This article was first published in The eXile on March 6, 2008.
In this post-Russian presidential election issue, while the righteous American editorialists wag their fingers at Russia’s farcical elections, we want to hold up a giant mirror (with loudspeaker attached) across the Atlantic and scream what every sane American has been thinking for nearly a decade now: We’re Embarrassed To Be Americans.
Don’t get us wrong. We’re ashamed not just because America is hypocritical or imperialistic or militaristic or bloodthirsty. Would that we were! If only it were still true, we’d shut our mouths and strut around the world, seizing our rightful booty the way booty-seeking citizens of “the most powerful empire in mankind’s history” (to use one neocon’s description in 2002) oughtta do.
It’s not that America is so evil and bloodthirsty, though it tries hard to be… it’s that America has become the world’s laughingstock, a flash-in-the-pan hyperpower, the Sigue Sigue Sputnik of empires, the Charles Bovary of Great Civilizations. The Bush years have made us so embarrassed to be Americans that even the shameful Carter Years look downright Roman by comparison.
We can already hear you hicks whining, “If yer so darned ashamed of bein’ Amer’can, whyn’tchoo just tern in yer passport then, yuh darned traitor.”
To which we reply, “Nope, we’re gonna keep our passports. We like the idea of wiping our asses on our passports, while at the same time enjoying all of the advantages that U.S. citizenship still affords us, few though they may be.” Nothing gives us more pleasure than hearing you pigs squeal “git the fugg outta my cuntree” cuz the thing is, we are out of your cuntree, and the other thing is, we’ll come back when we damn well feel like it, thanks to our passports, just because we wanna watch you idiots grow giant swarming ulcers at the sight of our ungrateful asses.
So folks—since Americans are all “folks” these days—hold on to your beta-blockers and your ACE inhibitors, because you’re about to face the unpleasant reality of Why You Should Be Ashamed Of Being American Too:
- Canadian dollar surpasses greenbackThose silly Canadians, remember how Americans used to laugh at them? How cute they looked when they’d resentfully mumble to visiting American tourists, “we’re American, too—you don’t own the name of our continent!” We did own it, though, which is why they were so cute, why they were so funny in all those South Park jokes. Canada was an almost-nation of almost-Americans with an almost currency called a “Canadian dollar,” which was cute, and always worth about 50 American cents. Then, on September 20, 2007, a day that will live in shamefamy, the Canadian dollar passed up the U.S. dollar. People from the United States officially lost their right to call themselves “Americans.” Now when we visit Canada we just say, “We’re from south of the border”—if we can afford to visit Canada, that is.Shame Factor:
- Baptist birthrate. According to recent stats, the U.S. birthrate is rising, and it’s rising fastest among Baptists and Mormons. It’s actually falling for Asians, the most promising demographic. But the dumbest, ugliest, meanest hicks on the planet are breeding like walking catfish, wriggling to new townhouse developments in the nastiest parts of the country like Nevada and Florida. We’ll end with Vegas and Fort Lauderdale shaking hands over the corpse of the last decent American, the pounding of the Tin Spike into the American cadaver.Jimmy Swaggert Factor:
- Fat is the new normal. Last year a Newsweek cover story asked the question, “Is Fat the New Normal?” At least the Nazi’s truth-inversions had a poetic evil about them. America’s truth inversions are just plain depressing. You people are gross, man.John Reed Factor. The fattists are reason enough to defect to Russia and glorify the “stability revolution,” which to us means, “A country where ‘thin’ is still ‘in.'”
