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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sweet Jesus, I Hate America

And so would Jesus. So you'd better hope the Jews are right and that Jesus isn't coming back or 350,000,000 of us will have some fast 'splainin' to do on Judgment Day.

When I look around me, at this once-great nation, I think of Ambrose Bierce's definition of "resident": Unable to leave. The same could apply to most citizens whose economic legs have been broken and banking bastinado has hobbled us from leaving this sinking ship, this burning blimp of a country. And I'd leave it in a New York minute if I could.

Once I make my first million dollars, I'm going to buy a pub in the Irish countryside and look out the window to the green rolling hills while listening to drunks sing until the wee hours. Or maybe I'll buy a mansion in Manila and hire a Filipino houseboy like Jack London and maybe he'll call me, as did London's, "Mr. God." Or perhaps I'll move to France just to piss off the Republicans and eat pom frites until my arteries get harder and more brittle than crack pipes while thinking of Freedom Fries. At least I'll have one of the best health care systems in the world to care for me.

Virtually anything, sweet blue-eyed Jesus, anything would be better than what we have going on here. And why do I hate you idiots so much? Gee, let me count the motherfucking ways:

We live in a country in which super twinks like Justin Bieber and Youtube's Shane Dawson have sucked up 90% of the interest on the internet, in which it's virtually guaranteed that at any time of the day or night, the top trending topic on Yahoo or Twitter will be celebrity-related. This is because we care more about who Tiger Woods is fucking than who Goldman Sachs or BP or our own government is rear-ending.

We live in a country where huge segments of the population still believe that Saddam had WMDs, that we still belong in Iraq and Afghanistan, that America was founded on Christian principles yet still can't enumerate the five basic freedoms granted us by the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. A large segment of conservatives actually believe that Barack Obama is the anti-Christ and almost half of us, despite the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, still support offshore oil drilling. A huge state like California thought it was more important to deny same sex couples the right to marry than to tackle the state's huge budgetary shortfall or to address the looming water crisis.

We live in a country in which we had somehow miraculously transitioned from barbarism to decadence without the usual interregnum of civilization. We don't have civilization and never had. We've invaded more nations just in my own lifetime than Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and Japan had combined. Our intelligence community and our "liberal" administration targets American citizens and others for assassination without due process. Our tax dollars pay for this and other war crimes yet we're eerily OK with this.

And it only stands to reason that such a materialistic, imperialistic nation wouldn't have a culture of its own. Culture? Make me laugh. We don't have culture, we have a hyperactive consumerism. Men and women of actual talent, people who had been able to raise themselves from the muck and mire of our pathetic public school system to write books of their own get ignored every day or dismissed with form rejection letters while air-headed douchebags like Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber get body-tackled by celebrity-chasing literary agents and signed to $7,000,000 deals for books they don't and can't even write. Then they sign them to more and put them on TV more often than the test patterns that are more informative. Who cares that they're ghost-written by partisan hacks and racists and are more filled with lies than the Bible that tens of millions of us take literally? Talent alone is no longer even on an agent's or editor's list of priorities. The short list of priorities consists of one word: Sales.

We live in a nation in which our children have committed to memory every song lyric by Slipknot or Metallica but can't recall a single line by any of the Romantic poets and perhaps even Shakespeare. We prostrate ourselves before the red-carpeted altar of celebrity, willingly fleeced by the corporations that have created them without once realizing that we the unwashed masses would be tasered if we ever put one hand across that velvet rope.

Because we have been marginalized, criminalized and scrutinized by those with more money and property who loathe and fear us. And we're perfectly OK with that.

You make me sick, America, sick enough to puke up everything I've ever ingested since 1959. Never in my historical readings and in all my erudition have I ever seen a nation that wasted so much of its potential in such a relatively short span of time.

And yet you still cling like stubborn sin to the biennial belief that we wield fractional, momentary power every even-numbered year and that we actually elect officials who will represent us. Well, I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, comrades, but for every Alan Grayson and Dennis Kucinich there are approximately 433 other corporate zombies who have a less than representative agenda.

