Last Sunday, HBO ushered in a new program to counterbalance the vampire porn and keep us halfway interested in premium television until Game of Thrones returns in the spring. From the mind of Aaron Sorkin comes The Newsroom. Newsroom picks up where Danny Boyle left us in 2008; Jamal Malik, of Who-Wants-to-Be-a-Mumbai-Millionaire fame, lands the job of a lifetime in the demanding world of cable news blogging. Along for the ride is Jeff Daniels, who offers a captivating intro to this news saga and a refreshing perspective into the current state of America. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, watch the first few minutes of the pilot episode below.
There’s certainly a lot to react to here. For one, let’s quickly break down what the three panelists reasons are for America being dubbed “the greatest country in the world”:
- Token abrasive on-air liberal woman – “Diversity and Opportunity”. Typical safe, pandering bullshit. Yawn.
- Stand-offish conservative blowhard – “Freedom and Freedom”. Typical conservative doubling-down of Constitutional catch phrases. Bullshit.
- Our protagonist – “The New York Jets”. Honestly – go fuck yourself.
I realize this show is supposed to take place in 2010 in the height of the Rex Ryan/Mark Sanchez promise of tomorrow. But he’s clearly not a Jets fan. As a lifelong Jets fan myself, I can tell you with full honesty and sincerity that the New York Jets are quite possibly the worst thing about America. They represent a bottomless pit of hopelessness and disappointment. They live in the shadow of a more prestigious, more acclaimed, more dignified franchise and only make the back page headlines whenever the New York Post writers need a proverbial punching bag.
But, anyways, as Jeff Daniels continues his rant about why America has descended into the bowels of literacy and mortality rankings, it got me thinking: he’s wrong. The xenophiles out there will day dream about a life filled with Parisian sidewalk cafe brunches, strolls through Tuscan vineyards, and sunbathing in the Caribbean. In the end, all of that is just an escape. It’s a short term fantasy. You’re trying to be Baloo – forgetting about your worries and your strife.
America offers more opportunities and more chances for achieving your lifelong dream than any other country on the planet has ever come close to offering. Don’t get me wrong – every country, America included, has had their history peppered with instances of injustices towards particular sects. But the true triumph of the human spirit is our ability to overcome these obstacles. You can do anything you set your mind to; America was the birthplace of this idea.
Don’t believe me? This guy climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Oh yeah, and he DOESN’T HAVE FUCKING LEGS! But the chef overcooked your filet mignon. So I guess your cry time is valid.
This is Amurica. I love it for many reasons. But, really, there are only five reasons. Without further patriotic rambling, I give you the Five Things I Love About America:
1) Abner Doubleday– The Civil War, or as the South refers to it, “The War of Northern Aggression Against Vampires“, wasn’t our best moment. But, what country hasn’t had a Civil War? It’s the cool thing to do these days.
For those of you that need brushing up on your country’s history, the South basically told the North to GTFO of South Carolina after the South peaced out. On April 12, 1861, the Confederates started to shell the hell out of one of the last Southern outposts of the Union army – Fort Sumter. The army held down the Fort all morning, eating breakfast while simultaneously eating the artillery hits. After finishing his bowl of Raisin Bran Crunch, Doubleday said “Fuck this”, and returned fire. He fired the first shot of the war for Team Slavery Sucks. Pretty cool, right? It gets better.
This sandbagging son of a bitch had invented BASEBALL while he was at West Point. Some people dispute this, mainly because the biggest proponent of his claim to the invention, Abner Graves, shot and killed his wife and was committed to a mental institution. But that’s neither here nor there. The guy is an American hero.
2) Thanksgiving – In the hierarchy of federal holidays, many American’s priorities are out of order. Too often, we place preference on materialistic holidays over other notable dates such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, National Sunglasses Day, and most importantly, Thanksgiving. If you do nothing else in this entire post, bring yourself to one moment of serenity: strip away all of the details that make a holiday special. Let’s take Christmas for example. What will you miss the most? Will you miss posting to Facebook on the morning of December 25th that your parents bought you an iPad? That your fiance bought you a Lexus with an ostentatious bow on top? If you will miss these things, close this window now. I don’t want you reading our blog and contributing to our site traffic. You’re useless to me.
Now, let’s run the same experiment for Thanksgiving. What makes Thanksgiving special? For me, it’s spending each and every single Thanksgiving (except for the one where we went to the parade in NYC) at one of my relative’s houses, transitioning over to Eli’s house midday, usually making another stop or two in the neighborhood, and ending up at our favorite local bar for a night cap. The day is jam packed with good people, good food, and horrendous football. That’s literally what it’s all about. No presents, no one-time use decorations, no $200 all-you-can-drink sardine-packed dance parties. It’s only about consuming your body weight in gravy. And god damnit, it’s perfect.
Thanksgiving rounds out the Holy Trinity of American holidays – the other two being St. Patrick’s Day and July 4th. If your top three include anything but these three days, your priorities are seriously misaligned.
3) Bud Heavy Man Cans – I’m going to start off this rant by pretending that Anheuser-Busch isn’t owned by a Belgium company. Now that formalities have been brushed aside, let’s go to a recent AdAge article from E.J. Schultz. In it, he quotes Harry Schuhmacher of Beer Business Daily (they have a daily publication!?!?!) as saying “the average consumer has a short memory” in relation to A-B no longer being an American-owned company. Well, no shit Sherlock. That’s because your product destroys brain cells. I consume your product so much that I can’t even remember what this post is about anymore.
Where were we? Oh yeah – Foreign influence aside, kudos to the A-B product marketing team for rolling out the patriotic cans in time for this year’s Independence Day. And, for doubling the size of normal cans to a staggering 24 fluid ounces of liquid deliciousness. Our local 7-11 is currently doing a 2-for-$4 deal, which rivals the Tuesday night deals that The Pub had in college down at JMU. With each sip, I feel like I’m performing my civic duty to not only re-stimulate the economy, but also pay tribute to the beautiful artistry of Betsy Ross. Way to fuse together my two favorite things A-B – the flag and binge drinking. No, seriously, this Bud’s for you.
4) NASA/The American Space Program – Similar to the previous point, I’m going to have to caveat this by saying that the recent retirement of the space shuttle program and the constant feuds between the Obama administration and NASA are slightly unsettling. But, where NASA may have dropped the baton, the private sector is more than willing to pick it up and run with it. Companies such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are getting us so much closer to the Jetsons lifestyle we’ve always wanted. I can’t wait until my car folds up into a fucking briefcase.
All other countries space programs are a complete joke. Take China for example. China recently stated it hopes to put a man on the moon by 2025, the first country to do so since we landed 43 years ago. By the time China intends to touch down on the lunar surface, it will be 56 years after Neil Armstrong first uttered the words “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” 56 years! You know what happened 56 years before WE landed on the moon? The first coast-to-coast highway opened. That’s right. In the same time it took us to get from paving a 3,400 mile road to traveling 238,000 miles through SPACE, China became the first country to figure out how to copy nearly 60 year old technology. Kudos.
5) Military Personnel – It goes without saying that the most distinguishing characteristic of America is the men and women who serve this country, both at home and abroad. Not only do we have the most dominant military in history, but it’s an entirely VOLUNTEER force. That’s insane, totally unique, and legendary. Every person who has given up their lives over the last 11 years signed up to do it completely of their own accord.
Some people will say, oh but they were poor and needed money etc. First of all, this is total bullshit. Second of all, those few soldiers who do fall into that category could have chosen to sell drugs or go on welfare, but did they? No. They fucking sacked up and joined the military. There are still over a million people in uniform who volunteered and are ready and willing to go fight despite a lack of public support for the continued war in Afghanistan. And that’s badass.
(On a side note, Cliff has been begging me to send him past issues of Inc. magazine for like six months now. And I can’t even get off my lazy ass to walk three blocks to the FedEx store to ship him outdated issues to pass the time in Afghanistan. Talk about first world problems.)
As much as I love our blog gaining increased international traffic from the Middle East, I can’t wait for my friend to come home, so we can sit around the Thanksgiving table, pounding Bud Heavies, building more lore around Abner Doubleday and his ridiculous feats of Americanism (that’s a word, right?), and talking about whether we’ll land on Mars before the Chinese land on the Moon. Seriously China – man the fuck up and get on our level. We’re paying for this stuff.
Other honorable mentions: The Grand Canyon, the Gateway Arch, Scyfy movies, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile, Ford, Mullets, Meat Week, and Twinkies.