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You have become a nation of monsters, America. Hypocrites. Murderers. Fools.
August 17, 2002 7:19 PM   Subscribe

You have become a nation of monsters, America. Hypocrites. Murderers. Fools. A letter by a Canadian published in the Baltimore Chronicle to all Americans. Is this merely displaced anger; a worthless rant, or does this feeling come from a more real problem?
posted by Hall (145 comments total)

 
Worthless rant. Next...
posted by techgnollogic at 7:23 PM on August 17, 2002


Or, like the "Damn, America is Great" thing from last year, is it actually 15 years old? :-)
posted by baylink at 7:24 PM on August 17, 2002


well. he found us out.
posted by jcterminal at 7:27 PM on August 17, 2002


Sometimes I forget that newspapers had trolls long before the internet did, but then things like this come along and remind me.

There are a lot of canucks (myself included) who are scared by the doings and goings-on in the US right now, but how come this loon is the only one that gets national media attention?
posted by krunk at 7:29 PM on August 17, 2002


America, you are a goddamn shame.

He didn't even mention Jerry Springer.
posted by hama7 at 7:30 PM on August 17, 2002


Other than the Israel/Palestine thing, about which I couldn't care less, this echoes my feelings about America today pretty damn well. It amazes me daily how the American people, who I love, have let their once-great nation slip into the dire state it is in, and let their unelected 'leadership' drive it further into the ground.

I can't believe that Americans don't rise up and drive your greedy, lying, scumbag leaders out of the halls of power at the points of your beloved guns, before they destroy what good is left.

And I can't believe that the sort of reaction displayed by techgnollogic, in the face of massive worldwide fear, anger and often outright loathing of what America has become, even among your closest neighbours and friends, is to dismiss it out of hand.

I love Americans. But your nation is becoming, as described in the open letter, monstrous.

This comment may be perceived as a troll. It is not, or not intended as such. Is something a 'troll' when it's heartfelt? You need to wake up, America. The shattering and horrific wake-up call from last September wasn't enough to do it, clearly ('Let's bomb some people! That'll make it all better!') so I don't know what will. I pray that it isn't the death of more innocent people, in America or elsewhere.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:37 PM on August 17, 2002


I've felt like this fellow for a while now. sure, it maybe troll-like in nature, but he has a point.
posted by mcsweetie at 7:45 PM on August 17, 2002


The all-around tone has a nice mellifluous homogeneity of belligerence about it, but I'm afraid the references to secret Kennedy-killing cabals and good, old reliable Nader lend a sort of pot/kettle quality to the charges of intellectual depletion. And no mention of the Tri-lateral commission?

Must go, my 12 free Big Macs I got for helping Monsanto defoliate the hinterlands are just now being delivered by an oppressed coolie...

Canada? I may have to do some reading...
posted by umberto at 7:50 PM on August 17, 2002


"When did you stop caring, America? Was it after your own FBI and intelligence agencies plotted the murder of President John F. Kennedy? Or is this just the raving lunacy of the conspiracy nut?"

Well, I wasn't going to be the one to point it out, but since he so graciously did it himself...
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:51 PM on August 17, 2002


Wow ... that guy is almost critical enough of America to be ... an American.
posted by MidasMulligan at 7:54 PM on August 17, 2002


Missed that JFK bit. My tinfoil hat must've slipped over my eyes for a second...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:56 PM on August 17, 2002


Stop the presses: an insane conspiracy has nut has written a screed of blanket condemnation, stated in the most general terms possible.

His point, if it can be called that, is that apparently the American government is actually a puppet of the dark lord G. W. Sauron. His evil will is so bent upon world domination that he will set off a nuke in an American city (one way or another) to justify complete military conquest of everything.

Uh.

Whatever.
posted by kavasa at 8:01 PM on August 17, 2002


It's too bad he comes across as a kook because he has quite a few interesting points.
posted by ashbury at 8:04 PM on August 17, 2002


Linking to a book by a right Canadian criticizing Canada means just as much to me as a letter from a left Canadian criticizing Canada means to you.

I'm not saying you shouldn't or can't post it. I just don't want you thinking you made a good point or so mething.

Yeah the letter's belligerent, but everything W.R. McDougal said about my government sounds dead on to me. Not all Americans are fat and stupid though of course, just like not all Canadians are boring wusses.
l
posted by Slimemonster at 8:05 PM on August 17, 2002


*something!0
posted by Slimemonster at 8:07 PM on August 17, 2002


Ad hominem attack. Most of this letter's bile is directed at the U.S. government. I didn't vote for Bush and don't support his policies. I'm looking forward to 2004, when I have a chance to vote against him.

Why then, if not to piss me off, is the letter calling me a part of a nation of monsters, hypocrites, murderers and fools? Stavros, your comment isn't a troll. The original letter linked to is -- because I can't believe it's designed to change anyone's mind. It's clearly meant to inflame and anger, and to what constructive end?

Rather than march on Washington, I prefer to write and call my representatives and donate to causes and political groups that I support.

If you don't like our government, fine. (Neither do I.) But don't fire a condescending rhetorical missile at me.
posted by Vidiot at 8:07 PM on August 17, 2002


Sounds like the work of a right-wing agent provocateur, or at least it would if I hadn't heard some of the same crap from various leftie nutcases.

It's clearly a worthless rant. Frankly, it hurts the more sensible versions of the causes he espouses.
posted by sexualchocolate at 8:08 PM on August 17, 2002


...all the spineless wimps who constitute your mainstream news media.
i'm falling in love with this guy...
posted by quonsar at 8:16 PM on August 17, 2002


Am I the only one who thinks that the world and the US has been getting progressively better instead of this infinite hell in a handbasket thing that everybody's been complaining about for... I dunno, since 1776?

Seems to me, "The Good Ol Days" were pretty shitty.
posted by Stan Chin at 8:17 PM on August 17, 2002


Ditto quonsar.
Seriously, this guy might be obnoxious, but he makes plenty of good points. America does have a lousy environmental record, a huge number of American's are disturbingly fat, our loss of constituional rights due to the "war on terror", etc.

On preview: the good old days may have been shitty, but things are going down hill at an alarming rate.
posted by Grod at 8:23 PM on August 17, 2002


Well, Slimey, you caught me out. I googled up the first canadian trouble I could find that didn't have the word "puck" in it. And to point out that anyone can bitch and probably will.
posted by umberto at 8:26 PM on August 17, 2002


"a huge number of American's are disturbingly fat"

Yeah, this American's is almost painfully fat, or so the ladies say.

Apostrophe jihad!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:34 PM on August 17, 2002


Yeah, he's ranting and raving - but don't fool yourselves - I suspect that this letter represent the feelings of a lot of people around the world.
posted by stevengarrity at 8:37 PM on August 17, 2002


Arrrgh! I know, I know, no apostrophe's for plural's.
posted by Grod at 8:40 PM on August 17, 2002


Don't sweat it, Grod. I kid because I love.

stevengarrity, which part? The guy's all over the map here. I'm sure if you took any one paragraph you could find someone who agrees with it, but the letter in its entirety? I'm guessing it's a pretty select group that agrees with the whole thing.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:46 PM on August 17, 2002


Do not confuse the "nation" with the people that live there.

I, for one, certainly did not vote for the criminal currently in charge of this fiasco we call "america."
posted by jaded at 8:58 PM on August 17, 2002


Farts in Mr. McDougall's general direction.
Why do they hate us?
Oh, yeah. Never mind.

posted by StOne at 8:59 PM on August 17, 2002


Cry. me. a. fucking. river.

You have become a nation of monsters, America. Hypocrites. Murderers. Fools.

See, I lost him after that. Now, if he called our government that, or maybe all of our politicians that, he might have my sympathy.

If you had your druthers, you would right now gather your courage, take to the streets and march on Washington D.C in the millions. But I know you will do no such thing. The vast majority of you are spiritually, emotionally and intellectually dead.

Ah, the revolt of the proletariat! And then our good Canadian friend can become Comrade Premier McDougall.

Dear Canada,

What a bunch of fucking pushovers you've become, you're a goddamn shame. You guys have more generals than tanks. Your socialized system of medicine is on the brink of collapse, doctors and nurses pay are both rapidly declining, and with it so will the quality of care. You guys let the francophone Quebecois grab you buy the balls, and spin you around like a fucking hula hoop. Do you really need all of the official signs in Ontario in English and French? It would be more practical to have them in English and Chinese. Let Quebec go, you don't need them, and they are just bleeding you dry. How much did it cost to build those stupid safety signs on the 401, and then double that because you had to have one set in English, and one in French? Look at what you've done to beer. Canadians, creators of great beer for hundreds of years, can't buy it unless they go to a government licensed store. Sure, argue that the drinking age is two years lower. So what. This only matters in Windsor. Our drinking laws are merely a formality to keep the kids out of the clubs. The Beer Store? And you have stupid government controlled stores which sell liquor and wine. What the fuck is up with that? I can go to the grocery store and get my beer, my wine, and my quality malt beverages, all in one stop. You tell us our President is a fool. This is true, but have you stopped to look at Chretien lately? What is wrong with that man? He can't say a single thing right in English or French! And Toronto, oh Toronto. Home of the world's biggest phallic symbol. And you think Americans are crude bastards. Mel Lastman is still your mayor? When are you people going to get a fucking clue? When the trash piles 6 feet high (oh, I'm sorry, 2 meters) in your streets? Not only do the French have you by the balls, so do the fucking unions. I remember trying to go to the Toronto zoo a few years back, and the zookeepers, by law, the fucking zookeepers union was on strike, and they were allowed to stop us in the parking lot to make us wait 15 minutes just to make a point. Which is ridiculous, we don't even live there. In America, they would have been run the fuck right over. You say our people are cowards, murderers, hypocrites, and fools, and that our government is tyrannical. You know what, all governments become tyrannical, even your enlightened State. At least our people may someday have the backbone to overthrow their government, if need be. The only thing Canadians could overthrow was the impotent British crown (that sure as hell took you long enough, by the way). You all live in mortal fear of your neighbor to the south, because you know if you don't play our game we could knock out your infrastructure in a weekend. Bush probably wouldn't even need to know about it. You quail in fear, and rightly so. If we gave Mexico free passage to Canada, they could probably colonize the whole place. Hell, all of your best businesses have already been bought ought by Americans (Tim Hortons comes to mind), so the invasion has practically taken place. Your media is like a vestigial organ, dessicated, ugly, and utterly useless. Redundant. You guys are so wrong, in every way. You don't even celebrate Thanksgiving on the right day. Kindly fuck off, you herbal tea drinking gaia worshippers.

Signed,

A Canadian Born American
posted by insomnyuk at 9:05 PM on August 17, 2002


Amusing but infantile. What, no South Park quotes, insomnyuk?

And so it goes.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:14 PM on August 17, 2002


His point was that America is becoming--or has become--a terrible place in a lot of ways, but more importantly that Americans have become either too caught up in a culture of tranquilization to notice, or too complacent to do anything about it. He's putting it a bit bluntly, sure, but looking around for counterexamples is difficult. He's more right than wrong, it seems to me.

And incidentally, immediate and categorical dismissal of his statements does not exactly prove him right, but it sure doesn't prove him wrong.
posted by Hildago at 9:27 PM on August 17, 2002


Great post insomnyuk! I love the Toronto zoo strike story.

When the trash piles 6 feet high (oh, I'm sorry, 2 meters)

"metres"?

Very funny!
posted by hama7 at 9:30 PM on August 17, 2002


So what, we can't dissent from the maple syrup drenched opinion of this Canadian troll? I though you kids loved dissent? Oh, my bad, you only love the approved sort of dissent.

The bottom line- you're jealous. Admit it.
posted by evanizer at 9:32 PM on August 17, 2002


I must add that someone from a country that still kisses its old colonial monarchy's ass doesn't have much street cred as a leftist cultural warrior in my book.

God save the Queen!
posted by evanizer at 9:34 PM on August 17, 2002


I actually read (well, skimmed) the nut's letter. There's a whole lotta truth in it. Lots and lots of disheartening facts hidden in the rant language.

Of course, he hasn't a leg to stand on. For the one finger he points at America, two more1 point right back at him. Canada's got a lot going for it, but a perfect government sure as hell ain't part of it.

What's surprising, though, is that Americans are so complacent about what's happening to their nation. Kind of expect it from Canadians, of course. But America? Isn't that the land of bare arms and "Live Free or Die" and stuff like that?

The USA government seems hellbent on driving the nation to ruin, and the placid public is letting it happen.

What's got our crazy Canuck friend upset is the collapse of a promise, a dream. Some pretty high ideals were set in 1776, and things were looking pretty hopeful for a good long run. But now it seems like one step forward, two steps backward.

(What's really the pisser, though, is that the Canadian government so very often follows the trend set by the USA. Faurgh. Who wants to go where your government's going these days? Not you, not I!)


