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Daring and occasional misadventures in an American cultural wasteland. Features a population which does not believe in evolution but does agree with American involvement in Iraq, thinks Adam Sandler is actually fucking funny, that their country in the centre (sorry 'center') of the universe and Texas in the centre of their country and that child beauty pageants are actually somehow a good idea. 'Dudes', I'm not making this up... any of it.
Links:
Define. Films. Queer. Suicide. America.
Mar. 1st, 2006 @ 02:04 pm What's wrong, America?
About this Entry
Current Mood: angryangry
Current Music: Clash; 'Koka-Kola'
It's been a while since I bitched about American culture so I really thought I should have another go. People here tend to get very defensive when a 'foreigner' such as myself starts knocking on their sacred country and its many faults but these folks tend to forget several things. One, is that I am an American myself. I was born here, I'm a citizen of this country and I always have been. Another thing people don't tend to get is that it somethimes takes an 'outsider' to see the most fundamental faults with a system - especially when the populace has been generally misinformed about their nations place in the world and have been, effectively, brainwashed en-masse into believing they live in the greatest country in the world.

Well, of course, even the idea of their being a greatest country in the world is preposterous. Nowhere is perfect, everywhere on the planet has serious faults sociologically. The problem I find with America is how willfully ignorant people seem to be that they live with a flawed system that has repurcussions not only for them but for the rest of the planet.

The media is to blame to some extent. Televison news would be laughable if it wasn't so alarming. Let's face it, as a nation America is lazy. In a 'consumer society' the most common thing to do it to consume, naturally. In a consumer society with no ceiling to the consumption people will not stop. So, as long as Walmart is stocked up with everything you think you want you don't really care about what's happening beyond your countries borders. Keep them fat, keep them stupid is the order of the day. The terrifying thing is that people seem content with this. Therefore, as long as the media keep on churning out inane sitcoms and wall-to-wall sports networks, as long as Fear Factor and American Idol are turning people into mindless, zombified proles you're going to think you're free. Incredibly simple, but effective - the media knows this, and so does the governement of course.

CNN is seen here as a bastion of 'real' news reporting, which it clearly isn't. Its loaded reports on 'Gulf War II' and its feeble world news don't hide the fact that it sorely lacks any kind of investigative news reporting at all. The few Americans who can even be bothered to take an interest in recent events in Iran will never know that this country has had a nuclear program for years now but that the US turned a blind eye to it in order to secure Irans allowance for American troops to invade Iraq. Instead we get a 'brave CNN war reporter' in a tin hat on the front lines of Bagdhad talking to US troops about operation Enduring Freedom. It sure looks like real news, if this is what you've been fed all your life.

Is it any wonder, however, given the jingoistic 'God bless America' attitude that is foistered on the populace from such a young age? Let me say this, NOBODY should be 'proud' of their country - wherever it is. We are born where we are born, or maybe we choose to move there, but pride is a dangerous thing, and pride in our country is the most dangerous of all.

Why?

Simple really, because countries are run by governments. These governments rarely have the best interests of their people at heart. Sure, there is no harm in being proud of things your country might have achieved, at the great artists, even the great politicians it may have spawned and yet they, just like you, had no choice in where they were born so being proud of your 'country' just makes no sense.

But we're talking about America, specifically, here and what would anyone truly have to be proud of, as an American, in the 21st century? That their country is stuck in an illegal and unjust war with no obvious resolution? That it has turned its back on the Kyoto protocol to lessen the effects of global warming? That its government is spying, without warrents, on its own people - directly contravening its, once hallowed, constitution? Americans don't even seem to care about these things, which gives a very good explanation to those naive citizens who wonder why their country is so universally despised by the rest of the world right now.

The media and the goverment would both like you to believe this is jealousy. Most of you would like to believe that too. The truth, though, is very different. Nobody, certainly nobody in the countries I have visited in recent years, envies Americans any more. Maybe they did once, but we all have what you have. In fact, Europeans enjoy far more freedom than Americans in almost every way. Americans don't want to hear this, it makes them uncomfortable, because it leads to the realisation that they are being lied to on multiple levels. You can buy cool stuff, but that has nothing to do with being free. Capitalism and democracy are mutually exclusive, but people here believe one cannot exist without the other. This makes no sense, there is no logic behind it all all, but if you're told a lie enough times it becomes accepted wisdom.

I've had people tell me, in all seriousness, that America is a 'kick 'ass' country that takes shit from nobody else. Well, you know what? The US might be able to bully the world, although its recent success rate (say, over the last thirty years or so) is not good but that endears it to nobody. US foreign policy is directly responsible for most of the terrorist actions performed against this country in recent years. Shockingly, post 9/11 most people here never asked themselves 'Why has this happened?'. Bin Laden was simply 'evil' (which is true enough, of course) and years of insipid Hollywood action fare and shallow media coverage helped ensure only a few asked what his motivation might be.

