Written c. August 2005.
(CP: This is the text of an award-winning address in a public speaking competition.)
My, my, my, it’s a beautiful world. This mass of land and sea, animals and plants, people, divided into ethnicities and grouped as nations, all hurtling through space under the watchful eye our President and Protestant God. Moving continuously to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner and guided by the reflected light of our revered flag. Seven red stripes for the seven continents and six white stripes for six seas. 196 stars all shining brightly upon us – 197, North Korea just conceded.
The United States is like that Giant Squid in the Harry Potter books. The United States is like the Harry Potter books. An all consuming mass of dogma that began with a single page and exploded into a reluctant imperial force — it’s tentacles reach across the globe, releasing an ink of red, white and blue. Platoons of infantrymen and culture inhabit the landscape. Against the odds Harry Potter will prevail over the Dark Arts just as the United States will prevail over the Dark Lands. And just like the Harry Potter books – this is good.
American culture is magnificent. Where else in the world do you have the choice of over 1,000 TV channels, each with their own evangelist nay-sayer? Where else can you buy a hamburger with six different types of bacon and then sue when it makes you fat? Where else can you go to 13 years of high school for free and then be forced to pay a million dollars for four years of college? Yes, the network slogan is true – only in America.
Some people claim that the Americanisation of culture is a bad thing. The world, previously a happy collective of peoples, religions and ideals, is being corrupted by a tsunami of 24 News Channels, violent video games and sexed-up movies. Ask a kid today to quote Shakespeare and he’ll be struck dumb, yet any five-year-old will tell you that when the pigs try to get at you you’ve got to drop it like it’s hot. What’s wrong with that? Sure, Shakespeare can tell you all about love and that rubbish, but only Snoop Doggy Dogg can teach today’s children about sensible narcotics care and distribution.
If the Americanisation of world culture isn’t enough to win you over, then surely their culinary contribution is enough to placate your fears. Put simply, the American impact on world gastronomy has been utterly McFabulous.
Every McMeal cooked in McButter and McWrapped in McBacon. The McChoice is McWide. McPizza Hut and McDominos for the Italians. McTaco Bell for the Mexicans. McSubway for the health conscious. If you’re like me and love your dairy products, just head down to the local McWendys for a psuedo-McDairy-high-fat-chilled glutenous compound – I call them shakes. Those with a sense of adventure can try some McSkin at McJFKFC. Try and guess the eleven McSecret herbs and spices – six of them are salt. Those pinko vegan culture vultures will tell you a healthy breakfast is a combination of fruit and cereal. Wrong. Every clear thinking, intelligent American knows the best way to start the day is by consuming a delicious amalgam of condensed sugar, cooked in hogfat and shaped in a wheel design. Yes, the recent invasion of McKrispy Kremes into Australia brought not only a smile to my face – but also that of my dietician. Wash these down with a couple of McBuds and nip of McMoonshine – not too many mind you – you don’t want to be McFucked for your job at Walmart later in the day.
But there has been resistance. Terrorist attacks in Bali, Madrid and London have caused people to question America’s tactics. This fighting of the inevitable is both tragic and misguided. A simple reading of the US Constitution shows just how much Islamic extremists have to gain by joining these United States. Under the First Amendment the freedom of these towel-heads to practice their wacky religion is ensured. And the Second Amendment! America not only has relaxed gun laws – they’ve instituted them. Once the flag is raised in the Middle East any fundamentalist lunatic can get their hands on assault weapons and plastic explosives faster than you can say “Kings Cross Station”. Yes, once the world has ratified George W Bush as their President, the London police will have to shoot everyone in the back of the head strictly as a means of population control.
Just 30 years after America’s independence the country was once again at war with Britain. And now, America is at war with the world they have both liberated and enslaved. It was during the War of 1812 that Francis Scott Key penned that now most famous of all American poems. And it is now that we’re reminded of it.
Oh, say can you see, by the bombs’ settling dust,
What so proudly we hailed as victory for the West,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars brought perilous fright,
As on Fox we watched officers abusing,
And the stench of death and the lies in the air,
Gave proof through the night that America was still there.
Oh, say does that Star Spangled Banner still wave,
O’er the land of poor, and the home of the afraid.
My, my, my, it’s a beautiful world.