Thursday, June 14, 2007

Deconstructing "The Australian Dentist's Tale: Well-Meaning--But Destructive--Exceptionionalist Cods'wallop

I received this from a good-hearted, earnest, well-educated, humane friend this morning. I've seen it before, but this was the first time i was inspired to reply.
(My friend wrote:) "Written by an Australian Dentist....and too good to delete..."
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To Kill an American...
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You probably missed it in the rush of news last week, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.
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So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone know what an American is. So they would know when they found one. (Good one, mate!!!!)
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"An American is English, or French, or Italian , Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan.
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An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.
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An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.
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An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.
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An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.
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An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.
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When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!
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As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan . Americans welcome the best of everything...the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services. But they also welcome the least.
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The national symbol of America, The Statue of Liberty , welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America.
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Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001 earning a better life for their families. It's been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.
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So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself . Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.
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>Please keep this going!
>Pass this around the World ?
>Then pass it around a gain.
>It says it all, for all of us
>Please do not just delete.
>Pass it on first.
>Thanks!
I replied:
"I shall win no friends by sayin' this--since when has that mattered to me???--but this is no more than another heaping, steaming gob 'American exceptionalist' bs/propaganda...

"That it originates from an Aussie is irrelevant: Aussies were still shooting Abos for sport into the 1940s...John Howard, the Aussie PM, is a fascist asshole. Being 'an American' gains no particular virtue from his lips.

"If you examine the points one by one-- actually read 'em, and regard what's left out --they conceal FAR mor than they reveal.

"If you really wanna stop the madness of King George, we gotta stop believing-- and circulating --this kinda kudzu...

"No offense intended, (my friend)...But I've been seeing this kinda stuff all my life-- though much more since the Commander-in-Chimpo took over-- and looking around, I find it has authorized--and still authorizes--the continued, and growing limitations on the rights of citizens, far more than it promulgates our freedoms...

What became--for example-- of our "habeas Corpus?"
Having said all that, it occurred to me actually to deconstruct the claims made with the facts that are elided.

The first is that it was not written by "an Australian dentist.":
The author of this screed is one Peter Ferrara, an associate professor of law at the (notoriously right-ward listing) George Mason University School of Law in Northern Virginia. Mr. Ferrara's commentary was originally published in the National Review on 25 September 2001. This fact probably makes it all the more important to deconstruct the text.

Para 1:
"An American is English, or French, or Italian , Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan."
It strikes me as significant that the writer categorically claimed 'natural' American-ship to (mostly) light-skinned Europeans. The folks who "MAY also" be Americans tend to be the marginalized peoples, both in the USofA and elsewhere (including Australia). This subjunctive mood appears in the next paragraph, too. Vide!

Para 2:
An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.
The thing about them Injuns izzat ya cain't trust 'em, ya see. Mebbe them's "REAL" Murkins, but mebbe not; they got SECRETS...On'iest good injun ah ever seed wuz a DAID injun...

In para 3, we get religious purity, once again tempered with subjunctivity:
An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.
Ya see, The DEFAULT "Murkin" is a person of the CHRISTIAN faith. "He" (sic) COULD be one of them other kindsa heathens, and if'n they's respeckful 'n know they places, we let'um." I'd like to see a citation for the assertion that there are more Muslims in the USofA than in Afghanistan, albeit Afghanistan's not that big a place--@ 17 30 million before we started killing 'em off, wholesale, in '03. If there were 30 million Muslims--give or take a few--in the USA, there would be significantly more than 1--that is, ONE--Muslim Congresscritter, I imagine. Though, to be fair, there are exponentially more indigenous descendants of the original tribal inhabitants than there are reflected in the number of "out" Indians in elected public life.

Para 4:
An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.
This is a joke, right? I'd be willing to bet the whole goddamn ranch that there aren't 100 avowed atheists/agnostics in ANY elected offices in ANY civic positions ANYWHERE in the USofA today. No admitted atheist can be elected president, or senator, or congresscritter, or governor; damn few would be elected to State Leges, either. I'll believe that bit of malarkey when ANY presidential candidate in EITHER the Democratic OR the Republican wings of the Party of Property openly declares their skepticism of Intelligent Design/Creationism.

