Friday, June 22, 2007

Americanism


"It's not Americans I find annoying; it's Americanism: a social disease of the postindustrial world that must inevitably infect each of the mercantile nations in turn, and is called "American" only because your nation is the most advanced case of the malady, much as one speaks of Spanish flu, or Japanese Type-B encephalitis.

Its symptoms are a loss of work ethic, a shrinking of inner resources, and a constant need for external stimulation, followed by spiritual decay and moral narcosis.You can recognize the victim by his constant efforts to get in touch with himself, to believe his spiritual feebleness is an interesting psychological warp, to construe his fleeing from responsibility as evidence that he and his life are uniquely open to new experience. In the latter stages, the sufferer is reduced to seeking that most trivial of human activities: fun.

As for your food, no one denies that the Americans excel in one narrow rubric: the snack. And I suspect there's something symbolic in that."

14 Comments:

At 3:00 PM, June 22, 2007 , Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

What a shady and neurotic figure was the American calling himself Trevanian!

I never could figure out what work had to do with ethics, but in fact Americans work much longer hours and take fewer vacations than those in other industrialized countries - except for Japan of course. Everyone knows how wonderful they are.

Of course I'm immune to spiritual decay since spirits don't exist but as to the rest of this Calvanist Hoopla about the wonder of living a dull life of moral casuistry full of inner resources and bad food - I don't think so.

 
At 3:12 PM, June 22, 2007 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Captain,

Can you please clarify? I assume you dislike Trevanian or the book, but I don't understand the critique. :-(

 
At 4:44 PM, June 22, 2007 , Blogger skip sievert said...

Ya, Captain.
What if anything, does so called work have to do with 'morals'
Mechanical energy made that point mute around 1913 when it eclipsed the human being in 'work' power.

Because of the North American resource base, we can get away with murder.
This is a land of milk and honey.
Our system is run by a bunch of idiots.
Run for and by fools and charlatans.
Fat, lazy minded, ignorant, belligerent and brainwashed sums up Americans.
Take their car keys away, and you have a jabbering ape on your hands.
The nation that put a man on the moon is now led by an ignorant hairless ape.

 
At 6:25 AM, June 23, 2007 , Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I know more about Trevanian (and his many other names) than about his books. He was a strange dude with a huge ego - I'm just replying to a strange attack on an American culture that presumably he wrote. It seems not only too broad but at least partially invented for the purposes of argument. I'm happy to provide the argument.

My point about "work ethic" is one I've argued many times. It's called an ethic because it benefits employers and we tend to make a virtue out of anything that makes us exploitable, like patriotism and piety. Real ethics tend to cost money and get in the way of exploitation and are, as we see every day in the news, ignored.

Yes we have many lazy, good for nothings, but what one takes as typical usually says more about the commentator than about the group.

Oh, and the word is moot, not mute.

 
At 10:07 PM, July 02, 2007 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Save your arguments, Captain.

This person obviously assumes that what he/she sees on TV about "americans" is REAL/TRUE.

"Snack" is not uniquely "American" and some people enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, just like "Europeans" as a snack, but we have "poor/disenfranchised" people like EVERY country on the planet.

Another abeed.

 
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