Tiger, Dragon & Elephants

On Time’s cover this week, I like how India, the perennial bride, is also the perennial call center employee. Also, it is the un-China. Oh, and in India, elephants dance. I don’t read Time or Newsweek so please fill me in here, what is the anthropomorphization of America in business-speak? Is it the eagle? Or is it only the East that gets demoted to the Zoo and the Harem? Oh wait. I answered that.

10 Replies to “Tiger, Dragon & Elephants”

  1. Perosnally, I believe that at any given point in time, in a certain country, there exist a group of staple topics. For example, in USA the immediate topics that come to mind are

    [*] Iraq

    [*] Medicare

    [*] War on terror

    [*] Outsourcing

    [*] India

    Now, any budding journalist trying to spruce up his/her resume is bound to go to the nearest Indian buffet and thereafter book a flight to Mumbai, the Interface to the west of you will. They spend a week there, take a few pictures and write 20 lines a day at the end of the month, the resume looks good and they will have attained a global perspective. It is aptly known as Infotainment. NPR, Time, etc., all fall in this category.



  2. also,

    America: Eagle

    Canada: Moose

    Mexico: Donkey

    Brazil: Anaconda

    Argentina: Lama

    Africa: Elephant


    Arabia: Horse

    Europe: Cow

    Russia: Bear

    Persia: Lion

    India: Tiger



  3. Sepoy:

    Liger for pakistan is perfect. After all, it is the product of the repeated invasion of India (Tigeress) by the Turko-Persian (read Mughal) Lion.

  4. Brits have adopted both the lion and the bulldog as national symbols, but I think the lion has a more “official” lineage, related to heraldry & such… Political cartoons of the Napoleonic era depicted the British lion vanquishing the French…cock.

  5. I thought England was a bulldog. If I were Russia, I’d stick to the bear. And if I were Canada, I’d try to shake being a moose. New Zealanders even call themselves “Kiwis,” and I’d say Australia is a kangaroo–note how even in the World Cup they are the Socceroos. For that matter, though, Tunisia are the Eagles of Carthage, Angola the Black Impalas, Cote d’Ivoire the Elephants (there you go!), Togo the Sparrow Hawks, Korea the Asian Tigers, Saudi Arabia the Falcons, and England the Three Lions. So there.

  6. Pakistan: Liger, obviously.

    Canada: Owl?

    Russia: Bear

    Mexico: At least, nowadays among the conservatives it would be the Chupacabra

    Now as for America, if you look at all of Time’s covers categorized by Business, you can spot some clear trends: Lots of white INDIVIDUALS [greenspan, jobs, trump, case etc.]. Nary an anthropomorphization in sight. Or a woman for that matter.

  7. Anthropomorphizing the US: A (war)hawk in eagle’s clothing, the old standby capitalist pig, haghty Uncle Sam from political cartoons of the world?

    I think we should try this with other countries too. Which leads me to ponder, is a country’s athropomorphization the same as their national animal/mascot (official or un-)? Interestingly, India’s official fauna include the Sarnath lion, the peacock and the Bengal tiger. Not an elephant in sight. We know Britain is a lion, but is Mexico a plumed serpent, Australia a kangaroo? If India is an elephant, what then is Pakistan? Canada, anyone?

    Can Russia still claim the doughty Soviet bear, or have they reverted to that terrifying two-headed bird on their coat of arms?

  8. mo, i clicked over to dude’s blog. subtlety and subtext seems not his strong suit.

    reading the article, though, i caught this: “One Asian giant is run by a Communist Party that increasingly appeals to nationalism as a way of legitimating its power.” it made me giggle.

    as far as business anthropomorphization, only “fat cats” comes to mind.

  9. Grant, it doesn’t have to be in the article; it’s on the *cover*. That’s the point. For the people choosing TIME covers, India is gaily dressed brides and people telling you why your credit limit cannot be increased.

    I think, these days, the first adj that would be used in a similarly stereotypical representation of the US would be “fat.” The second would be “religiously conservative.” But maybe that’s just in Europe.

  10. “…what is the anthropomorphization of America in business-speak?”

    You are at the University of Chicago, so why don’t you go over the the school of economics and ask. It will have something to do with individual rights and prosperity.

    There is nothing in the Time article to motivate statements such as:

    “Or is it only the East that gets demoted to the Zoo and the Harem?”

    You seem to have quite a chip on your shoulder.

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