June 09, 2007
"most Americans have a profound need to be spanked by someone with a British accent"
In this week's Philadelphia Weekly, I stumbled onto a review of a pair of little plastic unicorns:
Cold War UnicornsThe unicorns are available for sale here, and they look like this:
As to the "Al Qaeda nonsense," I guess the writer thinks that in time it will also become a "cartoonish metaphor for why we rule and everyone else sucks," because it's all about American exceptionalism. Maybe someone can sell little plastic models of the Twin Towers being rammed by Al Qaeda unicorns with "CIA" emblazoned on the side. Yuk yuk!
The reference to Osama bin Laden as "our plucky friend" also intrigued me, as the idea that he was working for the US or trained by the CIA has been exposed as an urban legend by Peter Bergen of CNN:
The story about bin Laden and the CIA -- that the CIA funded bin Laden or trained bin Laden -- is simply a folk myth. There's no evidence of this. In fact, there are very few things that bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and the U.S. government agree on. They all agree that they didn't have a relationship in the 1980s. And they wouldn't have needed to. Bin Laden had his own money, he was anti-American and he was operating secretly and independently.Yeah, but Philadelphia Weekly says he was our plucky friend!
(So much for the right wing CNN, I guess.)
Well, even if I don't agree with his political philosophy, this PW writer at least has a sense of humor. And if Americans in general are into exceptionalism, in Philadelphia, this exceptionalism manifests itself as a desire to be zombies:
At the very top of Chestnut Hill we find government administration graduate student Tom Cowell hunkered over a pile of books in the Borders cafe.I guess it must really suck to have to go to school surrounded by a bunch of "slack-jawed, inoculated-against-logic morons," but I'm wondering... Does Cowell thinks the whole country is that way too, or just Philadelphia?
He seems to be fond of using the word "we" in a sort of self-deprecatory manner, as if he's scolding himself along with the rest of his fellow morons, and I can only conclude that he must truly hate Philadelphia. It must have been like slumming to have to go to graduate school here, and although he seems to have attended a pretty nice program at UPenn's Fels Institute of Government:
Tom Cowell, from London (UK), graduated from St Peter's College, Oxford in 2002 with a degree in English Language and Literature. After his undergraduate studies, Tom spent a year teaching English in Japan's Toyama Prefecture as a member of the JET (Japanese Exchange and Teaching) Program. He taught at an Agricultural High School in Nyuzen-machi. Returning to England, Tom worked in the offices of two British members of Parliament: Geraint Davies MP and Harry Cohen MP. His duties all involved meeting the needs of inner-city London constituents, the most pressing of which were assistance with immigration and housing concerns. Tom is a Thouron Scholar and a member of the British Labour Party.What I want to know is why does he use the "we" word in such a way as to imply he's an American? Osama is "our plucky friend." "We rule and everyone else sucks." If I went to England to go to school, no mattter how much I hated it I don't think I'd use the first person plural like that when describing the country. People might get confused.
On the other hand, Cowell worked on the policy team of mayoral candidate Chaka Fattah's campaign, so I guess he takes American politics seriously. Who knows? He might be planning to take up citizenship here, and maybe he already has. If so, then that would give him the right to be as free with the "we" word as any other American political activist.
Still, there's this gem reprinted from the Guardian which refers to him as "an Englishman exiled in Philadelphia" who conflates our "founding myth" with a need to be spanked:
Cultural commentator Tom Cowell [no relation], an Englishman exiled in Philadelphia, says, " I don't know how many times a listener has glazed over, daydreaming about Olde English castles and fairies. It's like a drug."I'm just guessing, but I'll just betcha he considers himself precisely the man to minister to our profound need!
Well, I shouldn't have said "our," because it's not mine, even if an Englishman exiled in my city thinks it is. However, even though I'm not into that kind of stuff, I do think it's really cool that Americans with a fetish for being spanked by traditional British nannies can have their profound needs met. Anything you can think of, someone's into it.
But not everyone.
I'm sure there's a nice cartoonish metaphor in there somewhere.
Maybe even little plastic toys for the grandkids.
posted by Eric on 06.09.07 at 04:57 PM
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