I expect VOA will give us more stories like this one!
Submitted by: Hai (Vietnam)
06-15-2009 - 14:14:06

4. comment

Thank you for the funny story.I read this story when I was a smal girl/ thank you for good impressions Sv
Submitted by: svetlana (Israel)
06-14-2009 - 12:44:20

5. the ransom of red chief

i think everyone should read this story specially the leaders . this is my first sent to you and i belief that voa is the best
Submitted by: ragab (tripoli libya)
06-14-2009 - 12:33:24

6. A humorous story

Thank you for bringing the good story. But it took me for reading several times to understand the story completely. When I was a senior high school student about 40 years ago. we learned "The gift of the Magi" in the English class. I still remember the story well. We have always something to learn from his short stories. Thank you again for your good service.
Submitted by: H.Mori (Japan)
06-13-2009 - 21:44:50

7. Sunshine after rain

A rollicking and hilarious story which develops in a totally unexpected way. It somehow reminds me of Laurel & Hardy immortal movies. We listeners needed it, after the masterly but heart-rending story by B. Harte told last saturday. And many thanks to Mr. 'O Neal for his superb reading. The clearness and elegance of his pronunciation are astonishing.
Submitted by: gian paolo nardoianni (Italy)
06-13-2009 - 16:51:55

8. english

I want to improve my English.
Submitted by: eh ku (myanmar)
06-13-2009 - 15:09:37

9. The funny story I have ever heard.

I really feel sorry for Bill. He thought kidnapping is easy work to do. First he kidnaps the boy to get some money than he want just to return the boy and he will pay for that. Finally I would like to thank every one especially O, Henry I felt as a true story thank you.
Submitted by: khalid (Iraq)
06-13-2009 - 12:46:49

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