Friday, December 08, 2006

Americans in the Modern World

Americans have always been a reactionary people. We have always reacted strongly to the world, and stirred strong reactions from the world. I don’t think we have quite realized that the modern world with its ills is mostly a creation of our unique republic. Perhaps one of the most interesting things about Americans is how we react to each other, blaming each other for the way the world has become. I jotted down a few impressions about regional America in a gridbook after a road trip a few years back:

Northeasterners despise the modern world in which they live. They see nothing better to do than make money and engage each other in class warfare. They wear black and carry themselves like Europeans, avoiding eye contact with strangers.

The people of the West Coast try to ignore the modern world by creating an imaginary world. They love Mother Earth, technological virtual realities, and produce most of the country's pornography. They try to avoid negative thoughts and trust psychotherapists.

Southerners try to acknowledge the modern world as little as possible, preferring culture that resembles the medieval. Southerners read historical novels, fly offensive Confederate flags, and sing songs that praise "old time religion." They are sentimental, hot-blooded, and irresponsible.

Midwesterners just can't figure out what is wrong with the rest of the country. The Midwesterners don't have problems with the modern world. They can grow up, get a job, get married, and grow old and senile in the modern world without causing such a bothersome fuss. They live where the country is flat. They live with neither mountains nor trees.

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