1. I'm assuming he's something of a joke, a cartoon character.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:39 PM on August 17, 2002


Uh, yeah, like Canada is so much better. And I say that as a Canadian. In Canada we have no fixed election dates, a governing party that doesn't allow its members to vote according to their consciences or the desires of their constituents (almost every vote in the House of Commons is deemed a vote of confidence in the government, even on trivial matters), a power-mad Prime Minister who has more functional power than almost any other executive in a democratic state, a completely broken and balls-less Senate, and a Constitution of no significance. We don't even have a legally enshrined right to own property for Christ's sake. Our bloated state-funded health care system is in shambles (a fact many American admirers of Canadian public health care seem blissfully unaware of) with the majority of operations requiring long months on waiting lists (it is illegal to get private treatment unless you go to the States, which many do). We have a government entirely in bed with corrupt Canadian corporations, funding them through massive subsidies while collecting enormous campaign contributions in a circular system that is basically funded by taxpayers. We have an oppressive "Anti-Terrorism" bill fast-tracked through Parliament for no good reason except for that Britain and the United States were doing it, too. We sent troops to Afghanistan (gasp! to aid in the... WAR!) wearing forest-green "camouflage". Oh wait, they did get a desert-coloured blanket to hide underneath.

The list goes on.

Now this isn't to say that America does not have its own unique problems. But the fact is that we share a lot of problems with America. So why isn't this oh-so-noble Canadian, so critical of the sloth and ignorance of all you fat Americans, setting the example by marching on Ottawa?
posted by fhangler at 9:41 PM on August 17, 2002


Ugh. There's nothing so horrible as seeing a number of your deeply held views embedded in a self-congratulatory, sub-collegiate tirade which mistakes the willingness to use invective for trenchant criticism. I respect your take on this, stavros -- yes, this country is in bad shape indeed-- but inspid left-wing tirades don't get any more of a pass from me than bloody-minded right-wing fulminations do.

(on preview -- Evanizer, I think Hildalgo was saying that dismissal is the problem, in the sense that the writer accuses American's of pre-emptively dismissing any challenges to the rightness of their worldview. Not dissent from the article's position; since it would take a lot to agree with every over-the-top proposition in the essay, dissent seems to me to be pretty close to inevitable.)

(on second preview, I'm on something of the same page as five fresh fish)
posted by BT at 9:43 PM on August 17, 2002


What, no South Park quotes, insomnyuk?

Alas stavros, I don't watch South Park.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:54 PM on August 17, 2002


I don't think that it behooves anyone to frame this sort of thing as a 'Canada is better' 'No, fuck you, America is better' pissing match, which is what a number of people here are clearly attempting to do.

It's not college football, folks.

FFF and fhangler et al are correct, of course, about how bad things are, and how worthless those in government have become in Canada as well, following as it does the lead of Big Brother to the south. I don't think many would dispute that.

But Canada does not play the preeminent role in world affairs that America does. For better or worse, as many of my American friends so proudly proclaim, America is the light of the world, and millions, billions around the world see it as the apotheosis of their desires for a better life. But :

FFF said 'What's got our crazy Canuck friend upset is the collapse of a promise, a dream. Some pretty high ideals were set in 1776, and things were looking pretty hopeful for a good long run. But now it seems like one step forward, two steps backward.'

This is perhaps the root of my disappointment, too. What America could be, versus what (and this is, as always, and perhaps I should always explicitly state it, given the size of our little community, an outsider's view) it has become. Between 'everything's fine' and 'the sky is falling' lies the truth about America today, and I submit, again, that the place on the spectrum where that truth most likely lies is just not good enough. And I further suggest that the direction that your president and his cadre of thugs are taking it is deeper into a downward spiral.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:02 PM on August 17, 2002


Except for the 'blowing 'em up at will' part, couldn't just about any country fit this rant?
That said, 'The world is not utopia' is hardly breaking news.
posted by HTuttle at 10:11 PM on August 17, 2002


Canadians, creators of great beer for hundreds of years, can't buy it unless they go to a government licensed store.

Just a quick note; this may apply in Ontario, but in most other provinces, it's not the case. It used to be the case in Alberta until about 10 years ago, when the liquor industry was deprivatized.

As for the rest of the letter, I'm pretty disappointed in people taking shots at Canada just because this letter was written by a Canadian. I agree with others who've pointed out that the letter is pretty troll-like, but there are some good points in it. Still, why take shots at the country the writer lives in? If it weren't Canada, which some Americans are always ready to shoot down, would you be saying the same kind of things?
posted by spyke at 10:24 PM on August 17, 2002


spyke: Yes, that is sort of the point. That whole mote of dust/beam in your eye thing. It is invited by that kind of scurrilous, hamhanded indictment of everyone in the country from a guy sits on his ass and whines, regardless of his nationality.
posted by umberto at 10:37 PM on August 17, 2002


spyke: it was all in good fun, honest. I have family in Canada, I love visiting the place. If I were serious, I would have pulled out the big guns and attacked the currency. I was trying to point out how silly his letter was.

McDougall, on the other hand, with a very broad stroke, labelled all Americans as hypocrites, murderers and fools. The majority of us are all intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually bankrupt, according to him, high priest of the Truth. He was clearly being serious, albeit ridiculous. This is the kind of guy that will go get a flag, run into the town square, and set it ablaze, screaming at the top of his lungs. This doesn't work. When I see someone burning an American flag (something I've grown up with my whole life), I take it personally before I realize that the person may have a gripe with the State that flag represents. But it's a symbol of home, something I cherish (*cue moody music, insom's sentimentality kicks in again, pass the wine, love*). So when this guy went on his screed, he was attacking me, my friends, my home, and my family. Unacceptable. It's not my fault he is so foolish and cannot make the simple distinction between a government and its people. By his logic, all Cubans, Chinese, and Sudanese are murderers, hypocrites and fools. Any good points he made were drowned out by his open hostility towards our entire way of life, one which, unless he lives on a vegan commune in upper Ontario or something, he probably shares a great deal of the bourgeois, North American way of life.

Like a flag-burner, most people will respond to his tactic with disgust, or they will just ignore him. But this fits in perfectly with his narrow-minded worldview, why shouldn't the majority hate him anyway, after all, they are just murderers...

Had he shown more tact and been more specific in his attacks (i.e. attacking specific elements of gov't rather than an entire people), McDougall might have been able to drop his foaming at the mouth image ascribed to him by his low-quality rant. It looks like it was something I could have spewed out of my blog after kicking back several Labatts, fer chrissakes.

If a screaming madmand runs up to you in the street, do you later say "well, he made some good points"? I don't think so. So long, McDougall.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:40 PM on August 17, 2002


"why take shots at the country the writer lives in? "

Why not? Every country is accountable. Canada has its own dirty little secrets and cultural screwups.

This rant has many good points; of course he ignores the fact that many Americans are just as frustrated. The average US citizen is not a happy camper these days, at least the smart ones. The biggest problem with this article is that it offers no answers. Its so damn easy to pick at us, how about some genuine help?
posted by madmanz123 at 10:47 PM on August 17, 2002


If the letter had been written as a criticism of the American government I might be able to get behind it. As it stands, I don't believe in bashing the entire population as a whole based on the actions of the state.
And this goes both ways. I can appreciate the shots by americans (or Canadians born Americans, as it were) as we are probably equally patriotic (and thus somewhat irrational) when it comes to own countries -- I just wish that those shots were also aimed at the government and not the people.
I have no faith in Jean Chretien, nor the Libreal party as long as he leads it, and I believe that just because an American supports their country, doesn't mean they support Bush.
I wish the letter writer had stuck soley to gripes about American government actions as opposed to the more "personal" comments. As it stands, I'm pleasantly surprised to see a general willingness to listen to the letter. Thanks for the fairly open-minded dialogue.
posted by aclevername at 10:51 PM on August 17, 2002


Am I the only one that caught the following and dismissed the author outright as a crank?

"Your constitution is a shambles thanks to "national security" measures resulting from what might well be U.S.-government-sanctioned terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington D.C., covert provocations designed to justify a malevolent, poisonous, oil-based military economy."

Which is: first third true (constitution is in trouble) next third wild speculation with no basis in fact nor support in the context of the article at all (US Gov sanctioned Terrorist Attacts) followed by less wild speculation (the covert provocation bit implies that the US is attacking everyone at will, just for yucks, ignoring the 3000 dead, attacked merely for going to work in the morning)

What's it the neoconservatives call this? A fisking?

Someone please fact check this guys ass. Is it true that "
Never mind that earth-friendly technology already exists to once and for all end dependence on oil, coal and nuclear energy from huge, out-of-control utilities and corporations. You would rather pay through the nose for your insecure comforts, wouldn't you America, and make others pay with their blood."

Please expand on this, sir - which technologies, specifically, could end our oil problems today? Would this be the perpetual motion machine I keep hearing so much about?

The drivel gets worse and worse. Fact check him - if what he says is all true, then it's a useful piece, and all due respect will be paid to him. Otherwise, if he spouts a lot of conspiracy nonsense and points the finger at an already troubled America who is unsure how to prosecute a war against religious fanatics she has no desire to fight, well, in that case, he's that dangerous individual - a lunatic with a podium and an audience.

Another vote for Rant.
posted by swerdloff at 11:26 PM on August 17, 2002


Lies, lies, tinfoil hat crazy talk, lies, lies, more tinfoil...

Does this cunt get all his news from the totally open, any little college student with too much time who wants to hate the world on Earth can post anything, "news"wire on Nazimedia or what?

Fuck you Canada. And a hearty fuck you to the few who agree with this troll. Or should I say a hearty shut the fuck right up?

Fuck the Palestinians. Israel needs no justification to do anything. It's a sovereign nation. I'm amazed they aren't carpet bombing the towelheads night and day. We would. We nuked the fucking nips because we hated them. Israel must by now hate the Pals at least one thousand times more. We killed thousands in Afghanistan because we HATED them. It was vengeance--pure, simple, beautiful like the blossom from a Daisy Cutter over Kabul vengeance--and you (suckers) helped. Iraq is next for two reasons. One, we want more muslim blood. Two, it will help break the fucking arabs because it will break their little aura of invincibility. Who knows how many "invincible" towlheads we'll have to kill before they absorb some clue. A thousand, a hundred million. It matters nothing to us. And yes, yes, now you cunts will crow on about how you jack off to your little predictions of a nuke going off in Manhattan. Don't be shy, we know you do. Just like you jack off to pictures of the WTC on fire. Just remember while you're stroking it: if the ragheads do manage to set off something, anything, "unconventional" in either the US or Israel the retaliation will kill more muslims than the combined deathtoll of all the wars in human history combined in a single day. We'll have to evacuate Israel because the surroundings will be so hot, and it'll be a wasteland all the way to the borders of India. Every single one of the fuckers will die. Every. Single. One. Think about that next time you're beating off to al queda tirades about chemical bombs in the US.

We will support who we want, where we want, when we want. We will kill who we want, where we want, when we want. Have a problem with that? Get a military and bring it on. Have the fucking courtesy to not fight like a muslim and announce your intentions first, though.

As to business. Fuck the poor old codgers who put all their savings into Enron. They deserved to be wiped out. Idiots. I hope the market stays down for years. I'm buying like mad on a steady basis and I'll make a killing. Once it goes back up, I'll take money out also on a steady basis because I'm not a moron. And don't start crowing about how it'll never go back up because you're calling for you own fucking death. Take a gander at the world markets. Notice anything, like how they follow our's exactly? You need our recovery worse than we do. The South Americans fucked up their economies. Boo hoo. You don't like our advice? Then do something else, of course, if you do, you don't get any of our fucking money!

Let's see, have I missed anything? Oh ya, Bush. You didn't elect him. We did. Anyone who says different can't locate their asshole with both hands and a flashlight. Yes, we're ignoring you. Yes, we have issues with some things he's doing but we'll settle them OURSELVES. Who knows, if he kills enough towlheads and the markets keep going up we might reelect him! I hope that makes you mad!

So you hate us? Fuck you. Really. You have two choices. Deal or bring it on. Our military is getting sick of gunning down crowds of towelheads who come out of the woodwork. It's messy, its dangerous, they hide behind their kids and scream bloody murder when we blow them to bits. It's no fun. They would just LOVE the chance to blow up a modern, mechanized army. You have planes we can shoot down and ships we can sink. And unlike muslims, I doubt you'll pack them with civilians so we can blow them up with impunity. PLEASE, attack us!

And if you don't agree, just remember to go fuck yourself. After all, any view held with enough conviction and put forth with enough swear words is instantly valid, right? ~wink~ Right? ~wink~

---

Ahh. My masterpiece. :) All the hate from the last year or so in one post. Very efficient. That was quite cathartic. :) I thought it would be more difficult to write such a pile of crap but the hate still burns pretty brightly. I did have to go back about seven times and add swear words and even now I'm not sure if this sinks to the level of the average Nazimedia posting, to say nothing of the Canuck's letter. Anyway, it's rather fun ranting. I'll have to try it more often. :)
posted by eszetela at 11:40 PM on August 17, 2002


Don't know if I agree with everything insomnyuk writes re Canada, but it was well-written. As for the allegedly Canadian letter-writer, his rant is intriguing if hackneyed, but ultimately, who's the audience?

He's preaching to the choir on the one hand, and on the other, the people he's trying to "reach" he is only going to piss off and unleash anti-Canadian tirades. So ..... what is the accomplishment here? I see none.
posted by blucevalo at 11:44 PM on August 17, 2002


And by the way, I love Canada, and believe that this guy's rant has nothing to do with Canada at all. In fact, I wish I would never have brought up Canada in the first place. I don't want to do what this guy does, make a silly indictment of a nation based on what I feel about its policies.

I do wonder, however: Why is EIIR still on your coins? Any Canadians know the answer?
posted by evanizer at 12:27 AM on August 18, 2002


Does "Nazimedia" count as an invocation of Godwin's Law?
posted by snarfodox at 1:06 AM on August 18, 2002


This wasn't as crazy as many here would like to believe; the most reckless and angry thing I've come across in a good long while.
posted by muckster at 1:08 AM on August 18, 2002


eszetela: vacuum out the oh~ so~ wry~ epithets, and I think you're onto something.

