Fun:American

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A word describing anything from America, or a noun meaning a person from America.

The average American is not a pretty sight -- 15-50 kg overweight, somewhat xenophobic, politically sort of conservative (but more complacent than anything else), given to a certain strain of anti-intellectualism born of being one of the most religious of Westernized nations. Our food can be very very very good (sit down to some soul food or a plate of our seafood some time) but we tend to eat a lot of nondescript garbage because it's cheap, unchallenging, served in ungodly huge portions, and often deep-fried. (This made sense when most of the country were agricultural workers, but over half our population lives relatively sedentary lifestyles in urban surroundings now, so country food creates city obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.)

We have some of the best universities in the world, populated primarily by graduates of some of the worst schools in the world; as a result, the population tends to be given to willful stupidity (nearly half the population, according to some polls, are evolution deniers) and embarrassing gullibility due to the promotion of blind faith as a virtue, not to mention the delusion that our universities are liberal propaganda factories rather than large-scale free markets of ideas. We also have a nasty habit of creating things like videotape, rock music, and basketball and letting other countries figure out how to kick our asses at them. Americans are notorious around the world for a pathological love of firearms, despite immense problems in our cities with gun violence. (We aren't all like that by any stretch of the imagination, mind you. But the gun control lobbies don't get anywhere near as much money as the National Rifle Association.) Thanks to our Wild West heritage, we are used to proceeding after the maxim "shoot first, ask questions later", which makes us ideally suited to playing the role of the cop on the global scale, and we won't allow the UN to take our god-given job away, even though we were instrumental in establishing this very organization, and their HQ is in our own country.

Many of us subscribe to "rugged individualism", i. e., a concept of personal responsibility so strict that we don't provide a safety net for our poor, invoking the "free market" as an excuse for not providing health care to everyone and using the spectre of a few cheats gaming the system as an excuse to ignore the less-privileged as a group and blame them for their own situation. (In that regard we're nothing unusual -- the French are at least as bad if not worse than we are as far as alienating our minorities, but at least the French have a health care system.) Our corporations fight any attempt to force them to treat their workers better, then outsource and lay off their workers when the heat gets too much.

We travel badly and very very loudly, with the result that perhaps only a quarter of Americans have even the slightest clue about what it's like to be from anywhere else on the planet. This has lead to incredibly arrogant, aggressive and destructive foreign policies as we go around the world telling everyone we're better than them and they should immediately stop what they've been doing for thousands of years and live like us. We're the only country on Earth to have used nuclear weapons in wartime, and since then have spent much time telling everyone else we're the only people who should have ever had them. (We even ostracized one of our greatest nuclear scientists because he said that maybe making a bigger bomb wasn't such a good idea.) With a very short history (of an invading people who slaughtered and destroyed our ancient predecessors) compared to almost every other people's and nations on Earth, we have no appreciation of what it's like to have deep, long traditions. Instead, we look at them and want to buy them. It doesn't help that some of our liberals suffer quite loudly and prominently from the same sort of ethnocentric/moralistic derangements as our nuttier conservatives, making a lot of people suspicious that the Left-Right continuum links ends somewhere around the back.

We're really messed up when it comes to sex and drugs -- the very people who keep trying to rein in porn and alcohol are some of their most avid consumers, our drinking age is 21 because our alcohol attitudes render our kids too messed-up to be trusted with it at 18 (but for some unclear reason we think it's a good idea to trust them with a car at this age, before they can make experiences with booze), and we fired a Surgeon General for showing a hint of sex-positive thinking in saying that masturbation is normal and healthy. We lock people up for penny ante possession charges when other countries have been liberalizing their drug policy, and our Justice Department is going after porn made between consenting adults when there is a backlog in cases of child pornography. Millions of imaginary children (though, interestingly, very few real ones) were traumatized by the appearance of a bared breast in a Super Bowl halftime show, something that is pretty much commonplace on broadcast TV in other Westernized countries. And a President got a blow job from an intern and nearly lost his job for it, which led to ridicule from around the world, not for the President, but the conservatives who tried to bring him down.

We undeniably have our good sides -- work ethic is a big one (although many others around the world consider us work and money obsessed), as are the above-mentioned universities. We've got a level of cultural diversity unparalleled anywhere in the world, leading to a potential ability to mix and match ideas in ways that almost no other country could ever do. We're the only nation to have ever voyaged to, and stood on, another celestial body. And we have some of the most stunning chunks of landscape anywhere on the planet. However we jealously covet and therefore seek to deny their aesthetic pleasure to others by erecting massive billboards in acts of visual vandalism. Drive west from St. Louis on Interstate Highway 70 and you will visually assualted by giant "Pro-Life" billboards. If you think we hate nature, just think how much we must hate one another to do this!

Our work has just begun. We're sorry for being dumb, and many of us hope to do much, much better in the future. AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!