Hello to the circus from the peanut gallery…

I’ve reached a point in my life where i do my best to avoid reading the news everyday.  Not because I have some particular aversion to current events or the happenings of the world, rather the prescient knowing I am to run across American news which invariably puts a damper on my otherwise usual positive mood.  As one might infer from the title, the ‘circus’ is what I see in the American media and I’m here to be your heckler.

One cannot help but to be inundated with a non-stop barrage of overly-sensationalized bullshit media stories and maybe it’s just me but it seems like during my 8 years of expat life a few things have become increasingly apparent.

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1.  Americans have become a whole hell of a lot more religiously polarized and far more vocal about it.  Look at the news cycles of bullshit centered on this idiot court clerk who refused to issue a marriage license.  She went to jail for being found in contempt of court…now she’s out and is being used as a martyr puppet for the extreme right.  Bottom line, no one should give a fuck who marries whom and too many Americans do, leading me to my next assertion.

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2.  Americans are fucking stupid.  I know this is a gross generalization and many/most Americans don’t fall into this category, despite their proclivity to actually dwell within the country, but at the very least one must concede just how uninformed and apathetic an increasing number of people are proud to be.  I find myself often being asked why I choose to live in China in lieu of the US.  While it would be impossible to discuss without a common frame of reference, I’d liken the answer to explaining to a dog exactly what it’s like living on Mars.  If you think I’m being unfair here, you’re not entirely wrong but beyond the dismal numbers academic performance (the US ranks 14th out of 50 according to Pearson), there is another, far more subversive element at play.  Our culture has come to glorify, adore, and place on a pedestal our worst. I’m thankful I lived in Korea during the whole Honey Boo-Boo and Jersey Shore thing but those are just two of the most visible examples I can think of to illustrate my point.  How about our current circus of GOP presidential candidates.  I really thought it was an Onion article when I read that Donald Trump was the front-runner to secure the nomination.  Then I looked at the other performers in the troupe and realized “Holy shit!  this is serious.”   I’m not entirely certain how many times he’s run over the years but how can we be considering an outright, unabashed, media whore for the top job in the nation?  I assumed he was just a democratic plant to lure the dumbest of the dumb away from the GOP for the third party declaration later.  I assumed wrong as of this writing…

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3.  Americans are in denial as to what constitutes freedom.  There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind, I have far more freedom living here in China, a communist nation, than I ever dreamed of having as a resident of the United States.  No, I’m not simply referring to my ability to walk down the street drinking a beer (although that part is fun) or my job with an income many times larger than that of normal Chinese people (per capita GDP of China is still hovering in the $8000US/year range as opposed to my $50kish), or even the fact that I enjoy 4+ months of paid vacation (how do you like those 5 days a year), or any number of reasons that escape me at present.  Take the most blatant example of the growing police state to which all citizens are party:  Cop murder is rampant – seriously, more than 700 people have been killed by US police officers this year alone yet no one seems particularly concerned as if this is merely status quo or some form of benevolent attrition.

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4.  Americans are horribly racist and it isn’t directly their fault.  This Muslim kid who built a clock and was arrested under suspicion of terrorism stands as a great example.  I personally don’t give a shit if Dawkins or Palin calls him out as a fraud, what idiot teacher or school administrator can’t tell it’s a fucking clock?  Would I have drawn the same scrutiny?  Of course not because the media will have you believe all Muslims are terrorists and only good white Christians are safe.  Fuck you.

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5.  Americans are fat and wasteful slobs.  The first thing I noticed upon a return visit to the states after a few years away was, aside from the HUGE people I saw at the airport, that the portions sizes of most meals were unbelievably huge.  I couldn’t finish a meal.  This of course leads me to the next disgusting fact, that despite the millions of Americans living with some sense of food insecurity (1 in 7), a staggering 40% of all food produced in the US is thrown out or wasted.  I.have.no.words…

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In the interest of ‘I have better things to be doing right now’ I’ll draw this one to a close.  I suppose I wanted to lend some answer to the questions I receive on a regular basis as to why I’m here and not in my homeland.  Perhaps I intend to vent my frustration of watching my once beloved country swirl down the toilet.  It might be from that sense of shame associated with the facts above or that the sheen has worn off our once great hegemony.  I would say I was most influenced today over another realization that most of what I was taught as a kid (particularly in regard to history) is complete and utter bullshit.

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