I am, therefore I rant.
posted by hama7 at 1:59 AM on August 18, 2002


there may be elements of truth in the rant, but it does come across a bit nutty. i look at it a little differently.

a canadian is the only person in the world that apologises when you step on his foot. an american, under the same circumstances, will say, "don't put you foot where i'm walking, then."

but on the other hand...

a canadian isn't satisfied unless the government pays for it. an american will find a way to make money so he can pay for it.

i am canadian. i love canada. but we've had our share of monsters.

i think the united states is a great country. i have many american friends. there are still plenty of good people in america.
posted by bwg at 2:01 AM on August 18, 2002


re: the linked article. way to rant some good points into worthlessness by unfairly condemning an entire citizenry. but he lives in a free country so he can flip out if he wants to.

I do wonder, however: Why is EIIR still on your coins? Any Canadians know the answer?

she's still on our bills as well... while the old dame has an official position as a head of state a canadian actually holds her position; that person is called the governor general of canada. as a figurehead queeny unites us with 16 other countries to form the commonwealth which has been beneficial for various reasons over the years.

there are a few anti-monarchists here but i've yet to understand their tantrums about the queen. i don't understand the monarchists either, but i think a lot of them are first generation canadians or nutty anglophiles (which can be found in countries which have no ties, like the usa, go figure). most of us seem to feel it's nice she's still related to us, in a historical, distant family, don't have to worry about unannounced visits sort of way.

(what's interesting is that many americans seem to be obsessed with royalty, and to my mind things like movie stardom and general celebrity are a sort of substitute for it)
posted by t r a c y at 2:16 AM on August 18, 2002


Is America perfect? No, but which country is?
Do I like George Bush, do I think he was fairly elected? No.

Bill Maher often said on Politically Incorrect that the sign of intelligence is the ability to hold two thoughts in your mind simultaneously. Increasingly it seems people are unable to do this.

I think America is the greatest country in the world, a shining beacon of liberty and an example to the planet. I also think we do a lot of shitty things, like: the war on drugs, fighting secret wars, backing evil dictators, being fixated on oil to the point we support regimes who would like to see us all dead (*waves at Saudi Arabia*), over dependence on coporate power (but also an unrivaled entrepeneurial spirit).

I believe both sides of this, and it's what makes me believe in this country even more each day because our system makes it possible to self-correct. Case in point: the blacks of my grandmother's generation didn't have the right to vote for the longest time - I just got my voter's registration card for Massachusetts - which I will use to vote against George W. Bush in 2004, again. Progress.

So that's why I get upset when the rest of the world sees fit to call us evil, etc.
posted by owillis at 2:27 AM on August 18, 2002


It's not my fault he is so foolish and cannot make the simple distinction between a government and its people. By his logic, all Cubans, Chinese, and Sudanese are murderers, hypocrites and fools.

You forget that in a democracy the people choose their own government.

I thought W.R. McDougal's rant was mildly amusing, but it also made me feel a bit sad, because there are probably millions of people who agree with him.

I don't think Americans should focus on whether what he says is all true or not, but should acknowledge the fact millions of people have these feelings. And some of them are quite entitled to.

(I'm not American, I'm Dutch and know all about having a government I didn't vote for)
posted by ginz at 2:37 AM on August 18, 2002


hama7: I know, a bit overboard on the epithets. A few of them, such as the nips comment, I deeply regret and apologize for. In an attempt to match idiotic vitriol I stepped over a line and lowered myself nearer to his level. Not good. As for the rest, epithets and all, it stands. I held a mirror up to the idiotic Canadian rant and I hope the reflection insults and angers everyone who agreed with it.
posted by eszetela at 3:25 AM on August 18, 2002


Wow!


Eszetela, what are you on?

"Our military is getting sick of gunning down crowds of towelheads who come out of the woodwork. It's messy, its dangerous, they hide behind their kids and scream bloody murder when we blow them to bits. It's no fun. They would just LOVE the chance to blow up a modern, mechanized army. You have planes we can shoot down and ships we can sink. And unlike muslims, I doubt you'll pack them with civilians so we can blow them up with impunity. PLEASE, attack us! "
Y'know, you're feeding the tin-foil hat wearing wingnuts who believ eDubya thought like this before 9/11.

And your racism is showing. Anyone else notice that?
posted by dash_slot- at 3:38 AM on August 18, 2002


Rant. But no more crappy than the Gordon Sinclair piece that so many Americans appeared to cream themselves over last year. And it's not as if many Americans aren't saying the same thing, just more soberly, and with greater emphasis on it being Bush's squandering on behalf of the nation.
posted by riviera at 4:45 AM on August 18, 2002


When he says the us used to have the best hair metal bands, he loses me.

I agree with him about the Open Source stuff and the bit about tap dancing and CareBears.
posted by zenhues at 4:55 AM on August 18, 2002


I'm amazed they aren't carpet bombing the towelheads...
We nuked the fucking nips...
it's rather fun ranting. I'll have to try it more often.

yeah, and git me anuddah beah, dere, willya edith?
posted by quonsar at 5:06 AM on August 18, 2002


eszetela: Please don't apologise for a rant, especially not deeply. Went we rant, all regrets and apologies are unnecessary. Personally, I love a good rant, especially when there is righteous fire.

I love the fact that that we can criticize our government(s), and that we have an internet to do all this.

And I am personally extremely *put out* by constant whiny ramblings about how America is the world's evildoer, when every example of America's foreign policy has been moral, thoughtful, and concerned decisive action toward fabulously violent and dangerous political regimes.

Care to name any exceptions?

*puts on sunglasses for the next big flash*
posted by hama7 at 5:34 AM on August 18, 2002


when every example of America's foreign policy has been moral, thoughtful, and concerned decisive action toward fabulously violent and dangerous political regimes

hama7: I love your sense of humor.
posted by ginz at 6:07 AM on August 18, 2002


ginz: Please name an exception. Please.
posted by hama7 at 6:10 AM on August 18, 2002


This rant has many good points; of course he ignores the fact that many Americans are just as frustrated. The average US citizen is not a happy camper these days, at least the smart ones. The biggest problem with this article is that it offers no answers. Its so damn easy to pick at us, how about some genuine help?

Couldn't have put it better myself. Though the guy is a nut.

Damn hoser.
posted by The Michael The at 7:17 AM on August 18, 2002


Howdy all, I’m new here. After a good long while I was finally able to register. This not a troll but the thoughts of a concerned and increasingly worried American.

I happen to agree totally with this article. Seems to me those who dismiss it out of hand are fooling themselves.

This country has become one of fat, pathetic, morons whose main concern is that tiny nick on the side of their gas guzzling SUV or what’s going to happen on the next episode of Friends….can’t miss Must See TV now can we America? Can’t wait to stuff that next Big Mac into your gaping maw, can you?

All our kids are cookie cutter images if one another. They sit and get fatter and dumber while sucking on a soft drink, playing their PS2s and X-Boxes and whine to their parents to get them Tommy Hilfigure clothes. Growing up to be the next generation of rabid consumers…assuming we make it that far. You think I’m wrong? Go to the latest mega mall that opened up near you and people watch….watch the parade of overweight mass as it spends it’s money, more concerned about getting the best deal and feeding it’s fat face than about what’s going on in the rest of the world.

The government attempts to justify all our recent military action by pointing to 911, by waving the specter of Osama Bin Laden on our TV sets. We have a national press that puts a baseball strike on the front page but doesn’t seem very interested in the dirty deals those in power are making. Our government was bought and paid for a long time ago it would seem. Can anyone really argue that? We have a president who didn’t win the popular vote, an Attorney General who is doing his best to gut the Bill of Rights, and a Congress that is in the pay of special interest groups intent of raping us of our freedoms.

911 was the beginning of the end I think. Did our government let it happen? Have a hand in it? Hard to say…there’s interesting tid bits out there that suggest such things but no one is really looking…and those that are seem to be quickly hushed up one way or the other. Let us not forget that high ranking military, a few decades ago, were advocating the nuking of one of our own cities to use it as an excuse to go to war and clamp down on civil liberties. Sound familiar? Even if the government did not have any direct involvement it is our ongoing and constant interference in the Middle East that is to blame. And WHY are we in the middle east again kids? Oil…we have to protect our precious supply of oil so we can keep filling Bush & Friends pockets and our ridiculously inefficient cars. I find it funny that some say “Oh, but look at all the good things we do! All the just and moral things our beloved Republic does!” (And for those who don’t realize it: The US is a Republic, not a Democracy.) You have to be kidding me. We toss a bit of crust to the starving and shake our finger at those being bad and say “Do as I say, not as I do.”..our country only really bringing it’s muscle to bear when it suits those holding the reins of power. My mother spent 20 years in the state legislature. When she retired we were having some discussion about the government. This is 10 years ago when I was still somewhat young and naïve… She turns to me and says, “If you ever think the government has your best interests in mind, think again.” A chilling and all to accurate statement.

As for the environment: We currently have the technology, and have had it for years, to do away with oil, but do we do it? Oh, a token here, a token there…just enough so they can say “Look! See! We’re trying! Really we are!” while those who stand to profit from it fill their already overflowing pockets. They say that we don’t have an infrastructure, that it’s too expensive, that it would cause economic turmoil. They happen to be right. We don’t have the infrastructure, but it could easily built it in a short amount of time…Creating massive amounts of new jobs at that. It’s too expensive…but can you put a price on the health of a planet? It would cause economic turmoil…for those who profit from coal and oil. Our planet is dying and we don’t care. 10 years ago a lot of people scoffed at global warming as reality. Now…they are saying that it is happening. Well DUH. Is nature or is it us? Could be either but I’m putting the bet on us. I can’t wait for the North Atlantic Conveyor to shut down, another ice age should prove to be a good Depopulation Event. But wait! There’s more! Not only are we spiraling into another ice age but the entire ecosystem is starting to fall apart. Pollinators are disappearing, species are going extinct, the seas are dying. It think we’ve screwed the pooch. It may not be too late but we, as Americans, don’t care…recycling your god dammed newspapers and cans is NOT going to cut it.

No..no I think Mister McDougall hit it right on the head. I used to be a proud American, convinced that we were the Best and the Just. I obvioulsy don't think that anymore.

The founding fathers are spinning in their graves and Mother Nature, as we know her, is on her death bed. Rome is burning folks, and Old GW and pals are playing the fiddle.

…reminds me of that Midnight Oil song.
posted by Hilfy at 7:23 AM on August 18, 2002


Criticising the article for failing to make a distinction between America and its current government shows a worrying lack of appreciation for America's history. America was the world's first revolutionary state founded on the principle that if your government fails you, then it is your right, your duty to change it. If it is so flawed then revolution is fair game.

By taking on this right Americans accept completely and unreservedly their joint responsibility for their own government. No distinction between the two can be made. If you hate Bush and all he does you should march to help change his mind, if he still doesn't change then public disobedience should follow and so on to the big R.

The vitriol of this Canadian is a bit excessive (the burger jokes for example) but the crux of his article is spot on:
1) America may never have lived up to its original ideal of perfect government but today it doesn't seem even to aspire to it.
2) For a nation with such a world shifting influence, those affected by Washington include the 5 billion unenfranchised non-Americans - these look to ordinary Americans and their precious vote to prevent massive harm. When they don't, ad hominem criticisms are the only, ineffectual response.
It's a pain but when Americans vote they cannot look after themselves alone, they have got to think of the rest of us who are also directly affected.

(A pro-American Brit)
posted by pots at 7:25 AM on August 18, 2002


Glug Glug.

when every example of America's foreign policy has been moral, thoughtful, and concerned decisive action toward fabulously violent and dangerous political regimes

Please provide an example to the contrary.
posted by hama7 at 7:42 AM on August 18, 2002


pots, I'd love to do that, but I honestly see the state of our government as having gone far beyond what any of the founding fathers saw. I disagree with nearly everything the current administration has done. Many others as well. But how are we supposed to mount a revolution? It was easier when everyone, civilian or military, had guns, but how can one now mount a revolution without tanks, fighter planes, bombers, and long range missiles? We probably couldn't convince the military to revolt either, considering its bigwigs are part of the government elite and most of the little guys are indoctrinated into "America's Great!"isms or stupid redneck patriots anyway.

Bush has already said that he won't make decisions based on the public opinion, so that's out, and revolution is more or less out as well. So what now?

I choose to worry more about things that I can change and that more directly affect my life.

Oh, and the burger thing wasn't a joke. The country is becoming one of fatasses. Come and see.

hama7: maybe, but were our reasons for assailing these regimes because they were terrible, or for some other selfish interest? cough cough oil cough revenge cough cough because "we" hate communism cough cough cough. Welcome to life. If you think the gov't was just being benevolent, you're wrong.
posted by The Michael The at 7:49 AM on August 18, 2002


As for the environment: We currently have the technology, and have had it for years, to do away with oil, but do we do it?

Source? Link?

Seems to me those who dismiss it out of hand are fooling themselves.

I don't dismiss arguments out of hand. I dismiss arguments that have no factual evidence to back them up.
posted by jbelshaw at 7:50 AM on August 18, 2002


It's amazing how this community has the wonderful ability not to respond to trolls like this rants's author, taking him seriously would only have lowered the level of our conversation with pointless anti-Canadian rants...

Also, it's interesting how the mere existence of unions, of a public health system and of a military budget uncapable of blowing up the whole galaxy in five minutes is a good reason, in this allegedly liberal bastion ( I mean, "MeFi as vast left-wing conspiracy" is not even funny anymore ) for crapping on a democratic country

Oh, loved the mention of "towelheads", really nice and intelligent language for MeFi. Why not "sand-niggers" then? I'm eagerly waiting for the next I/P comment about "kikes", the Mexico comment about "spics", and so forth until we can use every slur available

The obligatory, at tis point, South Park quote:

Liane: And my boy Eric once
Had my picture on his shelf
But now when I see him he tells me to fuck myself!
Sheila: Well, blame Canada
Everyone: Blame Canada
It seems that everythings gone wrong
Since Canada came along
Everyone: Blame Canada
Blame Canada
Some Guy: There not even a real country anyway

posted by matteo at 7:51 AM on August 18, 2002


Trolls? I don't believe in trolls. Hmm. I always thought my first post would be less lame than this.
posted by robself at 7:56 AM on August 18, 2002


This rant is a little overboard. However racist rants from people like eszetela really stoop to a different (more hateful and equally disturbing) level. There goes my belief that Metafilter postings encourage intelligent debate.
posted by Bernese Mountain Dog at 8:14 AM on August 18, 2002


jbelshaw:

Pretty common knowledge I would think but apparently not. Let's see, Solar, Wind, GeoThermal, Water, Hydrogen. All clean, all availalble. Hydrogen will be our savior for the forseeable future unless some breaktrhough is made in Fusion or Zeropoint energy. The method to produce hydrogen is taught in grade school. You wan't links, go to google and do a search for yourself. Alternative energy sources have been available for decades but there is a lot of money to be made from making people pay through the nose and a lot of money to be spent in developing these alternative sources that will in the long run be much cheaper and cleaner. Which do you think wins out 9 times out of 10, greed or concern for the environment and fellow man?
posted by Hilfy at 8:45 AM on August 18, 2002


You forget that in a democracy the people choose their own government.

Hey, that sounds like a nice theory! Tell me about this 'democracy' some time.
posted by insomnyuk at 8:54 AM on August 18, 2002


Um, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't eszetela's rant a joke of sorts? I was enraged when I started reading it, but if you read all the way to the end he gives the reader a wink and a nod.

And if you don't agree, just remember to go fuck yourself. After all, any view held with enough conviction and put forth with enough swear words is instantly valid, right? ~wink~ Right? ~wink~

I looked at his user profile and went back to look at *all* his comments to try to get a sense of what kind of guy he is. He seems intelligent, and not racist or boorish. I really think that his (patently offensive) rant was a joke, that he was trying to make a point about the original article.

Its frightening. I bet a lot of us Americans could reach into some ugly place inside of us and find the kind of hate that eszetla put into his post. The September 11 attacks hurt us, and it's easy, though not particularly noble, to feel that kind of hatred in response. I'm pretty sure eszetela doesn't believe in what he wrote (he referred to his own post as a "pile of crap", fer chrissakes). On the other hand, I bet the caveman part of eszetela's brain found the post to be wonderfully cathartic, and I'd even venture to guess that he's a better person for it.

And to the people who agreed with eszetela's rant without realizing that it was a joke: go fuck yourselves.
posted by spacewaitress at 8:55 AM on August 18, 2002


It's amusing to see how many people don't bother to read to the end of long comments, isn't it eszetela? Too much work, I guess.

Hooray for everyone thinking everything's going to hell all the time. It always has been, and hopefully always will be. No one's ever been happy with the government, and as long as that's the case, I can sleep well at night.

Our continuous dissatisfaction has led to voting rights being given to all Americans, as owillis points out, continual (and now skyrocketing) increase in life-expectancy, similar decrease in infant mortality, a rising standard of living, constantly increasing access to education, safer working environments... well, the list goes on.

Could it be better? It could always be better. There are always things to be upset about. Pick a few and work to change them. And sing along with me: "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine."
posted by rusty at 9:00 AM on August 18, 2002


eszetela-

Ok, I almost scrolled past the rest of your rant-post, where you reveal your intentions:

And if you don't agree, just remember to go fuck yourself. After all, any view held with enough conviction and put forth with enough swear words is instantly valid, right? ~wink~ Right? ~wink~

---

Ahh. My masterpiece. :) All the hate from the last year or so in one post. Very efficient. That was quite cathartic. :) I thought it would be more difficult to write such a pile of crap but the hate still burns pretty brightly. I did have to go back about seven times and add swear words and even now I'm not sure if this sinks to the level of the average Nazimedia posting, to say nothing of the Canuck's letter. Anyway, it's rather fun ranting. I'll have to try it more often. :),


I think a lot of people *did* miss this end section, and took your words at face value. I think that in order to reach th desired effect, a far shorter rant would have been better. as it is, you've got people thinking you are a racist freak.
posted by kayjay at 9:05 AM on August 18, 2002


five fresh fish, owillis: Thanks for making sense amidst the loose cannons.

eszetela: That was brilliant. Anyone who missed your point needs to learn that reading something means reading all the way to the end, and that intent isn't always best conveyed by a string of helpful emoticons.
posted by languagehat at 9:14 AM on August 18, 2002


While I feel that ranting and invective are ineffective ways to get a point across, I can understand the points the letter-writer was trying to make.

As a concerned American, I am appalled at how much the vast hordes swallow what they are given (Woo-hoo! Go U. S. A.!!!) and then turn blankly back to "Friends" and Jerry Springer. I had a conversation recently with a young woman who doesn't vote because she doesn't know about the issues. While I am glad that she has decided not to use her right to vote irresponsibly, I am upset that she refuses to take the time to *get informed*. So many in this country refuse their responsibilities to get gather information. I am outraged at the government and the corporations, and I am aghast that there isn't more outrage. People just won't see what is going on.

However, there is a growing feeling of helplessness which may be leading to that willful ignorance. The last election" certainly revealed that the will of the people will not be done. So much is being done to disenfranchise the people. So much is decided behind closed doors, without the consent of the governed, and we have lost confidence in our ability to procure fairly elected leaders, and to remove scoundrels.

Power is being stolen from us, and we are unsure of how to get it back. Armed revolution won't do it. Letter writing won't do it. Mass protests probably will have no effect. Elections can be manipulated....


When did you stop caring, America?.....When will you wake up?

"Where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise."
--Thomas Gray

A sad state of affairs we are in here.
posted by kayjay at 9:26 AM on August 18, 2002


I do wonder, however: Why is EIIR still on your coins?

'cause she ain't dead yet. It'd be downright rude to scrub her from the currency while she's still alive and kicking.

Our next series of coins will feature images of Canada's dictators. Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretian will be featured.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:46 AM on August 18, 2002


when every example of America's foreign policy has been moral, thoughtful, and concerned decisive action toward fabulously violent and dangerous political regimes

Please provide an example to the contrary.

Yeesh, hama7, do you not read the papers at all? Or are you willfully ignorant?

Most recently, I'd cite assisting North Korea obtain and install nuclear reactors for their power plants. Does anyone seriously think giving "violent and dangerous political regimes" access to nuclear materials qualifies a "moral, thoughtful, and concerned decisive action"?

(You might want to read up on the democractically-elected left-leaning governments in Latin America that were replaced by military dictators with the help of soldiers trained in the School of the Americas, or Kissinger and Indonesia's invasion of East Timor. Or the one that's close to my heart, Ronald and Nancy Reagan partying it up with their good pals Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos while thousands of Filipinos disappeared for good under Martial Law and the Marcoses sucked the country dry. They're shameful parts of US history that aren't taught in schools, much like the Japanese don't teach their children about Japanese war atrocities during WWII.)
posted by lia at 9:48 AM on August 18, 2002


All our kids are cookie cutter images if one another. They sit and get fatter and dumber while sucking on a soft drink, playing their PS2s and X-Boxes and whine to their parents to get them Tommy Hilfigure clothes. Growing up to be the next generation of rabid consumers?assuming we make it that far.

Way to buy into a stereotype!

You think I?m wrong?

Yup.

Go to the latest mega mall that opened up near you and people watch?.watch the parade of overweight mass as it spends it?s money, more concerned about getting the best deal and feeding it?s fat face than about what?s going on in the rest of the world.

Really? Every time I visit the human zoo, I mean mall, I'm struck by how many jailbait, I mean thin, attractive young ladies there are and wonder where the hell they were when I was in high school.

And how can I tell just by looking who does or doesn't give a shit about the Israel/Palestine conflict or the tyranny of China over Tibet or the AIDS problem in South Africa?

It's people who don't take responsibility for their own actions that grate on my nerves, not people who don't worry themselves sick over something they basically don't have more than an illusion of a tiny fractional influence upon.

Unless you want to tell us something we can do right now, personally, to stop the various idiocies and atrocities going on all around the world.
posted by Foosnark at 9:51 AM on August 18, 2002


When someone starts a comment with the words "This not a troll", how come it's always a troll? It doesn't really matter, since the subject of this post was the stinkinest piece of flame-broiled troll-bait to come down the pike in a long time, and you know there's nothing that us fat, fat, Americans like better than a steaming piece of barbecued troll meat.

There are a lot of things that are unclear. For one, I'm constantly amazed by the special Metafilter logic that makes being overweight more morally reprehensible than, say, blowing up Israelis or being your average post-Persian dictator. That takes some special post-structuralist relativism.

Second, I love the ability of everyone to find "good points" in even the most reprehensible and incoherent piece of self-righteous twaddle, such as the little tract in question here. There are some good points in "Mein Kampf". There were some good points made by Senator McCarthy. The Unabomber made some good points as well. But there is a point where the so-called "good points" are outweighed by the evil or selfish intentions, and there is a point where a source is so fatally flawed that extracting good points from it is a dangerous activity, since it's impossible to tell which good points have been tainted by the bad, ugly and evil ones. If you have a tray full of Jack-In-The-Box hamburgers and one of them is tainted with e.coli, do you still feed them to the kids? Why are you trying to feed your kids stuff from Jack-In-The-Box in the first place? Shouldn't you perhaps cook something yourself, or take them to a restaurant with better food and better ambience? It's the same thing with this little missive. Why are we looking for bits of filet mignon in this pre-processed, mechanically-separated chicken?

Point the third: I've complained before about the "Oh my God it's an Orwellian Nightmare!" meme that has been circulating unchecked since 9/11, and it seems to be alive and well in this thread. I will ask again: Where is this hideous repression, this dark and sinister violation of rights that many people seem to be alluding to? From the accounts here, America is now a barren land of Mad Max-type rubble, full of fat people in Tina Turner wigs with sunken eyes, prowling around, looking to savage (and eat) any Muslims, WTO protesters, and Greenpeace pamphletteers they might encounter. Um... It's not really happening. My rights are not being steamrolled over. I'm not being harassed by secret police. I haven't heard of anyone getting the rat treatment at the Ministry of Truth. In fact, I'm sitting here in my apartment, surrounded by some very seditious books, and a whole cupboard full of homosexual pornography, writing an opinionated missive on an internationally read website under my own, real name.

*Listens*

Nope, no knocks at my door. No men in fedoras knocking me out with a hanky full of chloroform. No Roy Cohn out on my ledge. Across the street there is a group of Hispanic women shouting about "revolutionary Jesus" into an amplifier at the passerbys, many of which are Hassidic Jews out with their families. The sexy, grungy boys in the loft upstairs are playing their guitars at full volume while the black and Chinese couple next door are running a sander. None of us are being interred. None of us are being harassed (except for me, by the noise of God-bothering, rock and roll and woodworking equipment). John Ashcroft is not sending paratroopers to Brooklyn to take us all out.

Of course there are problems. Of course there are tyrants trying daily to exert control over the activities of my government. Of course there are a couple criminal CEOs shaming our economic system. Of course my country has and will make mistakes. So what? What political body does not suffer good times and bad, good leadership and bad leadership? Canada? The EU? Germany, for Christ's sake? The editorial board of the New York Times? Sorry, not a perfect bit of leadership in any of them. But does that make them moot? Does that make them "Fools, murderers and hypocrites"? As owillis said above, is it not possible to hold two thoughts in our heads simultaneously? It seems that the auteur of the screed in question cannot. In fact, it seems that many of the people who criticize our president's moral absolutism are just as guilty of it. Much of the America-hating crowd sounds like nothing more than 17th century Puritans, screaming about hopeless moral decay and depravity, seeing everything as a clear dichotomy of either pure or hopelessly evil, the difference being that today's Jonathan Edwardses have nothing to offer as an example of purity. All is darkness to today's grim puritans and nothing, except presumably themselves, is without mortal sin. No redemption is possible. The only remedy is death. Death to America! But, then what?

*Silence*

No suggestions are offered. No example of political ideal is put forward. Are we becoming a world of Calvinists again, where fate is predetermined and improvement is impossible? In the eyes of W.R. McDougall, yes. All is darkness. Eating is sinful. Pleasure and happiness are sinful. There is naught but suffering in the world, and our sins are responsible. Ye are a nation of sinners! But do not bother to repent, for redemption, as I said, is impossible.

But I say unto you, W.R. McDougall, since we're in the realm of Puritan preaching, "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."

Except don't bother removing the beam from your eye. You're already blind.
posted by evanizer at 10:03 AM on August 18, 2002


Not all Americans are fat and lazy. Some are fat... and some are lazy.
posted by euphorb at 10:27 AM on August 18, 2002


In America, they would have been run the fuck right over.

Was this self-ridicule, insomnyuk? If not, it'll be the first time I've seen a swing miss so widely as to come back and slap oneself. Got your bottle and blankie now? All cuddled up after a good cry. That's good; go to sleep.
posted by holycola at 10:32 AM on August 18, 2002


As someone who lived in the US for almost 30 years, I´d say that his letter, while arrogant, is pretty much dead on. And I don´t think he wrote it to rally Americans behind his ideas, but rather to annoy them and to get people to start talking (or shouting) about anything that matters. Seems like he achieved that.

I don´t think that the majority mefi response "and you more!" has anything to do with the issues that Americans should be worried about. In fact, metafilter has reacted, on the whole, just as the letter writer would expect: with reactionary rhetorical attacks on Canada, and precious little introspection. Just because you don´t like the messenger doesn´t mean that the message is untrue (or at least parts of it)..... In my opinion.
posted by sic at 10:33 AM on August 18, 2002


While using Google to check the validity of the letter, I ran across this.
posted by LinusMines at 10:43 AM on August 18, 2002


I can understand the points the letter-writer was trying to make.

I've heard this basic attitude now from over a dozen posters. Hello? Is anybody out there? Reality is calling YOU. Come back. Did any of you people who said you agreed with him read the entire thing? Did you conveniently skip the part where he called you (if you live in the U.S.) a murderer, a hypocrite, and a fool? Do you agree that the vast majority of Americans are intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally bankrupt? What makes you all beautiful and unique snowflakes? I keep hearing this bullshit about the massive hordes, the masses, the sheeple, and what have you. Everyone on MeFi is so special, and its the nebulous ugly American that is the common enemy. Spare me.

You forget that in a democracy the people choose their own government.

I have to go back to this. So by this logic, it's ok to say, uphold sanctions on Iraq, because it is the fault of the people that Saddam is in power? This is the same as those people who think dropping a nuke on Hiroshima was OK because the citizens deserved it. They should have overthrown their emperor, for crying out loud. That's where this argument goes, because ultimately, all power is held by the governed consenting to it.

So if Texas executes 100 people, then all Texans are murderers? I don't think so.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:45 AM on August 18, 2002


Evan, that's an awful lot of writing just to say, "I don't want to hear about it."
posted by muckster at 10:46 AM on August 18, 2002


holycola: I don't think you could recognize satire or its ilk even if it slapped you in the face, stole your wallet, and stripped you naked.

Jesus Christ people, how many of you actually thought my anti-Canada screed was sincere? C'mon, raise your hands, I know you're out there. You humorless bastards.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:48 AM on August 18, 2002


When he said the Federal Reserve is a private bank, and that private banks issue currency, and that money is being created with usurious interest rates (the yield on the 2-year bond is less than 2 percent, I believe), and when he said the CIA and FBI plotted Kennedy's assassination when every sane person knows a loser named Lee Harvey Oswald did it -- well, it's hard to take seriously the few valid points that he makes. People shouldn't go on long rants about America's banking system when they don't understand the first thing about it.
posted by Holden at 10:56 AM on August 18, 2002


As for the environment: We currently have the technology, and have had it for years, to do away with oil, but do we do it?

What and people in the business are just going to go down without a fight? Sure, I really, really, really want to use alternative energy (specially Nuclear, cause that's my thing) but I'm not kidding myself that those whose jobs depends on it, those who made a life out of it, those whose family have focused on are going to just roll over and say 'Bring on solar power' Every organization fights for its own survival. Not saying its right, but what else would you expect them to do?
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:59 AM on August 18, 2002


While using Google to check the validity of the letter, I ran across this.

For those of you unwilling to read the whole thing, here's the executive summary:

"I trolled a lot of people with my anti-US rant. And now, here's a pointless 1800 word tribute to Bill Buckley Jr."

I was unable to find even a shred of coherent point in that whole thing. And the HST quote is "stomped upon the terra," incidentally. Tundra is an arctic desert environment. Terra is "land." Dr. Thompson knew the difference.
posted by rusty at 11:06 AM on August 18, 2002


Way to buy into a stereotype!

Yup.


Stereotype? More like a simple observation. Back in the day overweight kids were not all that common in my schools, now it's more the norm. Go walk into a highschool sometime. I recently had reason to visit a local highschool and was floored at how many kids walking the halls were at least 20, 30lbs overweight. There is no arguing that American kids and Americans in general are generally overweight and growing more so with time.

Really? Every time I visit the human zoo, I mean mall, I'm struck by how many jailbait, I mean thin, attractive young ladies there are and wonder where the hell they were when I was in high school.

Ahh yes, all the young girls whose body image is dictated by the latest fashion mag, out to buy what the advertisers tell them they must buy. The other end of the spectrum. They have always been there, they were just wearing different clothes and hair styles back then. And remember, all the fat kids are at home playing those games or watching TV. ;)

And how can I tell just by looking who does or doesn't give a shit about the Israel/Palestine conflict or the tyranny of China over Tibet or the AIDS problem in South Africa?

Your solution is? If you're so concerned about it then go over there and do something because you'll get nowhere in this country. Most people -don't- care, in any meaningful sense, about those issues. The point being that Americans, as a whole, collectively cluck our tongues and shake our heads but then flip the channel to something less depressing. Those things are too far away and removed for most Americans to give a rats ass about what's going on outside their front yard let alone half a world away. God knows I'm guilty of that myself more often than not, I bet you are too.

It's people who don't take responsibility for their own actions that grate on my nerves, not people who don't worry themselves sick over something they basically don't have more than an illusion of a tiny fractional influence upon.

I agree with the first bit, disagree with the second. People who don't worry get in my nerves just as much as the former lot. If people were more concerned and looked at the big picture instead of the small we would be a lot better shape than we are.

Unless you want to tell us something we can do right now, personally, to stop the various idiocies and atrocities going on all around the world.

Vote responsibly? March on Washington? Take back control of the government so we COULD do something about what is going on around the world instead of just trying to maintain the status quo? Take yourself off the grid like me and mine did? Conserve water? Buy an electric car? Recycle? Don't go to fast food chains? etc etc etc. There's a lot of things a person can do to part of the solution and at least not part of the problem...but there's nothing that the average person can do to solve the greater problems of the world by themselves. To solve those we would have to act as one, and that's simply not going to happen without some kind of serious prodding. It's a shame that it took something like the Oklahoma city bombing and 911 to bring people together. Suddenly everyone was brother and sister. Doesn't say much for the species....only way we truly get along is in the face of catastrophe.
posted by Hilfy at 11:07 AM on August 18, 2002


Spacewaitress, rusty, kayjay:
Somebody actually got it. Thank you profoundly. :)
posted by eszetela at 11:21 AM on August 18, 2002


Lord Chancellor:

What and people in the business are just going to go down without a fight? Sure, I really, really, really want to use alternative energy (specially Nuclear, cause that's my thing) but I'm not kidding myself that those whose jobs depends on it, those who made a life out of it, those whose family have focused on are going to just roll over and say 'Bring on solar power' Every organization fights for its own survival. Not saying its right, but what else would you expect them to do?

Well I agree with you but that's a good illustration of what is fundamentally wrong with us. We would rather take the short term easy way out than the hard..even when it means we're trashing the planet and making it uninhabitable. Plus, while a switch would disrupt things, put people out of work etc it would also create entirely new industries that would employ just as many people. Either we do it and do it soon or we die, pretty plain and simple.

The more I've thought about it the more I realize that it's going to be up to the little guy to do it himself. Those who benefit from the current system will not change willingly...and will probably fight hard every step of the way. Nothing stopping the little guy from fighting back though. Own your own house? For a few thousand bucks you could take yourself off the power grid completely. That's what we did and we could not be happier for it. Sure, it's a bit of initial investment and more effort in upkeep and such but I'll tell you what, It's better than paying the local freaking power company 150-200 bucks for power each month during the summer. Plus we don't loose power when there is a storm :) Which, being in the country, happened quite a bit before hand. Kind of a household UPS system! :)
posted by Hilfy at 11:21 AM on August 18, 2002


Stereotype? More like a simple observation. Back in the day overweight kids were not all that common in my schools, now it's more the norm. Go walk into a highschool sometime. I recently had reason to visit a local highschool and was floored at how many kids walking the halls were at least 20, 30lbs overweight. There is no arguing that American kids and Americans in general are generally overweight and growing more so with time.

How does this say anything about the USA? What, should we start food rationing? Dictating that people can't eat fast food?

Buy an electric car?

As much as I'd love to, I mean, I really would, I don't have the money, and they just aren't efficient enough fuel/time wise right now. I'm not a bad person because I'm using an internal combustion engine.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:24 AM on August 18, 2002


"only way we truly get along is in the face of catastrophe"

Survival mechanism, we are built to act like this. All the reasoning in the world won't change the majority of the peoples basic natures. I once thought different. Then I got older and realized what wishful thinking this is. I'll live my life the best I can. Thats simply the best anyone can be asked of. You can't force this on people, it can't be marketed. It has to be reasoned out which for most people is a very hard thing. Then after you figure out the moral y right decisions you have to weigh it against practicality and short term survival and comfort level. Again most people will think too short term. We evolved to think like this. Nothing will change until we start making major changes on a genetic, intellectual and social level.
posted by madmanz123 at 11:25 AM on August 18, 2002


So I just finished lazily playing a college football game (the ultimate example of bodily excess and violence) on my PS2 (the value alone which would have fed ALL THE STARVING KIDS IN AFRICA), followed by an unhealthy meal of a Super-sized McDonald's McChicken combo meal.

And you know what, I love it. Is it wrong for me to not care about the consequences of my consumption? Is it wrong for me to just not give a damn about how the world is burning? Of course its terribly wrong, I just don't care. My sympathy only goes so far. Should I have joined a missionary group to save the world? Sure. But American life as it is right now is just too much fun. When my lucky lifestyle runs out, I'll deal with it.

As I said almost 80 comments ago, I still think the world's better than ever. The whole "World is going to hell" schitck isn't anything new.
posted by Stan Chin at 11:29 AM on August 18, 2002


Oops, should of used the preview button. *nervous laugh*

The more I've thought about it the more I realize that it's going to be up to the little guy to do it himself. Those who benefit from the current system will not change willingly...and will probably fight hard every step of the way. Nothing stopping the little guy from fighting back though. Own your own house? For a few thousand bucks you could take yourself off the power grid completely. That's what we did and we could not be happier for it. Sure, it's a bit of initial investment and more effort in upkeep and such but I'll tell you what, It's better than paying the local freaking power company 150-200 bucks for power each month during the summer. Plus we don't loose power when there is a storm :) Which, being in the country, happened quite a bit before hand. Kind of a household UPS system! :)

See, I can agree with that. I don't like government mandates that act against a certain business (as much as I like them when they act for a business). But the approach you have is great. Without tax breaks or anything else, everyone take they're house of the power grid. I can't do this right now due to apartment living, but I plan to. One of the guys at work, a Chief Petty Officer in the USN, was doing this the last time I was talking to him. (as well as espousing the virtues of the DSL over cable)
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:33 AM on August 18, 2002


Stan Chin- are you who i think you are? Cause i'd love an autograph. Or a bit of wood.
posted by robself at 11:34 AM on August 18, 2002


How does this say anything about the USA? What, should we start food rationing? Dictating that people can't eat fast food?

You missed the point Lord. The point is we EAT too much. How many other counties are there were this is a problem? Plus all the McDonalds and Burger Kings etc just keep pushing more and more food at us. I mean, cripes, first there was just three sizes... small medium and large. Now the small is what use to be a large and the large is now a freaking super size. We're eating more and doing even less as time goes on. We're constantly told to consume and buy..it's good for the economy etc. People just need to start eating smart. You want fast food? Fine, get some..just don't buy into the bull of supersizing for that 'extra' value..that getting more for your buck nonsense. You're just giving them more money at the expense of your own health when you do that.

As for the electric cars, true but that was just an example. You could buy used car and covert it to run on something else :) Another nutty green thing we're thinking of :)
posted by Hilfy at 11:37 AM on August 18, 2002


As for the electric cars, true but that was just an example. You could buy used car and covert it to run on something else :) Another nutty green thing we're thinking of :)

Okay, I'll buy that for a dollar. I could get a vehicle of running on Ethanol or something. Trust me, I eagerly read any news about making greener, cleaner machines. But the main hurdle is how easy it is to refuel still. If we could make gas stations that also sold all other types of fuel and also powered electric cars, that would pretty nifty and about the only way alternative fuel for autos will ever gain momentum.

The average person has a lot of problems on they're hand, the least are which financial. The problems that you present seem far away and inconsequential to them and they wont convert their cars when they can use the money to pay the rent/buy more hamburgers or whatever. Once again, I'm fighting the struggle as much as some, but I understand why I don't win and don't blame them for it.

*to self* I used to be so liberal/green. . . has the USN ruined me?
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:49 AM on August 18, 2002


insomnyuk: Perhaps you have a different definition of democracy than I do. Iraq, Cuba, China and Sudan certainly don't fit mine.
But this is getting a bit off topic I think.
posted by ginz at 11:51 AM on August 18, 2002


As I said almost 80 comments ago, I still think the world's better than ever. The whole "World is going to hell" schitck isn't anything new

Yeah, true, but how many generations before us have faced overpopulation, nuclear destruction, and ever increasing environmental degradation on the scale we see today? :)

Not that many I don't think. I used to think the same way..but now..now I don't know. It's been reported that Plankton, one of the bases for the entire food chain, is starting to die out now. There's a 'dead' zone in the gulf of mexico...a -dead- zone for christs sake..everything is freaking dying UV is increasing worldwide, Bush want's war with Iraq, and people are generally killing each other all over the place (Not that that is really anything new...) Just don't know anymore. When I was going to a shrink a few years ago he marveled at how I was so concerned about all this stuff and not so much about myself. Most people that come to him, he said, are concerned with problems that immediately affect them and not world wide ones. I guess I've just really lost my faith in humanity. We're nothing but a bunch of brutal, selfish creatures when it comes down to it.

Lord:

The average person has a lot of problems on they're hand, the least are which financial. The problems that you present seem far away and inconsequential to them and they wont convert their cars when they can use the money to pay the rent/buy more hamburgers or whatever. Once again, I'm fighting the struggle as much as some, but I understand why I don't win and don't blame them for it.


Yup..you hit it right on the head.. I.E. People don't care when there is an easier way out. I sometime think that the the second instinctive drive next to procreation is to do as little as possible. I mean we have walk behind -push- mowers and NOW they have a robotic lawnmower so you don't even have to go outside. Remote controls, fast food, cars that are almost to the point of driving themselves.....some call it the progress of science. Seems to me to be just pure laziness. :)

Anyways, this is getting a bit off topic and I've been too much of a mouse potato today.
posted by Hilfy at 11:59 AM on August 18, 2002


All this from some guy whose greatest achievement was winning a Clio award? (Is anyone else detecting a credibility issue here?)
posted by lilboo at 12:10 PM on August 18, 2002


ginz: don't you realize my vote doesn't count? I am not a lobbyist, I don't have millions to donate to effect the outcome of a campaign, I am not even a blip on the radar screen of most politicians. In a democracy the only people that rule are the majority.

So when the government does something bad, surely it's my fault. Because I have so much political power to change it.

You know what, if I could go and seced with a group of peace-loving, law-abiding citizens who are tired of the shenanigans of the U.S. federal government, I would. But our country would have none of that, we have already established at gunpoint that secession is illegal. So I'm stuck here until some better option comes along. In the meantime though, don't call me a murderer, please. I find it unconstructive, offensive, and the height of rhetorical idiocy.
posted by insomnyuk at 12:19 PM on August 18, 2002


insomnyuk, if you feel strongly enough about it, why don't you move? That would be the ultimate statement, and a better option, wouldn't it?
posted by ashbury at 12:26 PM on August 18, 2002


Oh, yes, we think short term. We should think long term, about the Earth, about Gaia.

"What say you, Mr. Earth-raping coal miner? Give up that job, eh?"

"Well, I don't really know how to do anything else."

"You're thinking short term! We could teach you to install solar panels or something."

"I kind of need to go to the grocery store."

"Humbug! Think of Earth! Why, I myself was able to remove myself from the grid for a measly few thousand dollars. I'm running a generator using only Venezualan Fair-Trade oil."

"That's nice. See, I have these kids..."

"Yes! Think of the children and how much better the planet will be!"

"Trouble is, they'll be dead."

"But only in the short term!"

"Still...dead."

"Hmmm. How about you then, Mr. Oil Company Executive. You're rich, you can afford to shut those refineries down."

"Yes, I suppose so. You won't mind breaking the news to refinery workers, or the auto employees, or the millions of minimum-wage gas-station attendents, and mechanics, and..."

"No, no, you do that. I have more good to do. Just tell them I'm thinking of them and that tragedy brings people together."

"Well, they'll have plenty of that."

"Exactly!"

Nice that you have lots of nice, GREEN, American dollars to throw at your environmental guilt. A few thou here to go off the grid, a few thou here to buy a car and convert it. A few thou here to take some days off work and march on Washington.

You talk about the short-term like it's ignorable. We live in a society right now that is so sensitive to suffering, injury or death that there is a hue-and-cry if soldiers get killed in the line of duty. How on Gaia do you expect this society to cope with the massive trashing of major industrial sectors and the subsequent human fallout? I happen to agree with you on what should happen. The Polyanna chirping gets to me, though.
posted by umberto at 12:28 PM on August 18, 2002


In the meantime though, don't call me a murderer, please. I find it unconstructive, offensive, and the height of rhetorical idiocy
This is just generally speaking right, because I can't remember saying or implying that.

So, why aren't you a lobbyist? I don't really mean you personally, but surely there must be some party/organization/whatever in the USA that represents your ideas.
And yes alone you are powerless. That's the whole idea of democracy.
posted by ginz at 12:38 PM on August 18, 2002


umberto:

Firstly I don't buy into th Gaia nonsense. I do buy into that if we don't take care of things the earth will take care of us. Things will just get so bad that we die out, the planet will go on and recover without us.

Secondly it's a no win situation. We'll just wait until it's too late and wonder what happend then, something that's starting to happen now. And honestly, I'm all for us getting wiped from the planet. We're not paticularly nice creatures and I'll be glad when we're all dead. :) Or at least 5.9 billion dead.
posted by Hilfy at 1:34 PM on August 18, 2002


Hilfy: Mother Nature, as we know her, is on her death bed. Rome is burning folks ... I'm all for us getting wiped from the planet.

Take a number, Hilfy.

What I find fascinating is the explicitly religious imagery of the eco-nuts and the more extreme alternative energy folks. Every crisis takes apocalyptic proportions, and assumes the nature of a moral judgement upon sinful Man.
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 2:01 PM on August 18, 2002


It's just the fuzzy thinking I find troubling...and lazy (therefore American, I guess)

I mean, Mother Nature is on her death bed...no, wait! Things will get so bad we will become extinct and the earth will recover without us. Perhaps this is some new, previously underutilized definition of deathbed I am not familiar with.

We should think long term and be more considerate of our fellow man and generations to come...no, wait! We should be wiped from the planet.

I guess this is part of that 'holding two thoughts at the same time' thing I am having trouble with. We need to be more ecologically aware. But not for the earth's sake. The earth doesn't give a shit. The earth can be hit by giant asteroids and experience eons-long ice ages, and be birthed in poison and she is still going to end up coughing up life. She can't freaking help it. We could nuke the place down to the continental plates and there would be things that live on fallout sprouting up in a few million years or so.

We should be greedy and do it for our own sake. And we should do it slowly, incrementally, and smoothly.

Too slowly right now, I admit. But we are moving. For example, five years ago how many people did you know who owned a hybrid car? None. Now a lot of us do. And more will, and the market will fuel (pardon the pun) that growth as they become desirable and even culturally chic.

So (rounding the corner on the original topic) maybe America's monstrous market obsession will drive a new faddishness for conservation at some point, much as it drives an obsession with consumption at other points.

OK, that was a feeble attempt to get back on topic, but let it be noted that I tried.
posted by umberto at 2:19 PM on August 18, 2002


I'll be glad when we're all dead. :) Or at least 5.9 billion dead

Better get started. Wouldn't want to be hypocritical, would you?
posted by yerfatma at 2:21 PM on August 18, 2002


Did any of you people who said you agreed with him read the entire thing?

This is my favorite recurring Metafilter theme -- if you disagree with me, you must not have read the whole article. Or, failing that, you're retarded.


Did you conveniently skip the part where he called you (if you live in the U.S.) a murderer, a hypocrite, and a fool? Do you agree that the vast majority of Americans are intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally bankrupt?


I spent more time last year worrying about my car than I did about the 3/4 of a million people who don't have a home in this country on a given night. I donated more than my per-capita share of money to charitable organizations last year, but I spent more than twice that just yesterday on entertainment items. I pretend to say this with guilt, but in truth neither of these things really bother me in any deep, spiritual way. The question, then, is whether my disregard signifies profound ethical shortcomings on my part, or whether my gut instinct is right, and it's really no big deal that, as Brecht said, "millions are daily tortured, stifled, punished, silenced and oppressed". Of course, any honest, rational evaluation would tell me the answer to that.

Denying responsibility for the destruction caused by our elected officials, killing civilians, ruining infrastructures, foisting horrible men into dictatorial roles in exchange for oil, ignoring refugees -- complicity in those things by way of a representative democracy combined with a history of ambivalence, inaction and denial as citizens makes you and I murderers, hypocrits and fools in the final tally. I think that's what he was saying, and, quite honestly, I believe he's right.
posted by Hildago at 2:26 PM on August 18, 2002


insomnyuk

I can understand the points the letter-writer was trying to make.

I've heard this basic attitude now from over a dozen posters. Hello? Is anybody out there? Reality is calling YOU. Come back. Did any of you people who said you agreed with him read the entire thing?


Ok, since you quoted my post, I'll bite. Yes, I did read the whole thing, just as I have read your posts to the end as well. Saying that you understand someone's point is different from saying that you agree with everything they say.

Do you agree that the vast majority of Americans are intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally bankrupt? What makes you all beautiful and unique snowflakes? I keep hearing this bullshit about the massive hordes, the masses, the sheeple, and what have you. Everyone on MeFi is so special, and its the nebulous ugly American that is the common enemy. Spare me.

Bankrupt? No. Shallow, careless, indifferent, scared, disenfranchised, uninformed....? Yes. What makes MeFiers "special"? Nothing, other than an obvious desire to seek out information. Is anyone here claiming perfection? No.
posted by kayjay at 4:59 PM on August 18, 2002


Hieronymous Coward:

Something that you seem to be missing, as do others who dismiss environmental problems as fantasy: The environment is getting worse, not better. Sure, we've cleaned up the PCBs, emissions controls are tighter, and we've managed to clean up a lot of stuff...but seems to be too little too late.

The CFCs now getting up into the ozone layer have been floating around for 50 years (Although it's been predicted that the ozone hole will close in another 50 years since we've stopped using damaging CFCs...keep your fingers crossed) Even while we're doing such a bang up job on a lot eco concerns raised in the last 30 years pollinators, vital to the worlds food supply, are starting to decline. Frogs and toads (Well known biological indicators) are disappearing worldwide. We, especially North America, are using way to much synthetic nitrogen fertilizer which releases nitrous oxide into the atmosphere...some 200 times worse than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Not to mention the impact nitrogen has once it's washed out to bodies of water which brings me to --> The seas are in trouble. This dead zone in the gulf, caused by pollutants flushed from the Mississippi has grown to almost 9000 square miles and now there's a new 'blackwater' appearing off the coast of florida as well, leaving devastation in it's path. Declining plankton, over fishing, dumping etc etc etc. Smog covers just about every major city in the world. I'm sure you've seen the recent report on the pollution cloud covering major portions of Asia. I could go on. We're fooling ourselves if we think things are getting that much better, we've just fixed some problems while new ones pop up in their place...only to be ignored and dismissed for who knows how long before someone takes serious notice.

umberto:

Tsk! I said 'Mother nature as we know her," don't misquote. And I agree it is somewhat two position thinking...I just have extremes..depending on on how irritated I am at the time in question. Sometimes I feel less murderous towards my fellow humans..then I go and read the news and get pissed off and to say the hell with them. :) I probably should clarify that my concern isn't particularly for people, it's for all the plants and critters etc that we're stomping out of existence. I don't have much use for people as whole. Unfortunately, should something nasty happen to wipe the majority of us out..and I should survive such an event...it would be very inconvenient. :) Having a somewhat typical human attitude I often want change...as long as it does not negatively impact my own way of life. Hypocritical, I know, but it's one of those ingrained human things, I think.


Too slowly right now, I admit. But we are moving. For example, five years ago how many people did you know who owned a hybrid car? None. Now a lot of us do. And more will, and the market will fuel (pardon the pun) that growth as they become desirable and even culturally chic.

So (rounding the corner on the original topic) maybe America's monstrous market obsession will drive a new faddishness for conservation at some point, much as it drives an obsession with consumption at other points.


You, dear sir, are an optimist. :)

yerfatma:

I sometimes dream about being the guy, or girl in my case, in 12 monkeys who lets the virus loose. Wooo!
posted by Hilfy at 6:22 PM on August 18, 2002


Hilfy, your continued civility is charming. Non-ironically, here is a book you might like. Where the environmentalists actiually do decide to get rid of mankind. Haven't read it in years, but it made a fascinating impression on me - enough so that I remembered the author's name after 20 years.

Actually, maybe you wouldn't like it. The point of the book is that that was a stupid thing for the environmentalists to do, now that I think about it.
posted by umberto at 6:55 PM on August 18, 2002


Umberto:

There's no point in getting irate because someone disagrees or with me or tries to figure out what I'm on about. Plus, flaming is not one of my hobbies, there's no point to it and just makes one look like a fool.

Ooo..I like the of that cover!! :) Would you like to guess what my Favorite part of Logans run is? (The movie that is)

If my opinions are right or wrong is immaterial...it's just that, one loons opinion...The World As It Should be According To Hilfy. :)
posted by Hilfy at 7:10 PM on August 18, 2002


Mmm, thread drift.

What I find fascinating is the explicitly religious imagery of the eco-nuts and the more extreme alternative energy folks. Every crisis takes apocalyptic proportions, and assumes the nature of a moral judgement upon sinful Man.

Yes, my thoughts exactly. While there is certainly such a thing as environmental science, 'environmentalists' often seem to be motivated by ideas that are more religious or aesthetic than scientific. And, in the US, this seems to have slipped right by the Establishment Clause. Which may help to explain the strong whiff of American Puritanism in many environmental ideas.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:03 PM on August 18, 2002


Yeah, he's ranting and raving - but don't fool yourselves - I suspect that this letter represent the feelings of a lot of people around the world.

I have to agree with that. Having just come back from vacation where I had the fortune of sharing a pint on a number of occasions with fellow travellers, I was suprised at the angst directed towards to the US government. I have never found the US to be overly popular in my travels but the fact that many people seem to share much of the ideas that were presented in this article means everyone I met either reads this particular paper or there is some general negative concensus forming (within the people I met travelling anyway).
posted by cmacleod at 9:40 PM on August 18, 2002


This country has become one of fat, pathetic, morons whose main concern is that tiny nick on the side of their gas guzzling SUV or what?s going to happen on the next episode of Friends?.can?t miss Must See TV now can we America? Can?t wait to stuff that next Big Mac into your gaping maw, can you?

I would contend that buying an SUV is the logical response to a country where gas is cheap and plentiful and road construction and repair are subsidized at the expense of public transit. While I personally find them ridiculous and wasteful, I don't have children and I don't need to haul large amounts of stuff around.

As for "Friends," I personally haven't watched the show in years (I try to watch as little TV as possible,) but my opinion was that the show was quite a revelation--snappy dialogue and a pervasive sense of fun, certainly better than the run of the mill sitcom. Perhaps that's why it's been on the air so long.

And as for Big Macs--well, it's cheap food, purportedly fairly good (I've never personally eaten one), and of a predictable quality, which some people like. But at the same time, food in this country has gotten distinctly more diverse and interesting within my lifetime--every reasonably sized city in the country now has a place to get sushi, a place to get Thai food, a place to get falafel. There's no coincidence that many of these new American foods are not only more interesting but also better for you than the old-school meat 'n potatoes diet, because people are more conscious of the dangers of overindulgence.

All our kids are cookie cutter images if one another. They sit and get fatter and dumber while sucking on a soft drink, playing their PS2s and X-Boxes and whine to their parents to get them Tommy Hilfigure clothes. Growing up to be the next generation of rabid consumers?assuming we make it that far.

I would submit to you that the kids of today are more tolerant of homosexuality than any prior generation of American teenagers, more tolerant of interracial dating and sex than any prior generation, more apt to be sensible about contraception and STD prevention than any prior generation, just for three examples. A lot of them are buying more stuff, but in large part, that has to do with the fact that a lot more of them have jobs. Sure there's a lot of mindless conformity with fads. I was a teenager ten years ago. It was true then, too. It was also true 20, 50 and 100 years ago. Some large percentage of people will go along with the trends. Some smaller percenage of people will swim against the tide. Where's your evidence that these percentages have changed?

The government attempts to justify all our recent military action by pointing to 911, by waving the specter of Osama Bin Laden on our TV sets.

Given the evidence which indicates that he is the leader of a group of people who conspired to kill several thousand people on American soil, people's desire to see him captured and punished somehow doesn't seem ridiculous. And given the fact that a much more flimsily-justified potential invasion of Iraq is generating anemic support in the polls, I wouldn't be too quick to assume the American people have pitched their critical-thinking abilities overboard just yet.

We have a national press that puts a baseball strike on the front page but doesn?t seem very interested in the dirty deals those in power are making.

Uh, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but a lot of people care about baseball in this country. Sorry about that. As for the "dirty deals," well, that depends on what you're talking about. Journalists can and do investigate the ethical lapses of government figures every day.

Our government was bought and paid for a long time ago it would seem. Can anyone really argue that?

I'd like to know what it means before I sign on for yea or nay.

We have a president who didn?t win the popular vote,

Because he doesn't have to, perhaps? (Article II, Section 1.) I'm as honked off as the next Democrat that Al Gore got jobbed out of his rightful win, but that anger is more properly directed at Republicans doing a better job of gaming the system post-Election Day in Florida, not to mention the idiot lefties who needed to, like, make a statement so freaking badly that one tenth of them couldn't bring themselves to pull the lever for Al Gore in a critical state everyone knew he needed to win.

(Side) note to Nader voters: you can either honestly believe that there's no difference between the Democrats and Republicans, in which case there's no point in complaining about the way the election turned out ("This guy stole the election from the other corporate pawn!"), or you can start making it up to us by acknowledging your own complicity in what has happened since, and think long and hard about maybe kinda sorta trying to do some real good by dropping the sexy-but-pointless rebellion and making real changes within the Democratic Party.

an Attorney General who is doing his best to gut the Bill of Rights,

If I could wave a wand and rid the world of John Ashcroft tomorrow, I would do so and not look back. But let's not go nuts here. The most egregious stuff the Justice Department has yet come up with doesn't compare to the McCarthy HUAC, or Japanese internment camps or the Palmer Raids, let alone some sort of Orwellian nightmare scenario.

911 was the beginning of the end I think. Did our government let it happen? Have a hand in it? Hard to say?there?s interesting tid bits out there that suggest such things but no one is really looking?and those that are seem to be quickly hushed up one way or the other.

Mmmkay, how's about you, you know, look? Too bad you'll be disappointed by what you find.

Even if the government did not have any direct involvement it is our ongoing and constant interference in the Middle East that is to blame. And WHY are we in the middle east again kids? Oil?we have to protect our precious supply of oil so we can keep filling Bush & Friends pockets and our ridiculously inefficient cars.

Well, things like advocating improved CAFE standards for SUVs and racheting up the gas tax would help in this regard, but achieving real goals like that demands that people work to persuade their neighbors about why we need to do things, and to make compromises, and to deal with the government as a group of people, not as a shadowy monolith bent on rape and pillage. Unfortunately, these are skills which seem to be beyond the ken of those who are better equipped to call their fellow citizens "fatasses" and "morons" and consequently--quelle surprise--win 3% of the vote.

As for the environment: We currently have the technology, and have had it for years, to do away with oil, but do we do it? Oh, a token here, a token there?just enough so they can say ?Look! See! We?re trying! Really we are!? while those who stand to profit from it fill their already overflowing pockets.

Some supporting evidence would be helpful here.

No..no I think Mister McDougall hit it right on the head. I used to be a proud American, convinced that we were the Best and the Just. I obvioulsy don't think that anymore.

Well, guess what. Withdrawl in disgust helps nothing. Paranoid conspiracy theories help nothing. Holding people to impossibly high standards helps nothing. Calling people "pathetic sheep" doesn't endear them to your cause. If you want to join the fight, grab a rifle and a shovel and help us dig the damn trench, don't sit behind us in a barcalounger and tell us how tacky our flag is.

?reminds me of that Midnight Oil song

I'm reminded of a Beatles song. Something about pictures of Chairman Mao.
posted by sexualchocolate at 2:47 AM on August 19, 2002


It'd be one thing if this was written by a European, but a Canadian waving a finger at the US crying 'for shame' is pretty laughable. Turn your vitriol towards your own government, buddy, a government that does its best to be the US's prime bitch, a government that's selling its water supply, natural resources, its defenses and its culture out to your 'nation of monsters'.

What's worse, McDougal, a nation of monsters, or a nation that puts a leash on itself and hands the tether to a nation of monsters?

I'm a Canadian who has lived in the US for the last three years. I've come to really like the US, despite once feeling the same way the author of this screed does about Americans. I think Canadians need to worry a lot more about Canada than we do the US. Political apathy in Canada is going to see it gradually become the 51st state that many Americans joke it already is. If there's one thing I admire about Americans, it's their passion. This is what Canadians should take from our southern neighbours, and not Friends, Starbucks and Disney (who own the bloody rights to the 'Mountie' image!).
posted by picea at 8:05 AM on August 19, 2002


Political apathy in Canada is going to see it gradually become the 51st state...

I resent that remark picea - everybody knows that the UK is the 51st state, we've even got a 'special friendship'.
posted by niceness at 8:25 AM on August 19, 2002


Sexualchocolate:

I would contend that buying an SUV is the logical response to a country where gas is cheap and plentiful and road construction and repair are subsidized at the expense of public transit. While I personally find them ridiculous and wasteful, I don't have children and I don't need to haul large amounts of stuff around.

I would contend that they are irresponsible waste of resources. Just because gas isn't sky high like it is everywhere should not be a license to produce gas guzzling crap. We can make an engine that very efficient but we do not. Auto makers like gas guzzlers...for what is good for big oil is usually good for the Auto industry as well. If you need to haul your kids around, get a minivan. If you need to haul a large amount of stuff you don't buy an SUV, you buy a pickup or a truck. The vast majority of SUVs are nothing more than pseudo truck bodies on car chassis.

As for "Friends," I personally haven't watched the show in years (I try to watch as little TV as possible,) but my opinion was that the show was quite a revelation--snappy dialogue and a pervasive sense of fun, certainly better than the run of the mill sitcom. Perhaps that's why it's been on the air so long.

It is my opinion that it's simplistic entertainment for the masses that doesn't have any real redeeming value other than keeping the people preoccupied and giving them something to talk about around the water cooler.

And as for Big Macs--well, it's cheap food, purportedly fairly good (I've never personally eaten one), and of a predictable quality, which some people like.

Cheap? That's an illusion. For the same money one spends on a 'super value meal' to feed one you could buy enough food to feed an entire family. It's not cheap, they just tell you it's cheap. What it is is easy to get. People don't like to cook, we're all to busy..people LOVE not having to do something themselves and will, more often than not, opt for the easy way out.

Of course it tastes good. That's what they are all about, as are all large chains like that. Take a look at the fat and salt contents in that junk...fat and salt, two of the human taste buds favorites....also killers. That food is designed to taste as best as it can, to hell with how healthy it is as long as it keeps your coming back for more.

But at the same time, food in this country has gotten distinctly more diverse and interesting within my lifetime--every reasonably sized city in the country now has a place to get sushi, a place to get Thai food, a place to get falafel. There's no coincidence that many of these new American foods are not only more interesting but also better for you than the old-school meat 'n potatoes diet, because people are more conscious of the dangers of overindulgence.


That I agree with as I have seen the same trend, but I'll bet McDonalds coffers are bigger.

I would submit to you that the kids of today are more tolerant of homosexuality than any prior generation of American teenagers, more tolerant of interracial dating and sex than any prior generation, more apt to be sensible about contraception and STD prevention than any prior generation, just for three examples.

That has what to do with my point? Of course they are more tolerant..the entire country is as a whole. It does, however, depend on where you are. Come to the backwater towns of North Carolina and see how much tolerance you get, I should know, same goes for interracial dating. They are more 'informed' but apparently no smarter. Go to the CDC and have a look at some of the reports on STDS. Ask your average high schooler to point out India, or Spain on a world map...I bet you get a blank look back.

I was a teenager ten years ago. It was true then, too. It was also true 20, 50 and 100 years ago. Some large percentage of people will go along with the trends. Some smaller percentage of people will swim against the tide. Where's your evidence that these percentages have changed?

That was not my point. I was not talking about fads, other than the Hilfigure comment, I was talking about how fat, ignorant and generally more cattle like they are becoming thanks to our increasingly sedentary way of life.
I also made a reply to a similar comment that was along the lines to which I respond: "They have always been there, they were just wearing different clothes and hair styles back then." I don't see kids out playing hide and seek, tag or kick the can much these days either. No, they're all inside playing super mario on the latest and greatest. Of course worried parents don't like their kids outside anymore..might get abducted and murdered eh?

Given the evidence which indicates that he is the leader of a group of people who conspired to kill several thousand people on American soil, people's desire to see him captured and punished somehow doesn't seem ridiculous.

Never said it was ridiculous. What's ridiculous is the keystone cop pratfalls of those who were supposed to prevent thinks like that and inactivity of the Bush administration on events leading up to 911. What's even more ridiculous is we made Osama. We gave him training, weapons..he even walked the halls of the CIA...because it was useful at the time...then dropped him like a bad habit once our interest was served. They hate us over there, and have good reason too. You don't see things like that too widely covered in American press.

And given the fact that a much more flimsily-justified potential invasion of Iraq is generating anemic support in the polls, I wouldn't be too quick to assume the American people have pitched their critical-thinking abilities overboard just yet.

Oh I would. The polls reflect that, I'm willing to bet, only because there's others in the government and media who actually are questioning Bushes reasons to pounce on Iraq this time around. If there was no objections the public would be as gung-ho as they were back in 91. Bad ole Saddam! No question he's a bad guy.....but he's just another fine fellow we used to be good friends with when they were fighting someone we didn't like. Our government has made these problems, they didn't just spring out of nowhere. Playing devils advocate for a moment, it's easy to point to the past and say look at the stupid things they did! I'm sure, at the time, it must have seemed like a good idea. That just means we need to rethink our motives and look down the line when we stick our fingers in other peoples pie.

If I could wave a wand and rid the world of John Ashcroft tomorrow, I would do so and not look back. But let's not go nuts here. The most egregious stuff the Justice Department has yet come up with doesn't compare to the McCarthy HUAC, or Japanese internment camps or the Palmer Raids, let alone some sort of Orwellian nightmare scenario.

Doesn't compare yet. Things are just getting started! Ashcroft is doing his damndest to follow in McArthys footsteps. This time, at least, there's more resistance to his insanity and we can hope to hold him off until the republicans are swept out of office this fall and in 2004.

but that anger is more properly directed at Republicans doing a better job of gaming the system post-Election Day in Florida

Don't you mean rigging the system? How about outright underhandedness? Or cheating perhaps?