Para 5:
An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.
That is such a bald-faced lie--okay, extremely charitably, such an arrant misreading--of the realities of international relations as to be dismissable on the spot. OF COURSE there were quids for the so-called 'generous' pro quos': UN votes, trade preferences, bidness deals, military bases (over 800 of them world-wide), financial concessions, the whole Murkin empire is founded our so-called generosity. Americans dedicate a far smaller fraction of their personal and gross national products to the poor of their own communities--to say nothing of their international 'largesse'--than any of the so-called 'civilized' world.

Para 6:
When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!
The FUCKING CIA CREATED Usama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, to say nothing of the Taliban, with boundless quantities of weapons and armaments. Freedom for Afghanis had nothing--less than nothing--to do with it. The reason was to "bleed the Russkis dry, like VietNam did" for the USers 20 years earlier. "We" supplied NO food support to the people of Afghanistan in that period--and very damn little afterwards, when we virtually abandonned the country in the '90s--no medical services, no building assistance, no security; nothing but guns and bullets...Many of which, apparently, are returning now to bite us the way they bit the Russians--and for many of the same reasons.

Para 7:
As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan. Americans welcome the best of everything...the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services. But they also welcome the least.
This is sheer balderdash, the lack of citation for the first assertion notwithstanding. As for the rest, most Murkins aren't even aware of the "best" of the productions of the rest of the world, mostly because we are submerged in their cheapest, mass-produced exports. Murkins typically reject out of hand the "best" of other cultures; they tend to describe that as "best" which best duplicates their already uninspired, insipid, commodified, parochial tastes.

Para 8:
The national symbol of America, The Statue of Liberty , welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest- tossed. These in fact are the people who built America.
The current emblem of the USofA, in the rest of the world, is no longer the romantic posture of the welcoming Statue (which was pretty much a little, white lie to begin with), or Emma Lazarus' humane, generous poetry; it is, rather, the 700-mile, 20-foot-high fence being erected between the US and Mexico, by the very people it's being designed and built to keep out. If you forgot about feudalism, you could almost believe you invented the "country" club country.

Para 9:
Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001 earning a better life for their families. It's been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.
There were folks working in the WTC that day who were, justifiably, more fearful of a raid by the INS than they were about attacks by hijacked airliners. In the rhetoric of Tom Tancredo and others, those folks would now be expelled, had they not then been killed. In the towers, that day, too, as Ward Churchill (in?)famously noticed, were toiling the minions of the CorpoRat & Militarial hierarchy whose labors enslaved and criminalized those selfsame same victims, along with their relatives and friends, well before their tragic demises in the falling towers.

Para 10:
So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself . Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.
Yeah, just don't try to come LIVE here.
"Papers!?! Where Are Your Papers, Miguel???!"
As for "killing Americans," if one admits any truth to the assertions so fervently averred by the "Australian Doctor," us Murkins don't need any help at all from the outside. We've been doing our BEST for 500 years.

It may seem that something so transparent is an insufficient object for the expenditure of much energy. But I don't think so. The message forwarded by my friend is an exemplar of a whole galaxy of spinning propaganda banners to which the USer image-consumers are constantly compelled to attend and in which they are often unconsciously submerged..and by which they cannot help but be influenced, since the prose panders so vividly to those destructive myths of USAxceptionality...
(Revised @ 3:50 pm, MDT, 6/14/07)

The Older I Get, The Better I Usta Be...

3 comments:

mothra said...

I got this from a couple of friends as well. I responded to one whom I knew might listen. Didn't hear anything back....

Your deconstruction was brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I just received this on a Myspace bulletin and it surprises me how easily people are willing to agree with any post.

WGG, Rogue Scholar & Tokin Lib'rul said...

yer welcome...

and thank you, m...