- The Iran War Puss-Out. No country has fucked with America more brazenly than Iran has. They took dozens of American hostages in 1979, funded Hezbollah’s suicide bombing that killed 241 Marines, and now kill American soldiers in Iraq. The whole point of invading Iraq was to put Iran in a vise. But guess what? America doesn’t have enough military power to attack anymore. So we issued a National Intelligence Report saying Iran isn’t really such a big threat… Just like when Kim Jong Il set off his nukes and fired his missiles, we also pretended it was really not such a big deal. What we really said was, “White flag a-risin’!” Yup, “the world’s only superpower” is too weak, too broke, and too afraid to go to war against a primitive third-rate enemy that literally lives in the Dark Ages. The war against the Axis of Evil is over: two bullshit countries caused America to flinch and scream “Uncle!” without ever having to fire a shot.Adam Gadhan Factor: Real Americans like winners, which is why we’re growing out our beards and practicing our Farsi…
- Losing two wars at once. “Vietnam Syndrome” meant one thing: America suffered its first and only defeat in its 200-year history, and it didn’t know how to deal or what it meant. Then in the 90s, America got its George Foreman on, headed back into the war ring, and racked up some wins against, admittedly, a bunch of second-stringers. Enter the 21st-century, a new season, and America is heading into the final rounds of two concurrent defeats, against the two most laughable opponents on planet earth! We’re now the basement team, the doormat of the war league, the Glass Jawed white giant whose only purpose is to launch the careers of new up-and-comers! At least Germany’s 0-2 record came against worthy enemies… But to lose to Iraq and Afghanistan? With America pussing out of another two wars against Iran and North Korea, which we’ve all but forfeited with a default, our loss record is on the verge of a 0-4. We need to double-paper bag our heads over this one.Jane Fonda Factor: Our inner Hanoi Jane says, “Show us a fearsome Taliban mule that we can sit on for the Al Jazeera cameras, and we’ll be there with bells on!”
- Wes Anderson. No one should trigger a healthy nation’s gag reflex as often or as intensely as quirky-moment-machine Wes Anderson. For years we’ve fantasized about the ultimate slo-mo outro to a documentary called Wes Anderson & The Life Arctic: Anderson is placed on a small dinghy with the Wilson brothers (all three of ‘em) and Angelica Huston, then slowly descended from a pastel-colored Finnish ice-breaker. Just as the tears appear in Anderson’s horrified, frost-encrusted eyes, Abba’s “So Long” kicks in, drowning the group’s slow-motion screams for mercy. Anderson went from ass-clown status to the he-must-die list with 2007’s Darjeeling Limited, a vapid film even by his standards that doubled as an effortless insult to India. It’s the film equivalent of a frat boy carving his initials in the Taj Mahal. Anderson had the gall to dedicate the film to Satyajit Ray, who would have spat in Anderson’s face had he lived to enjoy the honor.Bernadine Dohrne Factor: Bring the War Home to Hollywood
- Populism. This is what America does in lieu of actually helping ordinary fuckin’ people: hugs on camera. No cash, but all the hugs you can eat, you lovable fat suckers. From the spread of fake Texas dialect like “you folks” to the comedy of plutocrats defending the middle class on TV while earning sums that the middle class can’t even fathom, populist sentimentality is the all-purpose lubricant, the WD-40, of winner-take-all capitalism. Engels’ remark that anti-Semitism is “the socialism of fools” needs to be updated to apply to American populist sentimentality. A million foreclosures and one televised barn-raising, aka Extreme Makeover, for the most pathetic telegenic family of losers the producers auditioned. There’s a bitter old saying, “They’d cut your head and give you a bandage.” That’s us, baby!Shame Factor:
- Seth McFarlane. It isn’t just that McFarlane’s Family Guy shamelessly plagiarizes from The Simpsons, nor is it just the endless cheap references to bad pop culture icons. Family Guy is much worse and much more evil than that: an anti-Simpsons antidote for zombies who want to get rid of the annoying buzz of vestigial decency in their rotting heads. They want that decency removed, and Family Guy does it non-stop, scene by scene, undoing the unwanted education all those Simpson episodes forced down their throats with a spoonful of sugar. McFarlane’s show reinforces their meanest, dumbest instincts. And it’s a huge hit.Nicholas Berg Factor: We would seriously consider converting to Islam if someone would slowly saw McFarlane’s head off while forcing him to sing the theme song to “Three’s Company,” complete with laugh track.
