Doing battle with daily dragons

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Un-American Activities

I like to think I know a parody when I encounter one. I like to think that my brain is highly developed enough to detect the whiff of someone who is trying to yank my chain. In my early morning web browsings (which are about sophisticated as sitting in front of the TV in my pants) I stumbled upon a little piece of anti-American bile by a charmingly hateful UK resident called Limey. Here is an excerpt from one of his well-informed little diatribes.

Don't you just hate Americans? Everything about them is so utterly crass, so second-rate – from the sloppy way they dress to their junk food and whinging nasal twang. If only they’d leave us alone. But, being Yanks, they won’t, or can't. To a man – even, it seems, to a woman – their sole aim in life is to turn us into Uncle Sams.

Now I don't generally rise to basic ignorance, but it occurs to me that Mr. Limey and Mr. Kilroy-Silk might have one or two things in common. (At the very LEAST, extreme xenophobia. As far as the startlingly orange skin, it’s difficult to make that out from his writing style, but, out of spite, I’ll say he sounds like a good candidate for the “I’ve Been Tangoed” brigade. I’ll bet the words “asylum seekers” are part of his daily vocabulary too.)

If anyone on the planet wants to point accusing fingers at the White House, American foreign policy, our environmental track record, or religious extremism, hell, I’ll be right behind you. I’ll even find you some rocks to throw if you want me too. But Mr. Limey has never met an American. If he ever decides to go and seek one out, I’ll tell you what he’d discover.

When my friend and I found ourselves in a brand new city near Thanksgiving, we were determined to make a meal, but had a niggling doubt in the backs of our heads that we might a) poison ourselves or b) burn down our apartment complex. But, out of the blue, we received an invitation to dinner from two complete strangers, who knew only that we were two new folks in the area who had no family to go to for Thanksgiving. I could write this whole blog about complete strangers who put themselves out for my sake, just because they thought it was the right thing to do. In America, the words “community” and “neighborly” are not hollow punchlines. They are watchwords. The guy sitting next to me on the bench in the airport is my neighbor. We take people to our bosoms instantly; we don’t hold them at arm’s length until a suitable period for intimacy has elapsed. You’re new here? Come to my house. Meet my family. Be PART of my family.

Hell, I’d even invite Mr. Limey over for dinner if he felt he could get past my sloppy way of dressing and my whinging nasal twang.

The second part of his diatribe is slightly more amusing and bucketloads sillier.

Sadly, here in the United Kingdom it’s working all too well. Monopoly control of film distribution and cheap TV series ensure American ‘culture’ is everywhere. The result? Massive sales of Levi jeans, MacDonalds burgers, Ford and GM cars, Starbucks coffee, Budweiser beer, Jack Daniel’s whiskey, Dell and Macintosh computers – you name it. And all, in the end, to the detriment of our own native culture.

I just wanted to make sure of something; Have any of you Brits out there ever felt like drinking a Budweiser or shots of Jack (although I know most of the hairy rockers that read this blog probably drink straight out of the bottle!) was an assault on your Britishness rather than your sobriety? Have any of you designer types ever felt a pang of national disloyalty switching on your Apple Mac? Has your ass ever felt less patriotic when covered by Levi denim? Ever feel the disapproving glare of St. George when biting into a Big Mac? Has the “Star Wars" franchise ever stopped a Guy Fawkes night celebration? Is a Mustang ever going to keep a village fete, with all of it’s terrier races and giant vegetable growing contests from happening? Will a cup of Starbucks Coffee overthrow the Houses of Parliament?

I feel slightly uncomfortable attacking the Limester, to be honest, as I am unable to read his articles in their entirety due to Blogit’s pay-to-read policy. But anyone with a blog entitled “Don’t You Just Hate Americans?” is going to have to deal with any little bits of education that I choose to throw in this direction.