Sometimes living in America gives me a headache. Don't get me wrong--I love this country, and it has many great things about it. But nationalism always makes me cringe. There is something vaguely creepy and insincere about it. It's like the 21-year-old Egyptian I dated a few years ago--he was very sincere in telling me how much he loved me after knowing me for all of 2 hours. (Of course, he was adorable, so I just laughed and thought, "this will be fun for 15 minutes"). And, as predicted, he moved on in a short span of time. But that sort of a love declaration is like many public expressions of patriotism--just plain absurd and embarrassing.
For instance--I saw clips from this video on Found Footage Festival Volume 3:
If you got past the first verse, you're either too sentimental or very brave. I had 2 immediate thoughts while viewing this:
1. Emigration is sounding good.
2. The Onion had a great post-September-11 article on such songs: http://www.theonion.com/content/node/31472
With regard to my first thought, it's probably a case of the grass looking greener elsewhere. For instance, I love Britain, but then there's that thing called "Proms". After looking at some of the footage from that event, I realized that cheesy nationalism probably exists all over the world in some form, making it more like a human genetic defect. But I have grumbled before about large-scale public displays of feeling that are entirely false, so I won't repeat myself on that.
You have to admit, though, democracy is a great thing. Those of us living in democratic countries hardly do enough to exercise or protect our rights, but occasionally you get the very cool protest against a government or public figure. For instance, there was this recent protest against French president Nicholas Sarkozy:
No one would think up a protest like that in the United States. ("You say you hate this book? Well, we're ALL going to READ it now. So, Va te faire enculer!") It's a creative way of thumbing your nose at someone, and involves reading, so to the French people I say: très bien!
On another topic, I was recently made aware of a video produced by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). (Makes me think of LOLcats. :)). The video was created as a response to the various American states legalizing gay marriage. Massachusetts was the first, and surprisingly Iowa followed suit recently. Now New York has proposed legislation allowing gay marriage. I've always said, why not? If marriage isn't merely a business arrangement, you should marry whoever the heck you want to spend your life with, regardless.
But the National Organization for Marriage's video puzzled me. They show people saying things like:
"I'm afraid" (of what? Lewis Black's "gay mafia"?)
"I'm a California doctor who has to choose between my faith and my job." (What the hell does that have to do with anything?)
"My rights will be taken away." (Huh? How?)
Fortunately, the great Stephen Colbert was on the case with this one--here is a link to the original video, and Stephen's satire: