Tag Archives: usa

The Death of Adulthood in American Culture

I do feel the loss of something here, but bemoaning the general immaturity of contemporary culture would be as obtuse as declaring it the coolest thing ever. A crisis of authority is not for the faint of heart. It can be scary and weird and ambiguous. But it can be a lot of fun, too. The best and most authentic cultural products of our time manage to be all of those things. They imagine a world where no one is in charge and no one necessarily knows what’s going on, where identities are in perpetual flux. Mothers and fathers act like teenagers; little children are wise beyond their years. Girls light out for the territory and boys cloister themselves in secret gardens. We have more stories, pictures and arguments than we know what to do with, and each one of them presses on our attention with a claim of uniqueness, a demand to be recognized as special. The world is our playground, without a dad or a mom in sight.

more on nytimes.com.

Unfortunately, this fantastic essay ends here. It doesn’t attempt to confront the fact that the world keeps presenting us with problems requiring much bigger shoes than the overgrown kids are willing to wear.

Fecundophobia: The Growing Fear Of Children And Fertile Women

It’s almost as if there is a pattern in how the media treats stories about women and their wombs. ”If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament,” activist Florynce Kennedy famously said. But the fact is that, as far as the media are concerned, abortion is a sacrament. And keeping the womb empty at all costs during all, or nearly all, of one’s fertile years is the sine qua non of modern American womanhood. Woe to the woman who “chooses” otherwise.

Conservative websites with well written articles – they exists!

A New Twist in International Relations: The Corporate Keep-My-Data-Out-of-the-U.S. Clause

U.S.-based technology companies face a serious threat. The NSA disclosures may reduce U.S. technology sales overseas by as much as $180 billion, or 25 percent of information technology services, by 2016, according to Forrester Research Inc., a group in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

more on bloomberg.com.

All the numbers mentioned in the article should be taken with a pinch of salt, as they’re all estimates. The actual business impact of spying revelations is still to observed.

David Simon: ‘There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show’

If you watched the debacle that was, and is, the fight over something as basic as public health policy in my country over the last couple of years, imagine the ineffectiveness that Americans are going to offer the world when it comes to something really complicated like global warming. We can’t even get healthcare for our citizens on a basic level. And the argument comes down to: "Goddamn this socialist president. Does he think I’m going to pay to keep other people healthy? It’s socialism, motherfucker."

A recent speech by the creator of The Wire on the limits of capitalism. Sadly, I don’t believe that using The Guardian as the platform to voice these ideas will get him a lot of following in the US.

If It Happened There: How the U.S. media would cover Thanksgiving if it were in another country.

The annual holiday, known as Thanksgiving, celebrates a mythologized moment of peace between America’s early foreign settlers and its native groups—a day that by Americans’ own admission preceded a near genocide of those groups. Despite its murky origins, the holiday remains a rare institution celebrated almost universally in this ethnically diverse society.

more on slate.com.

At least some Americans have a healthy perspective on themselves.

American gun use is out of control. Shouldn’t the world intervene?

To absorb the scale of the mayhem, it’s worth trying to guess the death toll of all the wars in American history since the War of Independence began in 1775, and follow that by estimating the number killed by firearms in the US since the day that Robert F. Kennedy was shot in 1968 by a .22 Iver-Johnson handgun, wielded by Sirhan Sirhan. The figures from Congressional Research Service, plus recent statistics from icasualties.org, tell us that from the first casualties in the battle of Lexington to recent operations in Afghanistan, the toll is 1,171,177. By contrast, the number killed by firearms, including suicides, since 1968, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI, is 1,384,171.

That 212,994 more Americans lost their lives from firearms in the last 45 years than in all wars involving the US is a staggering fact, particularly when you place it in the context of the safety-conscious, “secondary smoke” obsessions that characterise so much of American life.

The Guardian calls for international intervention in US to stop irrational gun laws. I wonder, how would the American gun owners react to foreign forces trying to take away their arms?

Dear American Express, I Have Reached My Personal Debt Ceiling

Dear American Express,

All I can say to your collection agent Ms. Tiffany is this:

You say that not paying the bills for charges that I racked up will affect my credit rating.

Really?

I cannot institute meaningful change and necessary reforms to my spending if I don’t address my out-of-control spending. Under your leadership, Amex, my family has seen record “new charges” and thousands of dollars added to my “new balance” every month. So, you see, default ain’t my fault.

more on newyorker.com.

American debt ceiling crisis in a nutshell.

For Many Hard-Liners, Debt Default Is the Goal

During the 1988 race for the Republican presidential nomination, the televangelist Pat Robertson, whose father was chairman of the Senate Banking Committee in the 1960s, advocated canceling the national debt based on the biblical idea of “jubilee.”

A list of influential right wing Republicans that think that a default is a solution to the debt problem. I am sure that when America’s borrowers will come up with an idea for a similar “jubilee”, the Tea Party will be equally enthusiastic.

Shutdown coverage fails Americans

The political press should be the public’s first line of defense when it comes to assessing who is deviating from historic norms and practices, who is risking serious damage to the nation, whose positions are based in irrational phobias and ignorance rather than data and reason.

Instead journalists have been suckered into embracing "balance" and "neutrality" at all costs, and the consequences of their choice in an era of political extremism will only get worse and worse.

It’s quite sad that it takes Al Jazeera to point out clear problems with American political news coverage.

Welcome to the Age of Denial

IN 1982, polls showed that 44 percent of Americans believed God had created human beings in their present form. Thirty years later, the fraction of the population who are creationists is 46 percent.

more on nytimes.com.

On the importance of popularizing science, an activity that some scientists see as below their dignity, yet that will eventually determine their own funding.