Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


"Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution"

The title of this post is from the third verse of The Star-Spangled Banner. I sang that verse years ago at an audition for a high school musical. A few of my friends stood up and saluted. The third verse is awesome. You can read the lyrics here, and find out a little bit about the song here. (There are hundreds of sites about the song, I'm sure, but this was in our newspaper today, and it's short.)

Anyway, I mentioned that I bought the latest issue of GQ magazine. No, it wasn't for the pictures of Jessica Simpson. If I wanted to ogle Jessica Simpson, couldn't I just surf the web instead of spending money? The answer is yes. No, I bought because it was a list issue, and I'm a sucker for lists. This one was about things to love about the United States, because it's the Fourth of July and all. I flipped through the list, but haven't read it yet. It's got some typical male chauvinistic crap in it (it's GQ, after all), but it also some things you might not have thought of. So that's why I bought it.

It got me thinking about this big stupid country and what we're doing with it. I know, it's the Fourth, and everyone is in a patriotic mood, and everyone is crying because the troops aren't home yet or proud because the troops aren't home yet or belligerent because the damned troops aren't home yet, and they're blogging about it all over the place. So it's two cents time!

I think my recent drop in popularity among the perusers of blogs is because I don't support the troops. Oh well. I have nothing personally against the troops, I just think that if you don't want to die, don't join the armed forces. As for defending our freedom, well, I guess so, but I still say that I didn't see any Iraqis roaming the streets of Phoenix trying to take away my freedom before Bush invaded, so that's a tenuous thing at best. My point is - Robert Heinlein (I think) said it best: "Any society with a standing army is a society ruled by the military." I'm paraphrasing, because I don't remember the exact quote, but the sentiment is there. Yes, I feel bad that soldiers are dying far from home. I feel a lot worse for people around the world who are dying because they're in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have nothing against the troops, I just don't support them. I don't think that makes me a bad person. Maybe it does. I don't know.

By the way, I love this fucked-up country. I appreciate the sacrifices everyone has made to make it. I even appreciate the fact that our soldiers right now would die for me even though I don't support them. Thank you, guys. And despite everything that's going on right now in our country, I still have hope. Some of the reasons why are in the post I just linked to above, but there's another reason:

This country, it seems to me, has a couple of things going for it. First, it's not a country in the sense that France or Germany or China is. Those were nations (in the strictest sense of the word) long before they were countries. Even before Bismarck came along, there was a German nation. They are united by language and culture, and even though that has broken down in the past fifty years or so in Europe, it's still pretty true, and the Europeans are struggling with the change that has come upon them. In the former colonial regions, it's a mess because the boundaries were artificially imposed, so they have tribes who always hated each other trying to get along (Rwanda, anyone?). The United States never had boundaries artificially imposed, and it became a country not because of its common language and culture, but because of its distinct lack of them. Up until what? the beginning of the 20th century? German was as popular in the U.S. as English, and now Spanish is rapidly making gains, although to some people, this will lead to the destruction of the earth as we know it! We are a country made up of individuals (although we're not as individualistic as we'd like to think) who have, for better or worse, left our pasts behind, and that makes us unique. Other, similar countries have the burden of their pasts to deal with. We have made this mess work, which is nice.

The other great thing about this place, and the thing that disturbs me the most about what's going on right now, is that, as P.J. O'Rourke once wrote (again, paraphrasing!), "We're a country based on happiness." We're the only country in the world based on trying to get drunk and laid. So that's cool. We are also a country based on "can do" instead of "can't do." For our entire history, we have walked a fine line between what we can do and what we can't do, and the greatest thing about this stupid place is that for the most part, we have emphasized what we can do. Other countries are built on what you can't do. Sure, we have laws outlawing stuff, but for the most part, we have set up a government that wants us to have stuff instead of denying us stuff. That's what bugs me the most about the people who are running this country now (and no, I'm not just talking about Republicans, even though they happen to be running things right now) - we seem to moving gradually toward an attitude of denying people things. Whether you're a fundamentalist Christian and you want to deny gay people the right to vote (I'm waiting for the divorce rates in England, Spain, and Canada to skyrocket, since their gay marriages will destroy marriage as we know it!) or an ultra-liberal trying to deny me the right to call someone a "nigger" (blech, I hate that word, and never use it, but the point is made, I think), we have way too many people telling us what we can't do these days. That's what we need to guard against, and usually in this country we have enough people who are watchdogs (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, that sort of thing) that it never goes too far. Unfortunately, today we have people from both sides of the political spectrum trying to say we "can't do" certain things, and that's an issue. What makes this country great, of course, is the fact that we can call bullshit on these people and say that they're not going to be able to get away with it. We need to realize that differences between people are great, and that just because Dorian might want to get married, it won't turn my children into angry lesbians.

So that's my I love this crazy place. I often think about leaving it, for two reasons: 1) I think it's important to experience other places and cultures; 2) I will probably appreciate this place a lot more if I'm not in it for a few years. Whenever I'm out of the country for a while, I like the U.S. a lot more. We're a mess, but we're a grand mess, and more importantly, a free mess. Let's keep it that way.

As I wandered around the Internets today, I noticed some interesting takes on the Fourth of July. Check them out!

Nick talks about Indian independence, just so you won't forget that other countries got their independence from England too.

Andrew Sullivan discussed why he loves this country.

The pope blessed hot dogs for us all. Check it out just for the creepy graphic.

This is a little right wing for me, but we're all Americans, right?

Fun stuff to do on the Fourth. Do them every day!

Here's a nice story about liberty and Vietnam, plus almost-naked chicks! Because that's what America is all about!

The Disgruntled Chemist has a nice message about how he celebrates the holiday.

Orac talks about the crazy lady in front of the White House and why she's the symbol of freedom!

Marc Singer has some interesting thoughts about the Fourth of July and V for Vendetta.

Speaking of Dorian, he shows us that nothing says FREEDOM! like the Phantom Stranger on a carousel horse.

Toner Mishap has the flag in comics, including this:
Miss Victory
Now, this is cheap cheesecake, I understand, but why is Congress debating a flag-burning amendment when I think this (and the Jessica Simpson flag-bikini in yesterday's post) is just as disrespectful to the flag as burning it? I mean, really!

Finally, we have Zombie Tom partying with some unlikely fellow zombies!

And before I go, I was reminded about a couple of things that disappeared from my post yesterday that I really wanted to get in. First, we have this story, which Peter David really hopes is Godzilla, and then we have Pharyngula linking to this story, which describes how scientists found the Eye of Sauron! Holy crap, check it out!
Eye of Sauron

I know most people will be reading this, if at all, on the fifth, but I hope every American had a great holiday and thought about what it means, and I hope every foreigner reading this prays we don't come to your country and crush you! Don't think we can't! Bwah-ha-ha-ha!


Blogger Roger Owen Green said...


Gotta say that I don't know what "Support the troops" means. I don't send them cookies.

But I support the troops by finding ways to protest the idiot administration that sent them there under so many different, moving pretenses that I don't even know what this week's premise is. 9/11 is what he said last week. 9/11?!! @#$%^&!

Anyway, you've got a gutsy blog, and you post regularly. A lot of the folks don't, including some of the Mixed CDers that I've only recently started to check out, mostly to see what scathing reviews they're going to give my CD. You practically reviewed my CD in your e-mail to me.


6/7/05 1:58 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Thanks, Roger. I was THIS CLOSE to buying the Blessed Union of Souls album with "Oh Virginia" on it this past weekend - what a great song. Finances constrained me!

I like posting - it's fun. Of course, maybe it's because I have no life, but we'll just leave that for some other day.

6/7/05 2:27 PM  
Blogger Roxy said...

The Blessid Union of Souls album "Home" is still a must buy. The songs on it are fantastic...

6/7/05 7:09 PM  

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