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THE READER'S PAGE

Babes in Tourist Land

May 14, 2000

Susan Spano brings up an interesting point about the worldwide syndication of the "Baywatch" TV series and its influence on the image of American women ("Picturing American Women Through the Eyes of the World's 'Baywatch' Fans," Her World, May 7).

While backpacking through Ireland this spring, I came across a small group of young, jovial Italians. After I told them where I was from, they immediately shouted two things in perfect harmony: "Sunset Boulevard" and "Baywatch babes." Then, again, a few days later in a Dublin pub one blurry night, I came across a young woman from Sheffield, England, who, after I told her of my origins, exclaimed: 'Do you know Pamela Anderson Lee?' "

I was slightly bemused at this global recognition of my country, but, then, ultimately saddened. You see, Spano erred, as do many abroad, in assuming that this country even has a "culture" to speak of.

JIM MARQUEZ

Los Angeles

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