Unfortunately, these are skills which seem to be beyond the ken of those who are better equipped to call their fellow citizens "fatasses" and "morons" and consequently--quelle surprise--win 3% of the vote.

Ahh, very nice, was wondering when you would say something like that.

I wasn't aware I was so inactive! My goodness, just WHAT have I been doing all these years? Those letters to congressmen, those donations, a picket here, a rally there, etc. Please don't pretend to know what I have or have not done. Oh, and I didn't vote for Nader.

Some supporting evidence would be helpful here.

For which, the tech or the crooks? Tech was already answered. The other...hmmm. Enron anyone? The rigged CA power crisis? Bush's continued support of big oil? Come now....the evidence is all around you, open your eyes.

Well, guess what. Withdrawl in disgust helps nothing. Paranoid conspiracy theories help nothing. Holding people to impossibly high standards helps nothing. Calling people "pathetic sheep" doesn't endear them to your cause. If you want to join the fight, grab a rifle and a shovel and help us dig the damn trench, don't sit behind us in a barcalounger and tell us how tacky our flag is.


#1 What paranoid conspiracy theory? Where did I mention a conspiracy? What, my concern that the government might have had a hand in 911? Or that Big Oil want's to keep the money flowing to them at everything else's expense? Considering our own government has experimented on US citizens, supported corrupt regimes abroad, and done any number of horrible things; I think those views are more of a valid concern. Even one of our own prior presidents warned us of letting the military industrial complex run amok, was he paranoid as well then?

#2 What standards should we hold people to then hmm? Standards of Dull Mediocrity? Standards of Slightly Better Than Average? You tell me.

#3 They are sheep for the most part. I don't care if I endear them or not anymore. I've been there and done that and you know what? Screw them. I'm tired of fighting for those who would rather stick their head in the sand. I've been fighting for a long time, probably a lot longer than you..if you have at all. The thing is, as you get older you get tired of the never ending battle. Fighting is for the young, something I no longer am. I'm content to back off and be with the support units now. I've done my share, and continue to do it, if not in as active a way as I did in my youth.

#4 Funny you should mention trenches, because that's exactly how it feels. Each side dug in, lobbing shells at each other for years..a bit of ground gained..a bit of ground lost. Problem is the enemy is better funded, better equipped, and more organized so we never seem to gain back all that was lost. Trying to get environmentalists, and any groups of differing ideology in general, together to act like one unified entity is like herding cats.

#5 I don't own a barcalounger.
posted by Hilfy at 10:19 AM on August 19, 2002


Oh::

Uh, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but a lot of people care about baseball in this country. Sorry about that.

Yes, yes they do. The care more about baseball than more important things. Thank you for supporting my point.

As for the "dirty deals," well, that depends on what you're talking about. Journalists can and do investigate the ethical lapses of government figures every day.

Talk to Greg Palast about that.
posted by Hilfy at 10:32 AM on August 19, 2002


Why don't Americans wake up and do something?

1) Because the gulf between left and right seems unbreachable most days.

2) Total lack of unity on the left. Case in point: someone intelligent and pragmatic like sexualchocolate comes along, who, I might note, is on the same side of the issues as hilfy is, and hilfy rips him apart for his lack of ideological purity. No wonder getting people on the left to agree is like "herding cats."

Hilfy, what is your problem? It sounds like you hate yourself and everyone else in the world, too. No wonder you have a hard time getting anything accomplished.
posted by spacewaitress at 11:43 AM on August 19, 2002


What's worse, McDougal, a nation of monsters, or a nation that puts a leash on itself and hands the tether to a nation of monsters?

I don't think that's fair. While they've succumbed--like the rest of the world--to the US' cultural hegemony, they've managed to maintain a higher standard of living and higher sustainable development than the US (source) without incurring the wrath of the entire world. You assume that being the dominant force in international politics is definably a good thing, while experience is showing us that compromise is in many ways better. Here, I'll just say it: at least nobody is ramming jet liners into Canadian buildings.
posted by Hildago at 11:46 AM on August 19, 2002


spacewaitress:

I don't see what that comment has to do with getting anything accomplished. accomplished? I've accomplished a heck of a lot in my time. It just got to the point where I felt like I was trying to hold back the tide. Time has passed but the problems tend to be the same.

I do tend to hate people these days when I look at them as a whole. I've seen a lot of things in my time and most of it not very pleasant. As my SO tells me,"You're a god dammed bitter old nag!" Which is true. :)
posted by Hilfy at 11:56 AM on August 19, 2002


You assume that being the dominant force in international politics is definably a good thing, while experience is showing us that compromise is in many ways better

Canada is not a force in international politics because they don't have a choice. On the international scale, the opinion of Canada doesn't mean much (which is no knock against the country, that's just how it is - John Candy notwithstanding). America on the other hand has no choice. It is the burden/obligation of the most powerful democracy to have a say in international affairs.

also: The right can be just as fractured as the left - many of them fault GWB for being too moderate (crazy, yeah - I know), much as the Nader-wing left did with Clinton/Gore. It's just that they've realized that to get a little you have to give a little.
posted by owillis at 12:22 PM on August 19, 2002


I'm surprised that the majority of responses were ad hominems... that means he must be an idiot right?

Wrong.

The points that he brings up are the kind that are easily refuted by arguments like "well, it's better than Canada," or "he's just a paranoid freak, that will never happen." Well go ahead and tell me I was a paranoid freak when I thought Ashcroft was a fucking nutcase. Tell me my friends in college that were deathly afraid of Osama bin Laden four years ago were just ranting. And tell me that, by agreeing with this guy when he says we're totally fucked, that I'm a conspiracy freak.

You know what this guy is going to be writing in ten years? It's five words long...


I told you so...


ASSHOLES!
.
posted by zekinskia at 2:02 PM on August 19, 2002


Of course it tastes good. That's what they are all about, as are all large chains like that. Take a look at the fat and salt contents in that junk...fat and salt, two of the human taste buds favorites....also killers. That food is designed to taste as best as it can, to hell with how healthy it is as long as it keeps your coming back for more.


What, McDonalds has the moral responsibility to make their food taste bad?

What's wrong with video games vs. traditional hide and seek and whatnot? Sounds almost reactionary.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 2:06 PM on August 19, 2002


Lord:

McDonalds has no morals at all :) The point being that they cater to what will sell the most product. If that product happens to be bad for people, who cares? McDonalds does not have the health of it's customers in mind.

What's wrong with video games vs. traditional hide and seek and whatnot? Sounds almost reactionary.

What's wrong is instead of getting outside, getting exercise and sun more and more are instead sitting in front of a TV with a game controller in their pudgy little hands. Video games are fine but I know kids who spend all their free time on the dam things. You can have video games. They are fun, even this old mare plays them, but too many people let their kids spend far too much time on them.

Funny thing, some games are actually getting kids worked up. What's that one, Revolution? I saw that a few months back, on one of my rare treks to the 'local' mall, and could not believe my eyes...there was a huge crowd around the darn thing. Now that I can get behind, they tricked the little bastards into getting exercise! That's my kind of sneekery! :)
posted by Hilfy at 3:06 PM on August 19, 2002


America on the other hand has no choice. It is the burden/obligation of the most powerful democracy to have a say in international affairs.

I don't know, man, that sounds like one of those Can God Make a Stone So Heavy He Can't Lift It things; if we're really the most powerful democracy in the world, what is obliging us to have a say in international affairs? And for that matter, having a say in international affairs would be an very inadequate description of what we've been doing since the beginning of the cold war, wouldn't you say?
posted by Hildago at 4:07 PM on August 19, 2002


Doesn't every company work to perpetuate its own existence? Of course they cater to those who buy their products, they buy their products! McDonalds makes food, it isn't health food but then going to a pastry shop isn't exactly healthy choice either. By the Heavens, I want both of those options if I so desire! If McDonalds becomes a huge corporation because their stuff sells, then that means they are being successful. If I ruin my body, then its my problem, not theirs. I don't have to buy their food. And I'm not going to be angry because they are using legitimate business techniques to become powerful. That's like blaming the people who make fermented beverages because people like them. What business makes stuff people don't like?

Yeah, I love video games. I grew up in a poor household of 8 kids so I had plenty of time to play all of those outside games. I was also a desperate consumer of video games (always about 5 years late or so, due to poverty) I don't think anyone encourages their kids to play video games (in fact, I've heard more children call their parents tyrants because they set limits) I also remember some people saying that it was 'unhealthy' that I stay in and read so much when I could be getting exercise.

The point is. . . this isn't a plague; its how life always was and probably always will be.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 4:19 PM on August 19, 2002


Sans the rant, he actually has made some points. The ones who sumarilly dismiss him either know this, or would rather comfortably establish him as a looney Canadian. Some sentences do speak in Marxist neo-fascistic undertones, but overall I give this guys content a "B" for telling us what we already are.

Most any other country in the world will support most of his major points, and if we as Americans can't see some of what he's sayng, we are being ignorant.
posted by omidius at 5:08 PM on August 19, 2002


Lord:

Eh..I could go on but you have points, this thread is getting too long, and I'm tired. It's not so much about McDonalds and their ilk as it is about human nature, Which pretty much boils down to three things: Screw, Eat, and do as little as possible inbetween the prior two. People will generally take advantage of others and do what it takes to make more and more money. People will gladly let themselves be taken advantage if it's not obvious and tastes good at the same time. :)
posted by Hilfy at 5:59 PM on August 19, 2002


Screw, Eat, and do as little as possible inbetween the prior two.

Yeah, you summed up pretty much every single animal.

No, wait. . . you really do have some valid points I agree with most of your ideas; I just don't think we should blame the human race for every evil thing. I'm just saying, sometimes its pointless to critique. Sometimes the only way to make people listen is just to work for them whether you like 'em or not. I'm tired to and it's time to let this thread end, so I'll end with one thing. . .

The battle isn't lost yet!
posted by Lord Chancellor at 6:12 PM on August 19, 2002


Over the next 15 years, let's take one-third of the R&D money that the U.S. government has given to large, centralized nonrenewable energy sources like nuclear power over the last 45 years and invest it into research into decentralized renewable energy sources.

*Then* let's have this conversation.
posted by mediareport at 6:40 PM on August 19, 2002


What's wrong with centralized power?

(note: I work at a nuclear power plant)
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:35 PM on August 19, 2002


if we're really the most powerful democracy in the world, what is obliging us to have a say in international affairs?

The rest of the world. Doubt that? Listen to the howls of indignation at the "retreating superpower" we would hear if America chose to disengage from world affairs.
posted by owillis at 8:09 PM on August 19, 2002


Sans the rant, he actually has made some points

True. But he's like the anti-war protestors who spat on returning Vietnam vets and screamed "Murderers!" at them, or the animal-rights activists throwing blood on women who dare to wear fur. However noble his motivations, he's just asking for it.

Personally, I don't have a fat ass, and I don't care about Friends, but neither do I care what some guy who brands me as a "monster" thinks.
Nor do I care whether he's from Canada or Saudi Arabia or The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave; that's not relevant, nor any reason to diss his entire nation. But I'll diss him as a troll just the same.

Nor do I care that this thread died a long time ago and my comments don't matter anyway and are just another fart in the wind--downwind from the sewage farms of Foggy Bottom and Baltimore, at that.

I do care that the corporations and their cats'-paws in government are screwing us all royally (even though I can't swallow the theory they were complicit in the 9/11 attacks). But even if I wasn't too busy trying to earn a living to march on Washington, Nixon would only pull the drapes and watch a football game on TV.
--Oops, wrong milennium.
posted by StOne at 8:11 PM on August 19, 2002


What's wrong with centralized power?

Oops. Was the instinctive libertarian/anarchist in me leaking out again? I try to pacify him with bacteria- and hormone-ridden meat but it never works.

I'll just say I've always been a fan of decentralization over concentrated centralized power; it's a preference that I've noticed popping up in a lot of areas. I guess the "bigger is better" mentality has always just struck me as off-target. I know there are some economies of scale in lots of situations, but I think the people who get off on controlling large numbers of people often exaggerate economies of scale to boost their own power. *shrugs* It's just what I've seen.

I think that if we saw a significant fraction of the government handouts we've given the nuclear power industry over the last half-century start getting redirected to renewable alternatives that didn't produce waste we have no long-term plan for handling, we'd make some real progress in generating decentralized networks of inexpensive, locally-controlled electricity that weren't vulnerable to the kind of criminal manipulation we saw from the likes of Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay two summers ago.

(note: I work at a nuclear power plant)

Awesome. Does that mean you'll be drawn to or repulsed by future nuke power threads? :) Either way, I'm looking forward to what you have to say.
posted by mediareport at 9:23 PM on August 19, 2002


Was the instinctive libertarian/anarchist in me leaking out again?

Now you're FINALLY talking some sense! Leak away! ;-)
posted by evanizer at 9:52 PM on August 19, 2002


Awesome. Does that mean you'll be drawn to or repulsed by future nuke power threads? :) Either way, I'm looking forward to what you have to say.

Of course, I comment upon what I know. :)

Yeah, I can see the use of decentralized power and all, especially for areas that don't have the infrastructure to support centralized power. In fact, I think its pretty spiffy that in Japan, you can sell excess power (if you produce any) back at the same rate you buy it for.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 2:17 PM on August 20, 2002


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