Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Stupid things the United States hasn't tried yet...

1) Outlawing kittens

We have to face it: the United States is a kitten-friendly society. While the ownership of these creatures is not necessarily encouraged, except by nonfederal entities like Cat Fancy magazine, kitten-lovers certainly face no persecution or legal strictures in today’s America. They are free to go about their business, spreading their pro-kitten agenda so finely that most of us don’t even recognize it as an agenda at all. You ask any random person on the streets of Manhattan, Topeka or Tuscon what first pops into their mind when you say “kitten” and an alarmingly-high percentage of them will respond with “cute”. Clearly, kittens have become “normalized” in our society and few ever stop to ask themselves “Why do we put up with these crazed, vomit-prone beasts?”. Obviously, the time is ripe for a bold political figure to step up and force us citizens to decide which side we’re on. Are we on the side of the Bible, which says “Yea, and verily the Lord spake unto the Hashamanezzites: do not bring into your house the child of Felix, for he is ill-behaved and with foul claws he shall rendest thou raiments.”, or are we on the side of the secularist, “if-it-feels-furry-pet-it”-minded, Hollywood-funded, pro-kitten lobby?

2) Declaring Tuesday “National Pantsless Day”

We’ve reached a point in history where the U.S.A.’s image has outstripped all its actual powers. In fact, one could argue that our superpower status is preserved mostly by marketing—our economy is a bunch of debt and deficit spending, our culture revolves around watching TV and firing guns at things, and our schoolchildren are massive blobs of suet and entitlement who treat their teachers like Jabba the Hut treats Princess Leia. But, almost miraculously, we still manage to sell ourselves as a youthful, vibrant society full of enthusiasm, energy and more hot blondes than you can shake a stick at. If the rest of the world ever figures out what we’re really like, we’ll be begging Bolivia for emergency aid faster than you can shout “Blame the Democrats!”

Therefore, it is imperative that we preserve this bubble of illusion at all costs. And that requires most of us to leave our pants on when we’re in public. Because, were the world media to pick up on the unprecedented size and cottage-cheesy texture of our asses, the striving billions around the world would be appalled. All that freedom and all that money and that’s all you have to show for it?, they’d ask and from that point on, when they dream of a better life, they’ll be dreaming of Australia.

3) Attacking Iran

There exists, ‘round Afghanistan way, a Muslim nation whose millions of people often suffer under draconian theocratic strictures and an insufficiently-democratic government. Their leadership veers between bellicosity and instability, while their foreign policy often consists of little more than threats to neighboring nations. In fact, this country’s intelligence services have often been accused of encouraging, sponsoring and carrying out terrorist attacks within a nearby non-Muslim nation. This nation—a staunch U.S. ally, by the way—has long been embroiled in a convoluted, seemingly-intractable territorial dispute, and this conflict has become a rallying cry to extremists and scapegoating politicians. Luckily for world peace, our ally is in possession of a whole bunch of nuclear missiles. Whew! Could you imagine how different and deadly the balance of power would be if the other guys got their hands on some of those? I mean, it’s a nightmare scenario, isn’t it? Those people are undemocratic! They’re beholden to religious fanatics! They’ve dirtied their hands with terrorists! Man, I don’t know if I could take it if people like that ever develop...

Wait! What’s that you say? Pakistan already has nuclear weapons? No shit? Well, I guess I’ll just crawl under my bed and wait for the world to end...

But I was going to talk about Iran. Seriously, I think there should be a rule: if you and your cronies send us into one needless, bloody, failed war based on trumped up bullshit and your proven ability to scare people into ignoring the facts, you don’t get to do the same goddamn thing less than five years later. I’m sick of hearing all this “Ahmadinejad is Hitler” shit. Yes, he’s a scary man. Yes, he’s angling to be the big fish in the Middle East. Yes, he’s a menace to Israel. Given that all this is true (and I see no reason to believe that it isn’t), then maybe we should have gone about this whole "War on Terror" thing in a way that didn't strengthen his hand so much. Or, at the very least, maybe someone somewhere in official Washington should have imagined this possibility before we got bogged down with this Iraq business. But no, we elected a bunch of half-assed adventurers instead of competent leaders, and now we’re stuck with this “Saddam was the Hitler of 2003, but Ahmadinejad is this year’s Hitler” business.

So they’ll dust off their “mushroom-cloud-smoking-gun” rhetoric, they’ll bring back their solemn blather about our hand being forced, they’ll wrap themselves in the flag once again and all their screeching ninny enablers and all their bloodthirsty war groupies will get back in their fantasy tanks to grandstand in favor of thousands more dead working-class kids, thousand more dead Middle Easterners. What ever you do, don’t listen to those fuckers. They haven’t been right about a damn thing. These are the sort of people who couldn’t beat a six year old at Risk without cheating, without calling the kid’s stuffed animals traitors. They ought to be retired to jobs where they can’t hurt anyone.

4) Changing the national anthem to “Jump Around”, by House of Pain

You might laugh at me, but I really like “The Star-Spangled Banner”. It gets made fun of a lot for being pompous, but this isn’t fair. It’s actually a stirring anthem composed for a young, war-forged nation and it’s clearly meant to convey the glory and grandeur of a brave people and their brilliant new way of life, forged as it was in fire and adversity. Which is to say that it’s more precocious than pretentious—sort of like an overdramatic fifteen year old’s “Sorrowful Black Flower of my Misery” poems. There’s something charming in its mawkishness, and I think it’s good to hear the inspired bunkum of our early days every now and then. That was a heady time, and heady times inspire flamboyant songs. You’ve just gotta learn to live with it.

Besides, it’s not like there’s some other great tune just waiting in the wings. Sure, a lot of sentimental leftists like “This Land Is Your Land”, but can anyone really call that an improvement? It’s sluggish, pendantic and melodically weak—perfect for a bunch of kindergarteners to mumble through, but nothing to kick off a ball game with. Springsteen’s “Born to Run” isn’t a realistic option, I’m afraid, and neither is Television’s “Marquee Moon”. If I had to choose, I’d personally like Benny Moré’s “Babarabatiri” to get the nod, but I’ve got to be pragmatic here. The U.S.A. probably won’t be ready for a Spanish-language anthem for at least thirty years.