Thursday, July 22, 2010
The Shoe On The Other Foot
This might make some people mad but let us face it; in general, Americans are assholes. Whether it was a store in a small German village, a Mexican bar outside the normal tourist areas, or simply sitting next a young Japanese couple in the Atlanta airport, I have talked with people who are nearly unanimous in their agreement that while individual Americans can be very nice, taken as a group we tend to overwhelm everything.
Now the normal reactionary American response is to bring up our saving the world from both fascism and communism, inventing most of what created the modern world we live in, and being the cultural center of the planet. All of that is true and you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would somehow want to take the United States out of that historical equation just to be free of obnoxious Americans. Still though, even a good thing can be overplayed to the point that the cure can grow stale and become its own issue.
We may have defeated Hitler and Brezhnev saving the world for democracy and capitalism only to have both dominated by huge corporations that somehow through a twisting of legal mumbo-jumbo magic are now consider “people” entitled to rights under the First Amendment. This being an idle rant here are two curious side notes to ponder. Since corporate-people are now entitled to First Amendment protections just wait until they start claiming Second Amendment rights, now that’s when the real fun will begin. The other curious note is that while we saved the world from godless communism, does anyone beside me find it hysterically funny that Red China is kicking our ass in free market capitalism?
We truly live in a fantastic age that Americans had a large part in creating, we may not be able to do weekend trips to the moon, which pisses me off to no end, but many other things are incredible. If Ben Franklin was pulled to 2010, I am sure that after chasing scores of hot babes the guy would freak over things like airplanes, high-definition television, and after being explained about the Internet would compare it to magic. Yes, we have uplifted the standard of living for ourselves and for many in the world but for all the good we have done there is a nasty reverse side to it. The Gulf oil spill all by itself, widespread pollution, exhaustion of global resources, destruction of entire ecosystems, exploitation and economic enslavement of native peoples are all the nasty side effects so the American rich and middle-class can sit comfy and warm in their McMansions. Anyone with a sliver of a conscious should be seriously disturbed over the damages we cause pursuing the "American Dream." Although far too many in this country seem to think our material happiness is guaranteed in the Constitution.
As for American culture, lets just say anyone who thinks it has had any redeeming value, beyond the rare exception, for last forty years isn’t paying much attention. From the people I have talked too outside the United States, if anything bugs them more than the America crusade to spread democracy at the point of a gun it is the insidious spread of American culture with Big Macs, pop music, and loud action movies overwhelming everything else. It’s not a question of them hating anything American, its just that we have a habit of smothering everything else to death, just ask the closest Native American you can find.
After stumbling over the video below and remembering the conversations I have had with other people over the years, especially one in that Mexican bar I mentioned, I thought it would be funny for Americans to see the other side of things.
Mexico Builds Border Wall To Keep Out U.S. Assholes