Complexity or hypocrisy...

joanna bujes joanna.bujes at
Thu Oct 4 10:57:30 PDT 2001

At 12:10 PM 10/04/2001 -0400, you wrote:
>The technical term for the US's "complex history" is hypocrisy. Sharp-eyed
>observers from Dickens and Tocqueville on have recognized that Americans'
>default setting is a state of robust self-congratulation that is utterly at
>odds with their failure to follow through on professed principles. To risk
>appearing a New England provincial here, I will say that one admirable thing
>about the Puritan influence -- apart from prudery, Blue Laws and indifferent
>regional cooking -- is a commitment to self-criticism and improvement.
>However, that trait has been nearly extinguished from the national
>character, leaving a society of complacent, solipsistic whiners subject to
>endless, serial losses of "innocence."

Commenting as an immigrant who does not identify with the U.S., I think you're being awfully harsh. There are many kinds of Americans -- and one kind, of which I am particularly fond, and whose likes I have not met with anywhere else, is the plain spoken, no bullshit variety who has no patiency with cant, orthodoxy, ritual, kowtowing to authority, etc. This type is a vast improvement over the classic boot-licking, status conscious European. The fantasy of being an American for some is the same as that of being rich; but for others, immigrants and "natives" alike, it is a dream of freedom and tolerance. I think that's a dream worth pursuing.

Also keep in mind that Americans are among the most brainwashed and lied to people on this that their "serial loss of innocence" has some truth to it. When I came here (from a "communist" country) and was told that communists used propaganda to control their people whereas in the US there was no such thing, I laughed and I laughed, and I'm still laughing. The commies were infants compared to the US (PR and Advertising industry) in terms of thought control. Drooling infants!

Joanna Bujes

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