Sunday, April 09, 2006

Have We Lost it or Are We Just Lost?

Here's a response I posted on the Guardian newspaper's blog, Comment is Free. It's a response to another blog entry posted by a Guardian editor, Richard Adams,who suggests that perhaps the U.S.– politically, at least – has finally gone mad. Adams began to wonder about the sanity of our country after, on a recent trip to America, he moseyed on into a Barnes and Noble, only to find books such as Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them, Bernard Goldberg's 100 People who are Screwing up in America, and, of course, Michael Moore's Dude, Where's my Country. Adams also noted in his entry how prominently these books were displayed at the store.

Each book Adams refers to has opinions, musings and rantings in it that range from rash to virulent, which, as mentioned, prompted Adams to ask himself, "Have Americans finally lost it?"

"It's true that the US has always had a strand of adversarial literature, but the sheer weight of the current crop surpasses previous efforts. These books aren't being sold in some dodgy little bookshop – this is in Barnes & Noble. These books are being produced by the likes of HarperCollins...It's hardly breaking news to identify America as split violently in two, but the savagery of the attacks is deeper and more enduring than many in Europe realizes. Is it healthy, or is it a sign of a sick society? If nothing else it suggests a long, unhealthy bout of introspection."

So, I said...

"Many interesting points, Mr. Adams, but I think the most interesting of all – and the one you just mentioned in passing – deals with America's mentality in a post-9/11 world. As you said, publishers don't publish books if they don't sell, and the themes of the books seen in Barnes and Noble are indeed a reflection of the zeitgeist. So, now, what can we infer? This: Americans are scared. Americans are confused. 9/11 threw this country into a tailspin. Americans, more than ever, want to reaffirm who they are. Why? Because 9/11, understandably, made the condition of an already uncertain world seem more uncertain.

Cue the polemical authors.

Let's face it, the political situation out there is pretty complex. And most Americans simply can't grasp such complexities. That's why they need these polemical authors to help them "better navigate" the state of politics and culture. Unfortunately, though, most of these authors are probably better at ranting than they are writing."

What do you think? Are Americans simply now reaping the rotten fruit of two bad decisions, namely, their decision for president in 2000 and 2004? Or was it 9/11 that threw this country into a tailspin? Are our Red state-Blue state rivalries symptomatic of an unhealthy society?


Wow, how about this Bush guy, huh? First he says that whoever leaked the information to a NY Times reporter that led to a C.I.A. agent’s cover getting blown would be punished or brought to justice, or whatever the fuck other hokey phrase he often uses. Well, guess what, boys and girls, it turns out Bush himself authorized those leaks about Valerie Plame.

God bless America.