-- And they decided to invade Iraq and to use our retirement money to finance a big looting and pillaging spree through the economy, leaving us holding the bag. Are we good patriotic citizens? Or suckers?
*We're so steeped in bloodshed that we hardly notice it anymore. Popular commercial culture is nothing but violence and brutality. The revenge fantasy is Hollywood's most reliably profitable product. Our appetite for sadism in everything from horror movies to pornography is insatiable. We shake our heads in sorrow at each week's gun rampage, and then forget about it the next day. The spectacle of daily suicide bombings in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan barely registers on us. We tune out news of civil wars in Africa. We're bored with it.
And yet, we only feel alive when we're holding a gun.
*We are pathologically obsessed with youth and childhood. We inject botulism toxin in our faces to look young, and go under surgery so we can look like our children. That Hollywood staple, the Coming of Age story, is for adults, not for children.
And yet, we hate kids. We're stingy on spending money to educate anyone's children but our own. We spend millions to medicate our kids when they start acting like children. We pay and treat the people who educate and look after our children like menials. We're happy to spend more money on prisons for kids. We never have any time to spend with our kids. We're not only afraid for them, we're afraid of them. We've created a society where the world of adults and the world of the young are almost totally separate from each other. And yet, we're always surprised at each new generation of alienated youth.
*While the concept of what it means to be a woman has dramatically expanded over the last 40 years, the concept of what it means to be a man has become constricted and impoverished. Being a man was once about being the strong shoulder upon which others could depend, the gallant champion of all who depend on you. It was a heavy burden to bear, and you stifled your true feelings because you were responsible for others. The problem with that old role is that it depended on others being dependent to make you feel necessary.
Today, being a man is all about being an Alpha Male. The stronger, and more aggressive the animal with the penis is, the more esteemed he is by the other animals with penises in the pack. They are all constantly testing each other to see who will be the dominant male. It's all a contest to see who gets to claim the females and to spread their sperm. Now, being a man means no more than being a baboon.
*I met a Dutch woman 20 years ago in Italy who loathed Americans. She said we were all such overgrown children. And yet, I can't help noticing how childish people can be on the subway.