It used to be that Congress had outsourced its legislation to corporations such as the HMOs and the lending racket but actually it's the opposite that's true: It's the corporations who have outsourced their agenda to a Congress that plainly works for them. Think about how many millions of us have to sign petitions, make phone calls, send faxes, emails and letters just to get the begrudging attention of a Congressman. Think it takes a million Lloyd Blankfeins or Ken Lays to get that same congressman's attention? It takes only one because those are the individuals they represent, the individuals that the Supreme Court made of corporations.

We live in a nation in which a man can get years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family because, since Reagan, we'd found it easier and more expedient to criminalize and vilify poverty than to address the causes of it. But when the already-wealthy rig the gaming table that is Wall Street and cripple the housing market and tank the economy to make a few billion more, they get to negotiate with the SEC in climate-controlled rooms and no one ever talks about criminal charges let alone jail time.

Then when we were told by our "representatives" that we the people have to bail out these same corporations that helped cost us 8-12 million jobs and cause millions of foreclosures, instead of rising up in a quivering, blood-curdling fury on Pennsylvania Avenue or Wall Street, we merely change the channel and see if Britney Spears is wearing her underwear today. And it's up to the racist, post-literate Tea Baggers to do our protesting for us.

And we're OK with this, huh?

You fucking zombies don't deserve the democracy that your forefathers died to give you in Valley Forge, on the Lexington Bridge, in the streets of Boston. Why do I say that? Because nations, younger nations, nations who haven't had time to get spoiled by the illusion of freedom, nations like Iran, Kenya and Mexico rose up and openly rioted, and died, in the streets defending the democracy they knew had been stolen from them. We threw a few eggs at George W. Bush's limousine on January 20, 2001 and then went home and called it a good day's work.

God, I fucking loathe you and everything you don't stand for. Every time I hear Jimi Hendrix's rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" at Woodstock, Picasso's Guernica set to music, when the colors red, white and blue melted off the flag as in an acid trip and dribbled down the sewers of Main Street, every time I think of those Wah-wahed, tortured distortions it becomes clearer to me why he did it.

It was Jimi's mournful keen for an America he once knew, an America for which he would've fought as a paratroop in the 101st Screaming Eagles. It was Jimi's not very pretty obituary for an America to which we'd once aspired and had almost attained, a nation of such tremendous bounty, such potential for good.

Yet even as we drown in goods and are bombarded by services ranging from mortgage refinancing for homes we no longer own to lengthening our penises, we still produce less and less because all the jobs have been outsourced overseas. Despite supporting two losing and unwinnable wars, we have never had to sacrifice one teaspoon of sugar, candy bar or pair of nylons, have never once orchestrated one rubber, paper or scrap iron drive to support these war efforts. Almost 6000 families notwithstanding, We the People have sacrificed... nothing.

Well, I'm not OK with this. And while my emigration from this country will not change anything and few will care and none will remember, I think it's only important to enumerate my reasons for doing this if given the first available opportunity.

Our bought-and sold government is corrupt to the core, our sociopathic corporations are corrupt, our so-called culture is corrupted and talent, virtue and righteousness are punchlines.

First chance I get, I'm outta here in a New York minute, just me and my own, before I'm forced into a situation when, as H.L. Mencken visualized, I spit on my hands, raise the black flag and commence the slitting of throats.

America, America, America you perfumed and styling-gelled nation of pigs and sheep, I'm fucking through with you.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...
When you put it like that, it seems sort of fucked.

Glad I'm an expatriate and only have to worry about enough employed to pay my disability. So far that seems to be going good.

PS A third world portion of a second world country makes Ireland look like a dung heap. I like it when my specialists take me to the head of the line at the best hospital in the country at 2 AM.