I dated a girl here who, despite having fairly rapid and reactionary views on numerous politically charged subjects, told me that she didn't want to hear what her country was doing in her name because it 'upset her'. She looked incredulous when I told her which country financed and trained Al Qaida troops in Afghanistan to fight Russians or pointed out the child casualties of US-led bombings on Kosovo or Iraq that had been screened on European television. She said she'd rather be ignorant (her words) of these things because they messed with her view of her country. Sad to say, she was not an exceptional case. Far from being envious of Americans, most Europeans - aware of the lessening of civil liberties over here and the populace's general apathy towards this - believe people here increasingly have the society they deserve.

I was going to rant a while about fundamentalist Christianity and the, frankly incredible to me, general disbelief in such accepted wisdom as basic evolution but I think I'll save that for another time.
Feb. 24th, 2006 @ 11:12 am Dazed and a bat confused.....
About this Entry
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Current Music: Scissor Sisters: 'Take Your Mother Out'
Things just sort of 'happen' to me. I've learned not to be surprised by anything, anymore.
Last night was to be my third thrilling evening
spent with the ducks, rats and assorted creepy crawlies (not to mention
copulating couples and weird, bestial noises) of Downtown Hermann park.
However, fate has a fascinating way of throwing curve balls at me and
this was not to be. I left the library when it closed at 9pm and, whilst
waiting for the Light Rail I got chatting to this middle aged woman
named Dianne. Having the accent I do, she asked me what I was doing in
Houston etc. and I explained that I am a teacher, and a synopsis of the
chain of events that led me to be spending the evening in the Great
Outdoors. Taking pity on me (I probably was doing my bestest 'wounded
animal' routine, manipulative cad that I am) she informed me that she worked
in a bar, was just on her way there now, and if I wanted to come and
hang out there until she finished I could come and camp on her floor for
the night. I wanted to make sure she'd not get in any kind of trouble,
bringing this stray into her workplace, and she assured me there would
be no problem.
Before I knew it I was deep in the heart of Houston's gay culture. An
area called 'Montrose' I believe. Yes, Dianne worked in, not merely a
gay bar, but one frequented by a large clientale of transexuals,
transvestites and assorted 'men in frocks' in various stages of transgression
and with vary degrees of convincingness.
So imagine, I'd not had sleep in over sixty hours. I was sitting on a
barstool in a shemale bar, sipping a Dr Pepper and trying to 'blend in'
- there weren't too many other straight English chaps in jeans and
Astroboy T-Shirts in there, oddly enough. Dianne, who I now assumed was a
barmaid or, possibly, a cleaner told me to 'enjoy myself' while she got
ready for work. Now MJ, you might be ahead of me here but I'm a naive sort
of fella' so I just sat there and tried, pathetically, to be invisible.
Now, don't judge me on this next part. I WAS very tired, I WAS
drinking some foul cocktail that a very charming approaching-seven foot black
shemale with a booming James Earle Jones voice insisted on buying for
me, so one must make allowances. I was sitting there, minding my own,
when what I can only describe as a striking young lady approached me and
started up a conversation. I don't think I've ever been chatted up in a
bar by a prettier or sweeter girl, actually I don't think I've ever
been chatted up in a bar period. She really was rather attractive and I
felt enourmously flattered. I mean, as girls with a penis go, she was
what us Brits call 'a stunna'.
Well, somehow 'Sandra' ended up sitting on my lap, and I must confess
that the mix of alcohol (I don't drink, as a rule), 80's homosexual
synth-pop on the jukebox, and the feel of an attractive 'girl' on my lap
caused something of a commotion in the trouser department, if you catch
my meaning and I think you do. This wasn't lost on 'Sandra', of course,
who's sudden gyrating motions only exacerbated the effect. Oh dear. There was some kissing too. Gulp! I
began hoping Diane might turn up again and save me from...well, myself
probably. I asked Sandra if she knew Diane and what Diane did at the
club. 'Female impersonator' came the reply. Ah! And suddenly the penny
dropped.
Anyway, to cut a long tale a bit shorter, I ended up with Sandra's
phone number (Which I don't think I'm going to call but everything
is so confusing right now. At least I know how that bloke in The
Crying Game
felt...) and sleeping on the floor of Diane and her drag
queen post-op partner Victoria. It sure beats Hermann Park, and their
selection of shampoo, conditioners and various toiletries was formidable.
I didn't do anything I'd later regret but, I now wonder, if I had done
something I'd later regret, would I regret it?



