'Our Eyes Have Adjusted,' as Seen From Taiwan

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Here's a break from political news -- or, at least a shift from the horse race to longer-term public challenges. This past summer I did several items, including this and this, on how America's "eyes have adjusted" to stop noticing how heavy we have become. A generation ago, Jackie Gleason and Raymond Burr were famous as fatsos. Now people built like them wouldn't draw a second glance.

This week the team at Next Media Animation in Taiwan reveals that they've made a similar adjustment, changing their motion-capture models so as to more realistically represent the American physique. The video below isn't exactly subtle, but it is worth a look if you're not familiar with current rest-of-the-world images of our country.
 

To skip ahead to the conclusion, you see below the new avatars NMA has developed for their U.S. characters. They are introduced at the end of the video as the new Mr. and Mrs. America. But why not take two minutes to see the buildup of how NMA created them.

MrAmericaNMA.png


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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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