- Dodge/Chrysler. This company is like the android morph of the millions of fat dumb hick boys infesting America. Like them, it needed special help just to continue its bloated, destructive life. Chrysler has been on welfare since buyers noticed they could actually buy a decent car at a decent price by going Japanese. But instead of getting in shape and actually trying to produce decent cars, Chrysler bet everything it had that Americans are so utterly stupid and childish that they’d come back for huge shiny junkers that would look cool for a few thousand miles, then fall apart. And they were right. Seeing a pattern here?Shame Factor:
- Lame assassins. You hear a lot of stupid things these days. Take, for example, the truism that “Assassination doesn’t work.” Bullshit. It worked so well nobody even remembers. Un-kill Bobby Kennedy, and America’s entire history changes. Except you can’t un-kill people. All you can do is kill some of the monsters. It’s not that hard to do. Two bullets in the chest, one in the head, and Nixon will die, Attila the Hun will die, any damn human will die. The only problem is that all our assassins are idiots. The Unabomber came close; if he’d only killed more timber company lobbyists and left the useless professors to their dull fates, he’d have been a true hero. Will no one rid us of these lice? Is there a single Leftist with balls in this country?Sara Jane Moore Factor: The patron saint of inept assassins, Sara Jane Moore paved the way for slapstick morons like John Hinckley and a host of suicide-light-plane divers.
- The Loss of Latin America. So who’s the idiot that forgot to pay off the Palace Guards in Caracas in 2002? America is so inept that we can’t even pull off a coup in what FDR called “our little neighborhood down there.” Yeah, we managed to get Aristide out of there without breaking a sweat, but Haiti doesn’t count. It’s been our practice field for a century now, where we warmed up for the real coups. Ike and the Dulles brothers used to knock off Iranian and Central American regimes over slices of morning cantaloupe. Just eight years ago, the entire hemisphere save one pesky island was America’s to squeeze, and squeeze we did, while they begged for IMF handouts that only pulled them deeper into serfdom on our manor. Then Bush came to power and launched the most inept coup in American history against Chavez. And now all of Latin America has turned into a bunch of Castro-loving fags, welching on our IMF loans, and even inviting Ahmadinejad over for siestas and nationalization ceremonies. The title of a recent McClatchy article says it all: “Farewell to the Monroe Doctrine?” They might as well drop the question mark and fess up. There went the neighborhood a long time ago.Jimmy Carter Factor:
- Addiction Memoirs. No literary genre is more degraded and mawkish than the rehab memoir. No surprise then that no genre is more popular in today’s American than the rehab memoir. It’s a very reactionary, unimaginative genre in the contemporary American version, focusing on the big three crosses: drugs, drink and divorce. The only thing more idiotic than these rehab memoirs are the gullible idiots who buy them, as witnessed by the con jobs that half-assed hucksters like “JT LeRoy” and James Frey pulled off. Why are these books so popular? Simple: everyone wants to be a victim these days. Especially white middle-class urbanites. By becoming a drunk or an addict, you can become a temporary victim. If you’ve got a “sexual abuse” tale to throw in, then you’ve hit the victim jackpot—which is why all these rehab memoirs have to have a sex abuse episode. If you’re really clever, you can use your connections to get the thing published. If you don’t have connections but you want to sob with someone who supposedly understands your pain, then curl up with an Augusten Burroughs or David Sheff or some other wealthy well-connected pig, and let the sobbing flow.Jimmy Carters Factor:
Ellen! Look, ladies! It’s wacky, upbeat, afternoon Ellen, the human Wellbutrin XL. There she is on the counter-mounted kitchen tv, dressed in Florida hospice colors, pushing her audience to applaud for musicians—not because of their music, but because they have cancer! And there she is making Barack Obama dance to James Brown on national tv—twice! And Ellen’s dancing too! She’s so wacky and happy! And cancer-free! Unlike her guests, speaking of whom, give them another round! … Ellen Degeneres sucked as a second-rate comedian doing routines about “What If God Was a Woman?” Now she’s reinvented herself as a third-rate Oprah, a human plague on the body televique, with no cure in sight.
