Tuesday, July 31, 2007

interview with a mantissa, act two

Tuesday, July 31, 2007
this question, for obvious reasons, deserves its own post.
so ... without further ado, i present to you
question number 3 of the cruel virgin's interview.

~ i'm still working on the final question ~

3. As a Canadian, what is your view of America?

Over half a century ago Simone Weil wrote that " ... uprootedness is the great plague of the twentieth century ..." In one of her books, The Need for Roots. I have found myself, for the past several months (since 'discovering' her) very drawn to her words and concepts of existence and spirituality. She considered America " ... a nation consisting of uprooted people bent upon uprooting the rest of the world." Indeed. I agree. In fact, in poking through some of my past, and more philosophical posts I came across this, which I wrote, about myself :
she sees the world thru her markedly mosaic lense. she realized how it colours her vision of humanity. it raises her expectations of humanity. for the beauty of a mosaic lies in its contrast of differences. she believes in the principle of equality. and so, she cannot accept that differences must all be melted into some sort of sluggish paste. that view, she sees as intolerant. equality for all means respect of each and every individual. she believes that this view makes her quintessentially canadian. the poetic beauty of the mosaic embodies, symbolically, the canadian identity.
~ me


Thus begins my answer to this question.

I grew up in the Canadian Prairies, just two hours from the 49th parallel. We visited the neighbouring state from time to time. From the people that make up the American nation, I have only received exuberance of spirit, a larger-than-life attitude toward living, the greatest (i.e. retail) service and big hearts that open up with a willingness to help when need arises. Here's a story to illustrate. Once, when I was about 8 years old, my family (4 of us - my parents and my sister, and I) went camping in a trailer my uncle let us use for a week or two. What makes this trip stand out is how complete strangers in that campsite - an American man and his family - helped us out when we desperately needed it ... when something went terribly wrong with the sewage hook-up of the trailer. We did not have a car to move the trailer (my uncle had moved it to the campsite prior to our trip) and this nice man did not even think twice ... he grabbed his truck ... hitched us up and moved us to a new spot in the campground. That's how i see the average American person.

As for the nation that calls itself America ... I sadly, and sometimes with fire, say that I see it as largely misguided ... by its lust to uproot the world at large ... by its lust for glamour, power and domination in all realms of existence ... by its lust for retribution, revenge ... and the single-minded egocentrism with which it approaches all world negotiations ... by its schadenfreude-ness ... by its exaltation of violence and destruction (the right to bear arms, WWE Raw, film/TV) ... by its refusal to reside in the world as an entirely SECULAR state ... by its spiritual egocentrism ... by its hypocrisy and sheer STUPIDITY in villifying addicts and addiction, misunderstanding addiction and in declaring a moronic war on drugs ... by its 21st century 'smoke-em-out' western-style colonialist attitude ... by its refusal, as a collective of individuals, to realize the beauty in that which looks so different as to appear alien.

I will stop now. I'm sorry to all who read this ~ i know the vast majority of you reading this answer are American ... well ... it's likely an answer you'd rather avoid reading, perhaps. But ... I have only merely answered a question asked of me; and ... many of you know of what I write intrinsically ... deep down ... whether you care to admit it ... since its your nation of which I speak, here. Please ... I hope no one flames me for this answer. I'm Just being honest.

If you wanted to swallow blue pill, I'm afraid, dear reader, that you've come to the wrong spot! ;^]


17 comments:

the.red.mantissa said...

"We are driven to seek union with the world. Yet our craving destroys the very beings we reach out to know and love."
~ simone weil

this makes me think of america ... perhaps its a more neutral way of saying the same things i've said in this post?

Enemy of the Republic said...

Red pill, baby--all the way. I didn't know you grew up on the prairies--fascinating. I think your view on the States is correct; you certainly don't offend me. Empires will always fall.

X. Dell said...

I can understand your perception, for that is how the US is portrayed to Americans, except that from the jingoistic point of view America is supposed to dominate. The fourth line of our national anthem contains the phrase, "And conquer we must; For our cause it is just: And this be our motto; In God is our trust."

It's called Manifest Destiny.

Yet, there is another side to America, the abstraction dreamt of by the "founding fathers" which I think is worthy, although idealistic--that a people can dispel hierarchy and live as equals under the law.