Anonymous mandt said...
Damn....blown away. Howl Ginsberg Howl----all so true ---then and now.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wonderful article. I'm so glad someone had the guts to say it and say it so well.!!
I am 83 years old and still remember my dad, who emigrated from Russia, being so proud to be here in America. Not many of us who think are proud today.

Blogger jurassicpork said...
Thanks, Grandma Hussein. I have to wonder what the older generations, the generations of my grandfathers and great grandfathers who'd fought in both World Wars would think of the country the way it is now.

I don't think they'd be any more approving of it than I am.

Anonymous Charlie O said...
Unfortunately, I wholeheartedly agree with you. However, I think the sad thing is that American are just plain stupid. They lack intellectual curiosity about damn near everything. That's why so many of them loved the last president.

Anonymous Gabriella said...
Jill, this exact editorial could have been written 40 years ago in 1970. Regarding your complaint about Justin Bieber and Shane Dawson (whoever the hell HE is!)---you're clearly over-reacting.
And you write that "kids nowadays" know Metallica song lyrics but don't read Shakespeare. I heard the same complaint 40 years ago---except back then parents hated the Rolling Stones' song lyrics. And what have the Rolling Stones become? Rich, complacent billionaire dudes living in their English country estates and certainly NOT a threat to the world.
You obviously don't have children. If you did, you'd know that countless young people in their 20's are working hard, doing well and have some amazing ideas and plans for the future. They're fearless. They don't have the phobias and prejudices we grew up with and they're not afraid to question authority. Remember, our own parents, from the World War II generation, NEVER questioned authority.
Jill, you sound like the grumpy, angry and jealous parents I remember from 1970 who said teenagers were lazy and immoral, and that society was going to the dogs.
So many people back then threatened to leave the United States, claiming it was a horrible country with digusting, worthless and decadent people. But we survived and did something wonderful not too long ago---we elected our first black President, 40 years after RFK was assasinated.
Jill, that's a remarkable accomplishment. And when you complain about the younger generation, their music, their so-called apathy and their ignorance---remember, our parents said the EXACT same thing about us.
And if you "escape" to another country, you'll find some sort of repression there, too. There is no perfect country or society on earth. Human nature is the same all over the world. There are good people and bad people everywhere.
Enough of this "get off my lawn" crap. Get to know some people in their 20's and 30's...you might like some of them.
And remember---during the years between 1967 and 1972, the "older generation" said WE were stupid, worthless and lazy. But guess what? We're not and neither is the younger generation of today.

Blogger Jill said...
Hey, Gabriella, I'm not the author of this post, though I don't disagree with much of it.

I think you're being a little too defensive. JP wasn't doing a "You damn kids get off my lawn" post. There's nothing generational about it, other than the Jimi Hendriz reference.

In my experience, there are as many people my age as younger people (and possibly more) who are the shallow, incurious, willful morons that JP writes about above. Most of the teabaggers are older.

As for knowing people in their 20's and 30's, well, I know a bunch of 'em. You see, I have no kids, and when you have no kids, you can delude yourself for a long time that you're still cool. My dearest friend at work is just barely 30. She beats me in the maturity game hands down, she's smart as a whip, and despite a crusty exterior, she has a heart of gold. I adore her and I'd go to the mat for her. She's progressive and passionate and I only wish there were more of her.

Go back and read JP's post. Then tell me where the generational angle is, because the only one I see here is yours.

Anonymous Gabriella said...
What I wanted to say is, the author of this article (NOT you!) sounds exactly like the old fogies I remember from 40 years ago. She claims people are now obsessed with shallow topics, such as whether Britney Spears is wearing underwear. No one cares about THAT anymore. She claims young people don't read literature and only think about rock music. (Geez....never heard THAT one before, right!) The generational angle is this----she has the same hatred, bitterness and anger that our parents had. She's a bitter and negative woman, the kind of person who, 40 years ago, hated the "hippies" and yearned for the so-called good old days.
And if this woman does leave America---well, she's not going to find the perfect utopian society ANYWHERE, especially in Ireland--where there is plenty of prejudice, religious superstition and anti-gay hatred.
Still, people like her always threaten to leave, but they never do. They just continue complaining, without offering any solutions. I'm disturbed by her level of hatred and anger. True progressives work to change society. They don't bitch, complain, condemn and then run away.

