Friday, June 24, 2005

A Sense Of Entitlement

What amazes me about Americans is their strong sense of entitlement to EVERYTHING. When they travel to foreign countries, it is the rare Yank who makes an effort to speak the local language. And, the ones who won't make the minimal effort of getting a foreign language dictionary are usually the same assholes who hurl insults at immigrants in America who have not yet mastered English to their liking (as if a language can be learned overnight).

Listen to the language Americans use. "They are taking our jobs." Hmmm... who is "our"? Is it all Americans, is it only the American citizens who would have otherwise wanted the job but for the fact it pays $.10 per hour? Entitlement. I have gotten the comments about how nice it must be to be back in America with all its comforts. That comment in and of itself illustrates the American arrogance that everything here is superior and, thus, things in other places must be inferior, whether it be their people or their products. Seriously, I found all the comforts of home everywhere I went and, if I didn't, it really was not memorable. I ate some of the best food I have ever had in the villages of China and got a fantastic wax and pedicure in Ulaan Bataar. We don't have a monopoly on everything. Except fat people.

Contrary to the stereotype about burly Russian women, aside from the elderly, the only disgustingly obese people I saw in Russia (or anywhere else) were Americans. How did I know they were American you ask? Aside from the shorts that you would never see a Russian wearing that were fighting for air between the thighs and struggling to avoid being sucked into the 10-mile ass crack (you know what visual I am talking about), you can't miss the Americans because they were the loudest ones within a square mile. No one is interested in your stupid stories about the museum. Rob couldn't stop mocking a serious discussion between two Americans he overheard, comparing being a snoozer to being a riser. Hmmm... almost as important as flag burning.

The main difference, however, is the poor people. I am not the most well traveled person I have ever encountered, but I have traveled to a fair number of poorer countries, with very different cultures than ours, and experiences with the poor people there have been quite different. They are usually trying to hustle you and overcharge you for things, but there is still an honor in the negotiation battle. Many are friendly, excited to share their countries with you and show you what they can. They carry themselves with dignity, appreciate what they have and understand the value of a hard day's work.

I went to a graduation yesterday in a poor neighborhood of L.A. and it was a motley collection of some of the most vulgar, tactless, rude and vile human beings I have had to share a section of the earth with for a really long time. Starting on the topic of obesity, where else in the world are the poor people the morbidly obese? Most of the women, including the parents, looked like prostitutes, watching their prostitute-to-be daughters graduate the eighth -- and probably highest -- grade.

Although it was a picture perfect L.A. sunny day and a happy occasion, everyone around me managed to find something to gripe about, including the families who brought too many balloons that obstructed their views, the difficulty in finding a seat, etc. One woman was complaining about $50 that parents had to give for the graduation and that it was wasted, etc. I couldn't help but notice her gaudy, much too long manicured fake nails and just done hair. It was a collection of people who feel powerless in the world and, thus, spent the afternoon feigning power through overpriced cars, tacky jewelry and nasty attitudes. "It's all about me" was the sentiment that carried the day.

And these are the low-skilled workers of America who work at Wal-Mart and the post office, whose ranks are swelling. The future sure is looking bright.

Perhaps if they were really poor, like poor people are in the rest of the world, they would have appreciated seeing their child accomplish the first step in what will hopefully be a long and successful educational journey. Maybe, just maybe, it would have been a day of joy and celebration instead of an opportunity to be rude and insult a fresh group of people.

This may just explain how immigrants come here with $1.50 in their pockets and the shirts on their backs, unable to speak English, and still make it. Americans need to wake up and learn a thing or two before the epidemic laziness and selfish rudeness consigns the country to second place in the not too distant future.

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