Over here on my little sceptered isle, there is a sizeable proportion of people who are firmly of the belief that we have way more in common with Americans than with Europeans. Based on the dual ideas that Europeans are all just cheese/pasta/tapas-eating surrender monkeys with dubious attitudes to personal hygiene and that some centuries ago, some Americans started out British, they think that Europeans are beneath contempt whilst Britain and America are, as nations, sympatico.
Well, sure we are, if you think that the British are all bat-shit crazy.
Oh, that’s just a bit of hyperbole, forgive me. I am not anti-American, well, not any more than I’m anti every other nation, including my own. Sure, America has all the power so it can fuck us all over, but you can bet that when the Chinese take over, they won’t be fucking us any less. And talking of fucking, has anyone ever seen fucking like the British Empire managed? Awesome stuff, that was. We fucked people until there was nobody left to fuck in the whole world! Unrivalled even now, I would suggest. Yeah, go us!
No, there’s no knee-jerk anti-Americanism here. I used to live in America for a while when I was a kid and it was frickin’ brilliant. It helped that I lived in California which, to a ten year old was like one huge theme park with occasional earthquakes for added frisson. Come to think of it, I suspect it would seem like one giant theme park to me even now. A fabulous place, existing in my head as a land of eternal sunshine, DisneyLand, the Grand Canyon and playing dare running barefoot over patches of grass known to be infested with Black Widow spiders. Aah, those were the days!
And my family and I met many, many Americans during that time, making firm and lasting friendships with people who were generous and open and kind-hearted and just, well, just quite unlike our friends at home in their generousness and openness and kind-heartedness. Course, when I got older I realised that it helped that, like the majority of them, we were white and presenting as vaguely middle-class by then and had the added advantage of having British accents which it turned out, Americans really do love (which is weird considering that whenever I talk to an American I always have a vague sense of shame because I feel like I’m putting on a voice straight out of Downton Abbey and pretending to be posh). But still, it remains that my formative opinion of Americans were entirely positive.
And those opinions remain today. We get a fair few Americans round BoogieVille and, still, I find them friendly and warm to the point it makes me feel uncomfortable until I remember that I’m English and therefore at my happiest when uncomfortable.
But, oh, my dear American friends, for all their friendliness, suffer from the disease that every nation on earth suffers from. Put a small group of people together, and some will be nice, some will be not so nice, and some will be bat-shit crazy. Put that group under some tribal banner and everybody goes bat-shit crazy. Or that will at least appear to be the case to the casual observer.
Bat-shit crazy: the national disease that all nations suffer from.
I’ve been pondering the particular bat-shit craziness of America (for every nation has its own version of bat-shit craziness) for some time, but during 2011, I really found myself swirling American bat-shit craziness in my cafe au lait on a daily basis. I mean, seriously, what the fuck is it with America and abortion? I confess to feelings of total unknowingness on the issue and I’m not generally known for my ignorance. Sure, sure, I get that religion is involved (when isn’t it?), and I get that rather than ‘America’, I really mean ‘Republicans’, and I get that Roe v. Wade has always been, and remains, controversial, and I get that, as everywhere, abortion is never about abortion and always about women and control thereof, but…but…but…but…a religious right exists in every other Western country and everybody has history and the Patriarchy hates women everywhere. What is it that has turned abortion into America’s own private bat-shit craziness?
And 2011 really seemed to be a year when bat shit abortion craziness reached epic proportions in the US. It seemed at one point that you couldn’t read a US-based site without being confronted by yet another state’s attempt to derail R v. W. Kansas , South Dakota, Ohio, Indiana…the list, seemingly, is endless. And then there’s the over-aching Planned Parenthood battle. Then they actually started turning miscarriage into a criminal offence. And I haven’t even mentioned the personhood amendment. Mainly because I can’t without wanting to cry, or possibly laugh hysterically like a hyena.
And this endless roll of attacks on women came at a time when America are smack bang in the middle of one of the worst economic disasters of all time. Millions of Americans losing their jobs, losing their homes, losing their benefits, losing everything and they still found time to not only police women’s uteruses but to prosecute women who miscarry? Slap my backside and call me dim, but what the fuck is going on? Don’t politicians have anything better to do with their time? Is the thinking that well, the ecomony is just so unsolvable a problem, we’d better distract people with something else? like a ‘Look! There’s a woman miscarrying! Let’s burn her and forget about the fact we just effectively got you fired and put your kids on welfare you’re no longer eligible for and which was the reason you were considering abortion anyway!’?
And it just gets weirder, because by ‘republicans’, it seems I might actually mean just the tiny sub-group of ‘Republican politicians’ because I read somewhere (buggered if I can remember where), that S.Dakota’s politicians have passed anti-abortion legislation twice that the electorate has subsequently over-turned. So even the people who vote for these people recognise their bat-shit craziness – which presumably (these people have no shame it seems) they displayed ample evidence of before they got voted in. Huh?
And then it just got weirder still because the Republican party then apparently (I say apparently because I’m just not sure I can quite believe it), started to consider Michele Bachmann as a serious presidential candidate, when the woman was clearly nuts. Or bat-shit crazy all by herself, if you will. Not only anti-abortion, but anti-gay, anti-taxation, and publicly of the opinion that ‘blacks were better off under slavery’. Bat-shit crazy? Holy crap, it doesn’t even come close to a description. It’s like the British public considering making Nadine Dorries Queen.
I didn’t get it – but then I am just ‘the casual observer’. But it sure didn’t make no sense to me.
Was, I pondered, British bat-shit crazy even worse? Well, it’s difficult for me to say, living smack back in the middle of it, with no casual observer benefit. I mean, what is the British version? Bloody foreigners? The inexplicable belief that we as a nation still have some real world power? Voting in the ConDem coalition? Ah-hah! It was then I realised that you could scratch that about making Nadine Dorries Queen, and amend to ‘It’s like the British public voting in David Condom Cameron and then whining when he fucks us all for pleasure.’
Then it made a bit more sense.
And then it just made less sense all over again because, America, I ask you only this:
Ron Paul? Really??