That's So American - Part 2

That's So American
Part 2 of an occasional series

Middlespace Cadet, Betsy Lou says,

"You know what I think is so American? National collective-relief outpourings-of-generosity we-are-one movements.

Tsunami relief. Katrina relief. 9-11 Red Cross relief. Farm Aid. Band Aid. Comic relief.

All whipped up, then so unbelievably over.

Popular relief fashion. It could be a column in Us or People. Donate this! What's hot, what's not.

I say, "Goddamn great!" That's actually what I wrote back to Middlespace Cadet Betsy Lou via the emailings typewriter, MC Betsy Lou can attest, I am sure.

"National collective-relief outpourings-of-generosity we-are-one movements" is the genius that is America, no foolin'. U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A! But let me add one thing to this orgy: The celebrity benefit concert is the icing on this tear-shedding cake. No shit, "We Are the World," 1985. We fixed that starving Ethiopian problem...forever...because Lionel Ritchie and Kim Carnes sang a song. Farm Aid? Historic! This, my friends, is why the terrorists hate us!

I remember the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake/tsunami disaster film thingy like it was only four years ago. The company I worked for at the time made a huge deal about it. Huge! A "South Asian Affinity Group" quickly and magically formed to petition the CEO and the board of directors to "not just sit there but do something!" Like six kids white-guilted a whole company into giving money to the poor kids who got washed away by a tidal wave. The "corporate effort" was all over the intranet, the website, and burning up all the emails for days too. Updates every few hours. Donation totals by division. Guilt! Guilt, I tell you! I think someone even wrote something like this in the company's "virtual guest book of grief from the other side of the planet" or something, "...the real shame is it happened just after Christmas." Dang! Kids in Somalia and Bangladesh all losing their Xbox systems to some water. Whaaaaaaaahhh!

I think that the Tsunami propaganda even stayed on the company website (even though the sentiment was completely over by February) until...until the great hurricane, flood, and debacle that shook the world: Her name was, "Katrina!"

Dang! Kids in the New Orleans Lower Ninth all losing their Xbox systems to some water. Whaaaaaaaahhh!

Oh, shit! Remember when Kanye West said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people" and fucked up Mike Meyers' mind on live TeeVee celebrities for Katrina victims? That was so brilliant. And I'm not getting whipped up about how those words fell upon the saintly ears of America but how that shit warped Mike Meyers. You saw the video, he was fucked, big time [clicky]. Look at Mike Myers. Just watch it all while listening to Kanye but watching Myers!

Katrina brought us, "Heck of a job, Brownie" too. Katrina was the beginning of the end for president Bush, blah-blah-blah. Not the bogus war, not torture, not the economy, but a natural disaster. G-d is so good a gentle mist of the finest diamond dust lights gently upon our bare shoulders.

But the observation that Betsy Lou makes may very well sum today's That's So American moment is, "All whipped up, then so unbelievably over."

In America, you cannot be 50 years-old and deliver hormone-induced quintuplets, you cannot let your baby fall into your well, and you cannot be a celebrity who accidentally shows your vulva to tabloid photographers without people getting all whipped up. Problem is, and this is specifically so American, everything is so unbelievably over just like that. No gradations, just present. Only. No past. No future. U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A!

But before I go, I want to return to getting all whipped up at work again because it's salient. And this is the very best we have to offer as the American workforce (the greatest workforce in the world); the degree to which people at work will go to to demonstrate how much they care about a thing. From wearing a dismal " Livestrong" rubber bracelet for years (because they can't fully figure when it's an appropriate time to take it off anymore) to posting a stern (or sarcastic) political message on their cubicle wall: Save Mother Earth!

But, if Mr. Livestrong really cared about cancer shouldn't he not eat a steak burrito every day? Don't get me wrong, I personally enjoy a good steak burrito but I'm neither publicly accessorizing to warn-shame people about the tragedy that is cancer nor am I clueless enough to eat that good steak burrito every damn day. Because I don't want cancer. And shouldn't I feel entitled to noting (and sharing with everyone I know) the hypocrisy that is Ms. "Save Mother Earth!" if I see her driving an automobile or leaving her office lights and computer on all night? Am I just wrong?

Lastly and in the spirit and joy of Betsy Lou's statement, "Popular relief fashion. It could be a column in Us or People. Donate this! What's hot, what's not." I give you America's most perfect-est example of popular relief as fashion:
President Barack Obama

Now it all makes sense.

That's So American thread [clicky]
WTF? Contact: ty[at]middlespace[dot]net
That's So American photography by ty.