Anonymous Dave W. said...
I recognize that this is a rant, but I've got to question the literal accuracy of We've invaded more nations just in my own lifetime than Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and Japan had combined.

By my count, the Axis invaded at least 24 nations, and the number is only that low because so many of the places Japan invaded were colonies or protectorates of Western powers:
The Netherlands
Lithuania (first invaded by USSR),
Latvia (ditto)
Estonia (ditto)
Egypt (recognized as independent by Britain in the 1920s)
Thailand (later allied with Japan)
U.S. (Wake, Guam, Dutch Harbor, and the Philippines)
British Commonwealth.

In contrast, while I don't know how old you are, I count the following as countries invaded by the US since 1950:

Dominican Republic
Bosnia/Kosovo (arguable, mostly bombing)

I'm not counting Korea and Vietnam, as these were in support and invitation of South Korean/South Vietnamese governments (if we count such actions, I'd have to add a bunch of countries to the Axis list). Haiti was a threatened invasion in support of Aristide that didn't actually invade. Lebanon was part of an international force intervention during a civil war. Cuba (Bay of Pigs) and El Salvador were proxy invasions that didn't involve direct US troops. I don't think various bombing raids/Predator attacks count as "invasions," nor do minor interventions to evacuate civilians from areas of civic unrest. Even with a pretty generous view of what constitutes an "invasion," it still looks like less than half the Axis total. What else are you counting?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I would list in the 20th Century. All the wars and proxy wars the US got involved in or started as blood on America's hands. Do any of you remember what went on in El Salvador? That CIA agents taught and participated in rape, torture and murder. I knew a 12 year old girl who had White Phosphorous doused all over her because she was supposedly a "communist". That's the America I know--a death squad loving torturing raping shithole of arrogance and greed. Since 1948, the US has been constantly supporting, aiding, or starting a war somewhere in the world. The US government has been constantly involved in war for over sixty years. The Pentagon spends enough money to feed every starving person in Africa for the next hundred years or more. The US has pissed away its energy, talent and strength for an illusion of power.

Even know our Pentagon planners plot a thing they call "Full Spectrum Dominance". They believe the US government has the right not just to military dominance on earth, but in outer space as well. If you don't believe me look up "full spectrum dominance". It's not even a secret.

One imperialist power kills just as much as the next, but the US WILL be the bad guys in the next world war. This war will be started by the US.

A majority of people in the US never supported Bush, or Reagan, or the Iraq War. Like good humane Israelis they got ignored and shouted down by the flag waving bullies and treated as a minority when they were the majority.

People hate history because it tells them things they don't want to hear.

The US invaded Mexico about seventeen times!!! Our schools don't teach this. Mexicans remember this fact oddly enough. Our regime even tried to invade Canada once. Our regime sent troops to the USSR during their civil war to support the White Armies, who were so hated that they lost the support of our own officer corps stationed there. Anywhere you plant a base, or have troops or engage in a "police action". If you establish a permanent military base in Bosnia, bomb Serbia back one hundred years in a month for trying to protect the territorial integrity of their own borders and set up permanent military bases to launch other wars that's an invasion.

People don't hate for no reason. One thing I learned in psychology is that hate is usually earned. One can misdirect anger towards others, but the anger exists for a reason, not because of the irrationality of the one who hates. To me anyone who defends the US defends death squad rapist torturers of Central America as well. You can't separate the good from the bad. It all goes together.

After a while you get tired of lies and distortions of truth put forward by patriots who willfully forget the things they don't want to remember. After a while you start saying to yourself, "I hate my country. It deserves to be hated. People who don't like it can kill me or they can piss off."