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My own list

Posted by Mike @ 10:30 AM Thursday, 4 July 2002 • Category: Be nice

I really do hate to subject all of you to another one of those ubiquitous and sometimes cloying lists of Why I Love America. But I can’t help it, I just gotta; I promise I’ll try not to be too sappy and annoying with it. So here goes:

Why Mike Loves America

Because I get to own cooler toys than people in other parts of the world. Harley-Davidsons, old Fords, Cuisinarts, Revereware, Snap-On tools, Colt firearms, and Gibson guitars are cheaper and more readily available here than just about anywhere else. Well, for the most part anyway – you could probably find more old Fords in Havana, but I’ll bet finding parts is a bitch.

Because I get to eat the best food. Cajun, Creole, and good old deep-fried Southern anything. If I want Mexican, I can either go to a half-decent Mexican joint or go to the local Mexican bodega and get the authentic stuff and make it myself. Yes, I do know how to cook, too – quite well, thank you. I live in a mid-size Southern city and, while it ain’t New York (or LA if we’re talking Mexican), I’m less than five minutes’ drive from a decent Italian, Greek, Indian, Chinese, Thai, Ethiopian (yes, they have food, and it’s damn good too), Korean, Yiddish, Caribbean, or American-home-cooking-style meal. There’s even escargot and blood pudding available, if you want. Which I most emphatically do not.

Because I can say things like “George W. Bush is a subhuman goat-fucking moron” whether I even mean it or not, right here on this very website, and nothing will happen to me at all. No interrogations, no jail time, no cops cruising by my house all day and night, no nothing. Try that in many of the states we are supposedly “allied” with and see what you get. If you say something untoward about somebody I like, I can also call you a subhuman goat-fucking moron and you do not have the assumed right to come to my house and kill me over it thanks to your ass-backwards honor/shame culture. It’d be a stupid thing to try anyway, for this reason:

Because the Constitution guarantees me the right to avail myself of effective means of physical self-defense. A lot of people in this country today don’t like this part of the Constitution and would like to see it done away with. They are all wet.

Because we have the best music in the world. Rock and roll, country, blues, bluegrass, swing, soul, jazz – they’re all ours, baby. No other culture has produced so many enormously talented musicians in so short a span of time, not even Austria circa 1700-1900. Sam Cooke, Elvis, Hank Sr., Bill Monroe, Harry James, the Blasters, the Paladins, Sinatra, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Richard, Jimi Hendrix, Patsy Cline, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Cannonball Adderly, the Texas Tornados (well, except for Freddy Fender and Flaco Jiminez), Duke Ellington, Melba Montgomery, Ralph Stanley, the Ramones, C.J.Chenier, Artie Shaw, Louis Armstrong, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bennie Moten, Flatt & Scruggs, Link Wray, Green Day, Fats Domino, Sara Vaughan, Roger Miller, Metallica – the list is as long as you care to spend time adding to it. Musicians in other countries have attempted to adopt or adapt jazz, blues, and rock and roll, and have almost never really gotten it completely right, whether it’s the Beatles covering Carl Perkins or Fine Young Cannibals trying to do Motown. Not to say that they’re no good, mind; they’re just not as good as our guys. Caveat: England’s Flying Fortress does the swing thing pretty damn well, I must admit. But they’re the exception that proves the rule.

Because even though they don’t like it much and are quite indecorously and loudly ungrateful for it, we have more than once willingly and generously bailed Europe and the rest of the world out of several bad messes of their own creation and never once presented a bill. Our military is the finest in the world; no one else even comes close. This unreasonably frightens some, but the fact is for all our wrong-headed adventurism (and there’s undeniably been some), we do far more right than we do wrong.

Because we have an Administration that knows that the overwhelming majority of Americans will never, EVER accept the idea of surrendering our sovereignty to some dipshit “International Court.” Den Beste covered all this the other day, and did so better than I ever could; the only thing I’ll add is a hearty “Fuck you!” to all the handwringers who lament American unilateralism and unwillingness to throw out the Constitution so European wingnuts can have an international forum to slap our wrists in every time we do something they don’t like. That’s FUCK YOU with bells on it, cockdribble. Hey guys, there’s a reason we left your silly uptight little countries in the first place, and some of those reasons still apply, seemingly.

Because our culture is sometimes frivolous, silly, and loud, but there’s usually some fun to be found underneath the ignorant glitz and hype if you care enough to dig a little for it.

Fireworks on Independence Day. ‘Nuff said.

Topless bars. ‘Nuff said.

Stan “The Man” Lee. ‘Nuff said.

Married With Children, Malcolm in the Middle, The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Star Trek TNG, the X-Files. Compare with TV in Europe. It simply doesn’t. I know, I’ve seen it. It’s why you can still catch “Cheers” reruns in Holland several times a day. Not because we’re cultural imperialists as some would have it, cruelly inflicting our pop-culture tripe on the brainwashed masses in an attempt to dominate the world, but because most people in Holland like “Cheers” better than anything they’ve managed to produce.

Later on, I’m going to fire up my hotrod Sportster and head over to my favorite bar/restaurant for some brown likker, BBQ, and live music. There will be an illegal fireworks display presented from the roof of the joint by the owners. There will be lots of people of every type; half-dressed pretty girls, other Harley riders, yuppies with their kids in 500-dollar strollers, dreadlocked patchouli-wearing college numbskulls, and every ethnic minority you can think of, and we’ll all get along just fine. There will be laughter and good times, interesting conversation and mindless gossip. There will be flags everywhere. There will be music. The only explosions will be for entertainment and not mass-murder.

Think I’ll get to it. Happy Fourth.

Update! Just thought of another good one. Chances are I’ll be coming up with this crap all day; if I get a chance, I’ll post some of ’em, maybe. But anyway: because an obscure band featuring two voluptuous girls, one a firebreather, who routinely play guitar with their tits out and their tongues down each other’s throats can call themselves “Nashville Pussy” and no religious wackos will take advantage of their obscurity to try to have them stoned, beheaded, or have stone walls dropped on their heads. Instead, they get nominated for a Grammy.

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