Just as we call the biological cooperative activated by our cells our body, we erroneously consider the random collection of bodies, arising from and activated within the confines of the North American continent between Canada and Mexico, the “Americans”. Considering how this flock has represented itself to the rest of the planetary population since the end of World War Two, like crows, we might well be called a murder of humans.
Every commercial use of the word “Americans”, from political podium propaganda to snake-oil sales pitches to puritanical pulpit posturing is, in reality, like a blade dividing the ones who buy the particular use of the collective noun from the hyphenated and “un” American versions while ostensibly, ideally including everyone. And doesn’t everyone just love ideals?
The American Dream, conjured futures of wall to wall prosthetics and three hour work week for everyone, was the ideal prophesied upon the United States’ victorious emergence from WWII through the might of our industrial war machine being bigger than Hitler’s. Automation, yahoo.!
The American reality sixty years later is wall to wall prosthetics in the homes of the owners of the war machine’s corporations (those heroes) being powered by wannabes (US troops beta testing combat gear and inner city control techniques for swat teams back home) and wage slaves working sixty hours a week just to put food on the table and afford to buy the latest version of the greatest ever. As John Brunner so sagely observed, “It’s supposed to be automatic, but actually, someone must push the button.” The US is annexing button pushers world wide to keep the ideal alive for the prophecy profiteers and the employment up for “Americans.” If you can’t get work, I guess you know where your job’s gone and what subset you’re in.
Somewhere in the history of man someone declared they knew a purpose to existence that was so attractive to the human ego that it caught on despite overwhelming empirical evidence to the contrary. Imagine one’s self as being the purpose of all existence, created for you by your omnipotent father and given you to steward forevermore with his behavior as a model of administration. Whooee, I’ll take som’o’ that, and som’o’ this here and get away from that, it’s mine and it’ll cost ya or I’ll turn ya t’ salt. Even scientific atheists cling to the privileged superiority of man as they twist and commodify nature just as money fueled purpose has done to them. It is no coincidence that money accrues to the heads of religions and corporations in a culture where the reality of the individual existence is subverted to the ideal of a corporate heaven, or else!
Shedding our collective nouns until we get to the always fresh reality of every instant of our life is a cure for the confusion they cause: American, Idahoan, Married, Accountant, Baptist, Black, Female, Animal, earthling ……… genetically guided response to existence by observing a sensory hologram.
This rant courtesy of Pisces Iscariot’s email rattling the cage from both sides of which we write and sometimes rage. I have found a period in my life where, with no oxen being gored directly, I have been satified with watching annoyances dissolve without feeling the necessity of expressing them to others anecdotally or tiraditionally. I have formed more words in scrabble with my pal in Chicago than I’ve devoted to philosophical revelations and to which I will return with the letters E-T-C-S-R-R-I to fit somewhere into Bert's first word, B-O-O-T-I-E.