"Entia non suntmultiplicanda praeter necessitatem."
”はじままして! わたしわマイルズです。どぞよろしく!”
Dec. 18th, 2005 @ 01:14 pm Japanese X-Box 360 Sales!
About this Entry
Current Mood: angryangry
Current Music: Aphex Twin: 'Come To Daddy'
They've sold one!!! (Which puts it several months ahead of schedule!)



thanks to UK:r for this joke.
Dec. 18th, 2005 @ 09:36 am Passion Of The Benny Hill
About this Entry
Current Mood: optimisticoptimistic
Current Music: Eddie Vedder: 'Masters of War'
A simple idea, brilliantly executed. (Requires QuickTime) Clicky!
Dec. 4th, 2005 @ 04:32 pm ?????????????
About this Entry
Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: Talking Heads: 'Naked'
....thought that might get your attention.
Dec. 1st, 2005 @ 04:20 pm My space @ MySpace...
About this Entry
Current Mood: okayokay
Current Music: Scissor Sisters: 'Take Your Mama Out'
...is right here.
Nov. 2nd, 2005 @ 03:11 pm Road Trip....
About this Entry
Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: Goblin: 'Suspiria'
I wanted to post a picture of my Halloween hi-jinks here (I was Shaun, as in Of The Dead) but somehow I ended up with zero pictures of myself as said character. Actually I spent most of the night being chatted up by an extremely cute girl who we'll call 'Naughty' Nina, for reasons which are unlikely to become apparant. Shame she turned out to be 19.
Anyway, off on a major month-long trip today. First stop is America's racist capitol, home of the KKK - Alabama. Then it's Ohio for Thanksgiving - which is when white America thanks the indians for dying so that they could build the corrupt, capitalist society we know and love today.
Happily, my camera is working once more so I should be able to take pix of my trip. In the meantime, here is one of myself and Lenny showing the slight cultural differences between non-verbal cursing from either side of the pond....
Oct. 7th, 2005 @ 10:38 am Last night on Maudlin Street.
About this Entry
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: Pop Will Eat Itself: 'Can U Dig It?'
I'm moving tomorrow. Finally, I'll be in a place with people I like and who like me, who are mentally stable and won't require me to fuck them because I have a 'cute accent'. At least, I don't think they will!
Anyway, it's been a long time coming but I'm finally moving in to 'Dessia's place tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to it hugely - the fact she has three X-Box's and they're all wired for X-Box Live and that her other housemate has pre-ordered a 360 have nothing to do with it, obviously. Neither does the fact they have IFC and Sundance and a DVD Recorder. I'm not that shallow and you'd be a communist to suggest otherwise.
Oct. 4th, 2005 @ 12:59 am I am a camera
About this Entry
Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: Mezclan: 'Turkey Sandwich'
I'v been playing around with my new phone a bit over the last few days - downloading obscure Japanese TV themesongs and emailing pictures around the globe etc. I took a few pix of the Taiko show too (I went both nights, Friday with Eri and Derek and on Saturday with 'Dessia.) but they didn't come out so well - serves me right for not changing the batteries in my DigiCam instead. Ahh well, it's the tenth aniversary show next year so if I'm still here (Oh god....!) that will probably prove more worthwhile.
Anyway, here's a picture taken while feeding rabid squirrels in Hermann Park. This one is nicknamed Cartman because he's a fat little bastard who always comes running whenever he sees us....
Sep. 29th, 2005 @ 07:24 pm Storm in a teacup: part 2
About this Entry
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
Current Music: Blur: 'Girls and Boys'
Somehow I managed to avoid the hurricane that devastated Houston, escaping to the relative safety of Tomball. Sitting out on the porch on Thursday night, drinking blackberry Merlot and playing Risk by lamplight (there was no electrickery) and watching the storm clouds and rain I was forced to ponder all those poor souls left in the big, bad city. As my little army of plastic Hussars began to blow over in the wind my thoughts went out to Ray, Bill, Rachel, Deedee, JP and the rest, who were too weak to make it out - those we had to leave behind in order to prove that Darwin was, indeed, correct.
Fuck it! My first hurricane and it measured about .2 on the pussy scale. I've been in gales in Oxford that would eat this 'tropical storm' for lunch. How very dissapointing. Why do those 'Coon-asses' always have all the fun?
Ah well, Taiko drumming tomorrow night. And at least I got to spend the weekend brushing up on my online Halo 2 abilities and re-watching cool movies like 21 Grams, I Heart Huckabees, Shaun of the Dead and other IFC delights.