I say abstract for it has never been true, of course. But it is the struggle to achieve this which is, I believe, America's great value.

That it would undermine that value with a criminal robber baron class that controls industry, politics and mass media, is perhaps another question. But in the long run, it's part of the struggle to eventually realize this idea.

Paul said...

It's crossed my mind before to wonder whether there isn't even possibly something genetic to American uprootedness. Everyone here is descended from people who were willing to leave their homeland. Of course that wasn't always voluntary, but some of the time it was...

Also, since I'm basically clueless about genetics, it's very possible that this is a really dumb idea!

K9 said...

interesting post. uprootedness. i get that. agree with enemy on the empires will fall. its a young country. that said i do agree what the founding fathers hoped for we have fallen far shortly. i just heard that a ton of people were emigrating to canada from the US>

the.red.mantissa said...

live as equals under the law ...

sorry for sounding acerbic here, but its a little difficult for me to swallow that sentiment wholly, or at all, considering the reality that slavery existed alongside the founding fathers' struggle for 'equality for all'... considering the brutality of slavery and what it represents, these words and that sentiment seems quite hollow.

it sorta like ... its got a nice ring to it, looks purty on the page/parchment ... but, that's where it ends.

as for conquering ... thomas jefferson apparently said

"Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government." ... did he get it wrong? someone, somewhere indeed, she, fell far short from the intended mark.

paul, i'm clueless, too, about genetics ... but that's an interesting thought!

X. Dell said...

If you are pointing out that the US has never lived up to its idealism, I would be the first to agree with you. Nevertheless, the idea remains.

You would also have to reckon that there were competing influences in the backstabbing politics surrounding the revolution. Jefferson can only represent Jefferson in that regard. But it would be clear from the Monroe Doctrine onward that elements of the US government had an eye for expansionism.

I thus understand your objection to an abstract concept of America, if not for Americans. But I would caution that the elements of power that have exerted their wills over the US government don't only reside in the US. As the fallout from NAFTA has shown, some of them live in Canada too.

the.red.mantissa said...

point taken re: jefferson et al. ~ what one individual or group thereof plans or hopes or intends and what actually comes to fruition often do not resemble one another.

as for the neo con right wing element of power (i presume that's what you mean ...) ~ i really see that as a manifestation of a leadership @ sussex drive that's incapable of resisting the pressures of the ever-egocentric american leadership and its attempts to turn canada in itself (sorry but i gotta say here YUCK! at the thought!)

frankly that's what i find wrong with most of the canadian prime ministers ~ they don't/didn't have the balls the pierre trudeau did to basically think and act and say ~ "i really don't give a shit whether the white house approves or disapproves." anyway ... IMHO.

:^)

X. Dell said...

Actually, I wasn't really alluding to the neocons, per se, but rather the myriad multinational corporations whose interests they serve. I might do a post on this sooner rather than later, but NAFTA and other one-sided "free" trade agreements have posed dangers to the political sovereignty of all North American nation states.

Mariamariacuchita said...

Well stated. Very nice use of words.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious....who is the picture that you use when you post? I think that America is neither as great as lots of Americans think it is or as bad as many non-Americans think it is. Behind Blue eyes

the.red.mantissa said...

MMC ~ thanx and welcome.

BBE ~ its bette davis. and the quote, on my profile is hers, too ~ about washing hair.

Behind Blue Eyes said...

Oh, of course...I see now.

Enemy of the Republic said...

Did Bette say that or her character in All About Eve? I am always quoting her: What a Dump, when I get off work!

freya said...

ja red i coming here for the witte noyze. it pretty now as bette? better even as doe ik denk. *grherha*

the.red.mantissa said...

BBE ~ its those eyes, ain't it?

Susan ~ its a quote from her character Madge Norwood in Cabin in the Cotton ... my mum just loves her ... me too ~ she was my kinda lady.

freya ~ cool to see you. you like the white noize? i know its a little cluttered. of course you would like the doe better ... lol. she may be back one day ...

love me.

K9 said...

i just watched a program on joan crawford..she and betty davis were huge rivals. anyway....on the set of whos afraid of baby jane they werent playing. betty really did kick the crap out of joan in the head kicking scene. grrherhaha. i wouldnt mess with either one of these gals.