Thursday, July 10, 2008

Don't Think I Don't Know That All You People Hate America and That This Post Is Making Me Even Less Fashionable Than I Already Am

By Caroline Wood

I have powerful feelings about America,

mostly, but not exclusively, because I believe that I strongly resemble John Adams. Although not everyone can boast that their face proclaims "Amerika!" quite like mine, each one of us can surely muster the self-respect and intellect to acknowledge the fact that we are living in a nation-state without European peer, whose dimensions, in both sheer buffoonery and opportunity for Greatness, comic potential and subcultural explosion, register on a scale no parliament, however creative, could conjure.

Gertrude Stein, one of our many sage yet benighted expatriates, mused that we should only value what is truly good or frankly bad, never wasting our time on the compromised, the lukewarm, or the face-savingly mediocre. If only she had seen the wisdom of her own words. Who could argue that America isn't, at various times and in a multitude of ways, frankly and egregiously bad? And yet despite such comically shameless turpitude, is it not also obvious that America is truly good at heart, trusting, naive, and foolish in a way that only the benightedly good can be?

Britain, on the other hand, is nothing, is the epitome of lukewarm; aloof and noncommital, she is afraid of success and ashamed of failure. Pasty and weak, like her people, she is spent and world-weary. Such dry apathy may be popular badge for a sardonicist, who is so hopelessly giftless, so ineluctably burdened by the past, that he has no choice but to mock what he cannot create. But it makes a poor credential for a human being.

Oh, it is not my intention to win over Brits; quite the opposite. I loathe and pity those who refuse to invest in their own place of citizenship, believing, or choosing to humor themselves, with the sad delusion that doting love of particular television programs, hairdos, or public transportation systems can in any way replace real life. Rejecting the serious issues of their country and replacing them with minor obsessions over soft drink brands and clothing sizes, these dilettantes have neutralized any power, any legitimacy they may have once possessed and have transformed themselves into mass-media megaphones, tragic gaping zeros empty of rational thought or useful action.

If you want to wed another lifestyle, motherland, political system, and worldview, by all means, do so, but do so with passion. Manage to contribute something to her culture, since you refuse to engage your own. Work to end her problems, since you are afraid of your own. Find a historical figure who is your doppelganger, since you have abandoned your own.

1 comment:

Rieti Gengo said...

While I, like the other Miss Wood, am a staunch anglophile, I commend you for being so eloquently fabulous. Yes, I said it - you're fabulous!