If you have followed these epistles thus far, you will doubtless have noticed that I'm managing to maintain a balanced, objective, non-partisan approach.
It's important. When you move to a new culture, you need to play the intrigued anthropologist for a while, before graduating to the high-horse of cynical critique. But, just for fun – and because it's been a crap week – today I'm going to slag off all things American.
So, let's launch forth into unbalanced diatribe …
ISSUE 1 – FAT PEOPLE
Yes, make no bones about it, Americans have 'fat bones' (translation: 'a lot of fat around their bones, with additional layers of blubber and padding on top of that'). They are the evolutionary missing link between human and hippo.
But let's not judge them: Americans are genetically predisposed to eat sugary, unnatural, pre-parepared crap in vast portions, and not to walk anywhere. It's in their nature. Which is why they think nothing of waddling to a doctor, in search of surgery or a pill to solve their type II diabetes, self-image issues, and lack of pep.
Which leads me neatly on to …
ISSUE 2 – PHARMACEUTICALS
'Do you occasionally feel vaguely less then perfect? Then ask your medical professional about new Ikansolvital, a cocktail of 37 industrially-produced compounds guaranteed to make you feel better, because it costs $37.99 for 6 tablets, and anything that expensive MUST be amazing, right?'
And don't get me on to insurance companies profiteering on people's poor health.
ISSUE 3 – CONFORMITY
Back in the 80s, we all used to smirk at those dumb, ugly communists building dumb, ugly carbon-copy tower blocks out of concrete. Well, the production-line, mass-produced capitalist dream has amounted to the same thing in modern America (only with slightly prettier concrete).
Cloning. Houses, neighborhoods, towns – all look the same. Likewise clothes, cars, churches, and shops (which all sell exactly the same stuff). In a country full of creativity and natural variety (desert, mountain, swamp, grassland), it is a crime that the man-made stuff conforms so utterly to the post-war baby-boomer bigger-is-better utilitarian mold.
ISSUE 4 – HOW ARE YOU TODAY?
I will never – NEVER – get the point in asking after the well-being of someone you do not know, do not care about, and whom you will never meet again.
The conversation goes something like this …
[phone rings, DAVID picks up]
DAVID: Hello, David speaking.
PERSON: Hi, how are you today?
DAVID: Um, I'm alright, though I do have a bit of a cough. Who is this?
PERSON: I'm good thanks.
ISSUE 6 – TAKING THE PISS OUT OF THE BRITISH WEATHER
Yes I know: the reason my green and pleasant land is green (and reasonably pleasant) is because we have a sizable annual rainfall. And yes, I know it's cold: if you were within 600 miles of the Arctic Circle, you'd be chilly too.
But the fact is, oh South Carolina, blessed as you are with with hot sunny day after hot sunny day, you'd have more integrity in your chiding if you actually went outside occasionally. And no, sitting in your car with the a/c up full does not count.