Yesterday I was musing about how good Americans are at exerting a sort of glamour on the rest of the world.
Take this movie for instance (please nobody else wants.) The room was made (and written and directed, and possibly conjured) by its main star an immigrant from Eastern parts unknown. It is a pretty terrible movie by all accounts, possibly the worst movie ever made (a position for which it strives with The Postman and Waterworld, but never mind.)
Knowing The Room is one of those peculiar fascinations of mine (like an aching tooth kind of thing) Chris Chupik put me on to a book “The Making of the room.” Which I read in fascinated horror, and which survived the great book purge of 2015
It is through that opus that I know things like that Tommy Wiseu is an immigrant from parts unknown who is sometimes unclear on how things like buildings, roads, cars or indeed people work. In fact, Occam’s razor dictates that we assume Tommy is a centuries old vampire, whose brain is starting to go. But that’s not the point right now…
The point is that his move is pretty d*mn depressing. The main character is being cheated on by his fiance and best friend, has just been fired, and (no, trust me, it’s not a spoiler) ends up killing himself (I almost typed itself. You’d have to see it to understand.)
BUT the thing is that through all the movie (and the book about it) you get this sense the whole thing is … aspirational. That this pretty horrible situation is what Tommy wishes he had.
I understand this somewhat, because we watched shows from the US that in retrospect were practically slander against American society. And all we could think was “I’ve got to get there.” Murder, manipulation, horrible drug habits, public crime. “I got to get there.”
Why in heck is that?
Well, part of it is that we’re good sales people. We make it all look so gosh darn INTERESTING that people can’t help reacting.
The other part is the stuff that leaks around the intended message: Abundance and the freedom that allows it, mostly. Which get even into the mind of those who would be insulted if you suggest that Americans are any better than their countrymen, and makes people dream.
Unfortunately that “aspirational” quality means people want to imitate the US, and because the image of the US they’re being sold is this distorted fun-house mirror thing, it is, in no small part, responsible for a lot of the corruption and sheer craziness in other countries. (Not to mention the obsession with living in apartments because that’s “modern.”)
A lot of crazy American left ideas are treated FAR MORE seriously abroad than here, because they get a lot more of it, their governments by and large encourage their dissemination (not the least because they think it makes America look bad, but also because it accords with a lot of THEIR … for lack of a better word thinking.) How crazy? Well, “We’re all going to fry up” (My brother thought Al Gore was smart, for ex) or “no borders is a great idea.”
I’m not saying we’re responsible for the mess that is Merkel’s Germany, understand, but I’m saying our far left is, and through their hijacking of the media and entertainment, they’ve projected their insanity as a thing to aspire to to the rest of the world. They THINK they’re maligning America, but they’re really making the world a horrible place. And they don’t even know it. And if they knew it, they might fail to get it.
Which brings us to why we have a lot of work to do. If the nature of what we have here creates an aspirational movement in the rest of the world, even while our intellectuals hate our country and are trying to slander it, imagine how much better everything would be if we just wrote about the country as it really is, and as we’d like it to be.
Aspirations and dreams are a great force.
Happy new year. You have work to do.