Patty Hearst Factor:
Benizir Bhutto-philia. She wasn’t Musharraf; she was a chic-dressed, porcelain-complexioned go-getter woman in a land teeming with wife-stoning darkies, and she spoke pro-American gibberish with an aristocratic Brit accent. She went to Oxford, and so does her son. To contemporary America, this means she must be Ghandi with tits, Mandela in a salwar kameez. So we encouraged her to return to take back Pakistan and rid it of all the dark-skinned non-English-speaking terrorists. We told her that we had back-side covered, and sent her off to Karachi where she got murdered faster than you can say “Mission Accomplished.” Bad for American geopolitics (but could they get worse?); however, great for Bhutto’s Gandhi-creds, creating a mini-Diana media boomlet that sent Bhutto’s quickie autobiography into the bestseller charts. It took a cool and collected Brit, William Dalrymple, to disturb the cocktail party with a Times op-ed that reminded mourners of Benizir’s very un-Gandhi-like death squads, her longtime role as Pakistan’s Jihadi paymaster, and her crushing of any opposition to her rule.
Angelina Jolie Factor: Four adopted dark kids. Jolie’s a shoe-in to play Bhutto in the upcoming biopic. While filming, Jolie will also adopt a Pakistani orphan, and name him “Benizira.”
CNN is “liberal.” American news has become so shamelessly propagandistic and idiotic that today, a blatant White House propaganda tool like CNN is considered “liberal” simply because it’s gotten a wee bit squeamish over the whole Iraq debacle, as compared to FOX, which, like the gang in Hitler’s bunker, is still issuing cheerful dispatches about inevitable victory in Iraq. Then there’s Lou Dobbs, the guy with the freakish child molester face who transformed himself from neoliberal “New Economy” tool into a sleazy Mexican-bashing rat. This is what passes for a “liberal media” in the United Embarrassment of America.
Susan Sarandon’s Breasts Factor: We suckle the anti-American milk out of 3 of Sarandon’s breasts as an antidote to CNN’s toxins.
Low-ball American Corruption. In Russia, if you want to buy a vote, you’ve got to pay a Duma politician about a million bucks. In America, if you want a Congressman to legislate a $5 billion tax break for your company, all you have to do is fly him to a golf course in some damp shithole like Scotland, and those $5 billion tax payer dollars are yours.
Trendy pseudo-hyper-self-consciousness. How many times have you heard an American use this preface: “I know it’s a cliche to say this. And I know it’s a cliche to say that it’s a cliche to say this… but [ENTER CLICHE HERE].” Translated: “I know I am a waste of this planet’s limited oxygen supply, but I’m going to suck in a few more lungfulls of your precious air than usual in order to lull you into a false sense of hope before I expel a lethal cloud of hokey idiocies, flooring you once again.”
Adam Gadhan Factor: There’s only one way to shut up a pseudo-self-conscious reference-dropping David Eggers type, and that’s to cut off their preface with a big loud “Allahu Akhbar!”
The Ongoing Insane Southwest Building Boom. Exactly how many more years of extended drought and water/electricity shortages do Americans need before they stop building in the doomed Southwest? 14? 27? Will it take total Civilizational collapse like the kind Jim Kunstler sees right around the corner from the latest Scottsville condo project? The Dust Bowl is the new normal; the Colorado River is shrinking. Already states are fighting each other in court for access to dwindling water supplies, mirroring intra-state conflicts between agriculture and the cities. But still they keep building air-conditioned houses with lawns, even though the grids are already snapping during 110+ degree nights, killing all the old people who keep retiring there like it’s 1966. The slow death of golf won’t come soon enough to save the desert states. Vegas will make one hell of a ruin.
Shame Factor: A plague of knit-capped hippies on all of you swine!
World’s Largest Prison Population. The dollar may be crashing below even joke currencies like the Kazakh tenge, but when it comes to jailing our poor, we’re still #1 with a bullet. More than two and a quarter million Americans—one out of every 100—are doing some form of time. Yup, when it comes to putting our citizens in prison, we kick the authoritarian crap out of repression stars like Russia and China. The U.S. also is riding high in the state-murder competition saddle, lagging only behind Pakistan, Sudan, China, and a few other beacons of liberty in the capital punishment competition. But hey, it’s working! Americans don’t kill each other in Wendy’s restaurants or college campuses anymore, no siree! Welcome to the United States of Visiting Hours. Please keep your hands away from the plexiglass.
Third World-like Political Nepotism. Bullshit countries with bullshit currencies elect wives and sons to run their countries simply because the population hasn’t developed beyond medieval monarchy thinking. The Philippines elected the widowed wife of a slain democracy leader. Argentina elected the wife of a former president (and hailed the wife of a former dictator). America came late to the “we’re medieval-brained morons and we’re proud of it!” parade, starting in 2000, when America annointed the recessive-gene-damaged son of a failed one-term president into the White House. It was so great that he was reelected, while in Congress, at least 18 senators, dozens of House members and several administration officials were family legacies, leading the Washington Post to declare that the US government “resembles the court of Louis XIV without the powdered wigs.” This year, Americans are working on electing the wife of the president before the recessive-gene son. She may fail, but Americans are a hard-working lot, so don’t be surprised if by 2020 America finally catches up to the Philippines and Argentina and other third-world shitholes by electing the first ex-leader’s wife to lead them
Michelle Obama Factor: Three and a half. Fox and CNN should be forced to loop 2 weeks straight of Michelle Obama’s “for the first time in my life I was proud to be an American” speech into every American’s living room.
William Kristol. We’re not sure what we’re most ashamed of: the systemic nepotism responsible for the retardocon’s success; the major newspaper that recently hired him in the alleged spirit of “balance”; or the small amount of pleasure we derive from reading his atrocious prose and lame-ass attempts at “high” cultured diction to Manhattan-up his hard-hitting conservatism? Kristol’s last Times column saw him take a break from massaging John McCain’s nipples to gently stroke the fresh corpse of William F. Buckley. After plugging his prep school in the first line (Collegiate, 1970) Kristol falls back on the use of Latin phrases and Victorian poets to escape from his troubles with English and sound better educated than he is. How ashamed does it make us that moron like Kristol is taken seriously? Put it this way: he makes us appreciate the wit and genius of William Safire.
Alan Berg Factor: Three shots ring out in the capitol’s cool dark night.
American women’s voices. The anchor-lady monotone all American women have spent the last 20 years perfecting, so that all American women, no matter what they’re saying, sound like they’re reading the 10 p.m. newscast at a Midwestern midsize TV station summing up the day’s stock market activity. Is there any other nation on earth infested with 150 million women who talk like transvestites with back hair?
Paul Thomas Anderson.
The other Anderson in the “Axis of Hackdom,” Paul 3-Names wowed the Beigeocracy by–get this–holding extra-long shots on his actors as they have internal moments. Yup, in a country gone totally stupid, all you gotta do is walk out of the edit room for 10 minutes, and suddenly Rolling Stone stands and cheers your “rule-busting experimentation” while Roger Ebert creams that PTA’s film is a, “A force beyond categories.” Of course, Ebert also raved about Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love, “[Adam] Sandler, liberated from the constraints of formula, reveals unexpected depths as an actor. Watching this film, you can imagine him in Dennis Hopper roles. He has darkness, obsession and power.”
Jimmy Carter Factor:
The War on Drugs. The shame here is mitigated only slightly by the fact that public support is finally crumbling for the Prohibition gravy train. But you can still see anti-pot ads on American television cut from the same hemp cloth as the original Reefer Madness campaign that made shitty Mexican weed the gateway to Negro jazz musicians bending America’s innocent daughters over a snare drum. The funny-sad thing is these ads are crammed between plugs for pharmaceutical drugs featuring animated butterflies and permanent sunsets on the beach. If the Office of National Drug Control Policy had a gram for every lie it ever told to justify WoD budgets, they’d make the Medellin cartel look like the BookMobile.
America’s “Post-Racist” Delusion. Barak Obama may have a lot of detractors both among Republicans and Democrats, but if there’s one thing all Americans can agree on, it’s that Obama’s rise to political stardom means that Americans are no longer racist. Yeah, right, and Uzbek jet pilots might fly out of our butts. When one of America’s most painful issues, its racist history, is allegedly solved because white people vote for a moderate-conservative Wall Street black guy with male-magazine looks and a CNN voice which utters words carefully steering away from anything about the whole race issue that might upset people–in other words, every white American’s Dream Negro–then all we can say is, like the midget lady in Poltergeist, “This house is clean.” CUT TO: thunder, lightening, and suddenly the earth shakes as hundreds of millions of ghosts rise from the Red States, shocking pollsters, who were sure Obama was going to win!
Howard Zinn Factor:
This article was first published in The eXile on March 6, 2008.
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