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Taster’s Choice

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Near, Far...Wherever You Are
Astounding tales of Céline’s global semantic flexibility, from Carl Wilson’s book.


IRAQ
Sympathetic Soul
“Everyone loves Céline Dion,” an artist told the Omaha World-Herald. “They see her as the pinnacle of sadness. Her songs speak to the plight of the Iraqi people.” The U.S. has broadcast her songs “to show the West’s softer side.”

QUEBEC
Local Heroine
In her home province, Céline has passed from “shameful hick” (once mocked in the press as “Canine Dion”) to “emblem of national self-realization,” a model for Quebec businesses.

CHINA
Diplomat by Proxy
When Canada’s culture minister visited China in 1998 to talk about maintaining diversity in the face of globalization, the Chinese government officially requested that Céline tour their country.

GHANA
Cupid
Céline is played by every taxi driver and credited with popularizing Valentine’s Day in a country “where public displays of affection among unmarried couples are traditionally taboo.”

JAMAICA
Alert! Alert!
If you hear Céline in Jamaica, run: Her music, blasted at high volume, has become sonic wallpaper in bad neighborhoods, according to music critic Garnette Codogan: “It became a cue to me to walk ... faster if I was ever in a neighborhood I didn’t know and heard Céline Dion.”

Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste
By Carl Wilson. Continuum International Publishing Group. $10.95.


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