why i'm embarrassed to be an american

Stephen has written a funny post about all the stupid things President Bush has said. Well, not ALL--that would take more memory than Blogger has available and the rest of us would like to post today, too. It's one of those things that makes you laugh, though; you're just not sure if it's a Ha-Ha-funny laugh or a Ha-Ha-oh-my-god-get-me-out-of-this-country-help-me-I've-fallen-and-all-I-get-is-CNN-hysterical laugh.

I don't get into politics much. Frankly, it bores me to tears. Yes, I know--thanks for the lecture, but I have a mother of my own. It's just been awhile since we had something truly interesting happen around here. Sure, we got 9/11 and the War and all, but I mean fascinating, nation-altering things, like something that gets to the root of all that's wrong and right within a country, like the Civil Rights Era or Protestants and Catholics in N. Ireland, or the Taliban in Afghanistan. I subscribe to the Big Bang theory of stories (I coined it and a friend loves it so it's an actual term for the craft now--go ahead and use it but credit me, 'k?) in which all the characters' internal and external crises, uh, crisises, uh...hang on...Okay, I was right the first time...CRISES collide at the end of the story.

You just don't see that happen in real life so much. Take 9/11 for instance; we had no internal dillemas that precipitated that event. Sure, one could argue that we should have seen it coming but for our apathy being in the way (that there is what you call irony), but really, in my life (and I do pay some attention to world events even though I don't talk about it much) it was a total and utter shock. It was not the ending crisis, but the Propelling Event that launched the story in question. Truly, I think most Americans (the ones who lived, anyway) felt the same way. Even Bush, who was in a position to know differently, thinks of it in those terms--it was The Event, the Pearl Harbor, that dragged us into War.

But good stories, like real life, do not happen in a vaccuum. The best stories, and the characters in them, have a firm sense of a greater world, even if the story's actual set-up is two people in a locked room. And like such characters, a million people on this planet would argue that we were at war long before 9/11, just like the rest of the world was at war before Pearl Harbor.

Unfortunately, most Americans, apparently myself included, are not such well-written characters.

No comments: