FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dimming Nation

by LINH DINH

When one of our senior statesmen, and former Presidential candidate, no less, calls a foreign leader a monkey, we should wince, but, no, our citizens merely jump online to declare that this is an insult to monkeys. Such is the state of American witticism and, uh, statesmanship. In the late 80’s, a Japanese minister had to apologize for branding the Chinese “cave dwellers,” but America needn’t say sorry. We’re way beyond that, and, besides, the insulted party was only the President of Iran. Long demonized by our corporate media, Iran is open to all insults and assaults.

Like Ray Lewis, a super power must strut, swagger and attribute its success to God’s blessings. As for murders? What murders? Like George W. Bush, Lewis knows God upside down, can read his mind, and has his unequivocal backing, “When God is for you, who can be against you?” And, “the way God works, he don’t use people who commits [murder] for his good. No way. It’s the total opposite.” Yo, Ray, Christ was a murder victim, not a murderer, but by your logic, worldly success indicates grace and righteousness, while failure means that God is not on your side. With this reasoning, banksters are imploding the world with God’s dynamites, and bombing victims and war refugees are justly punished. Reelected, drone happy Obama is the Second Coming, as trumpeted already by Newsweek. Filled with killers who thank God before, during and after butchering, we are a nation of sanctimonious psychos, but don’t forget to support the troops, y’all!

In any case, you don’t have to be Job, Solomon, St. Gerome or the Hunchback of Notre Dame to know the Christian stance on fortune and misfortune. Or take the Jewish born Simone Weil, “The perfect Christian life is that of a slave.” And, “Christianity is the religion of slaves par excellence, that slaves cannot not adhere to it.” In short, Christianity is a religion of the wretched, of losers and losing, of getting blown out on every playing field, including war. This hardly makes Christianity unique, by the way, but enough of my theological noodling and dumplings. Praying neither in church nor on artificial grass, I wouldn’t know Jesus if he grabbed me by the face mask.

O Beelzebub, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz? In the Super Bowl ad, William DeFoe’s devil flaunts a Masonic ring. Cute, and a cute fuck you to us all. The pitch itself is asinine, and familiar. Having the right car means you’ll get social status, ecstatic freedom and sex. Car after car commercial. Drinking the right beer, too, will make you humongously popular and swarmed by top heavy chicks. As Americans, we spend most of our waking hours in a virtual or actual isolation cell, whether Huyndai, Porsch or Ford, but on this bombastic day, we gather to celebrate speed, domination, land grabbing and pizzazz. The Super Bowl is America’s biggest commercial, concert and film festival, with a football game, by the way, during intermissions. But it was good this year, you protest! Yes, it was good, but to an uncomprehending world, one that couldn’t tell a linebacker from Operation Linebacker, this day was just a full fledged, no holds barred, asskicking demonstration of American prowess and sexiness, but as 232 countries and territories stared at us, rapt, bored or bugged eyed, our fuckin’ lights went out! Half of them, anyway. With no sound, the camera scanned the darkened ceiling of the super power’s Superdome.

Joe Flacco got flacks for being overheard blurting “Fuckin’ awesome!” on air, and upright citizens griped over Alicia Key’s jazzy rendition of the National Anthem. Led by our cynical and sinister media, we sure know how to scrutinize, carp and fine tune our moral, civic and aesthetic standards. Whenever Pentagon troops are shown, we cheer, as if consenting to their killing or being slaughtered for the same ruling elite that are destroying us here, back home. The military has been thoroughly woven into our lives. After winning the Super Bowl, the Ravens paraded in Humvees chauffeured by soldiers.

With its specific tint, tone and irreplacable meaning, each word has its place, and none is obscene if used properly, but any word can rape the ear and mind if spewed by hypocritical assholes. When the President of the United States of America intones “freedom,” “democracy,” “shining example,” “beacon” or “security,” for example, you best duck and dive into your bunker.

In the Superdome, poor, helpless citizens were abandoned by their uncaring and negligent government not long ago, but for this big bash, tickets went from $850 to $1,250, with fans coughing up much more on the black market. New Orleans is back, they keep saying, but poisoned by the BP oil spill after being slammed by Katrina, the entire region is still in distress. It hasn’t been wrecked by nature, as much as greed and bad government. With its French, Spanish, Creole and black-infused culture intact, New Orleans remains one of America’s most alluring cities, for sure, but there is no denying its widespread poverty and extremely high crime rates. With The Times Picayune published only three days a week, it is also the only one without a daily newspaper.

The homeless are all over this city. They sprawl in Marigny, Faubourg Lafayette and the Warehouse District. In the French Quarter, they pick leftover drinks and food from trash cans. Scavengers collect cans and bottles. Less than a mile from the Superdome, there was a homeless encampment of up to 200+ people, near the Amtrak Station, but it was cleared in November. You wouldn’t want fans arriving by train to see so much desperation and squalor, would you? Nearby, New Orleans Mission has 252 beds, but it costs $5 to get in for the night, though you’ll get dinner also.

The homeless are all over this country, and blackouts will become more common, just like in the Third World. Living in Vietnam in 1999-2001, I experienced a blackout nearly every day. Lights, fans and computer would suddenly wheeze out and stay off for a couple hours, sometimes longer, occasionally less, eliciting cheers, literally. Sweating, I’d lie down on the tiled floor, fan myself and mumble, “Am I in the Superdome during Katrina or what? Who’s winning? What’s the score? Where’s my Corexit appetizers?”

So you steer your Kia to the levee, but the levee is broken. The good old boys are downing your life saving and mine, singing, “This is the day America dies.” As the US wheezes out, your house, too, will abruptly turn unbearably hot or cold, if you’re still under a roof, that is, and not camping out under the Pontchartrain Expressway.

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union

More articles by:

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union.

Weekend Edition
February 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Richard D. Wolff
Capitalism as Obstacle to Equality and Democracy: the US Story
Paul Street
Where’s the Beef Stroganoff? Eight Sacrilegious Reflections on Russiagate
Jeffrey St. Clair
They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted
Andrew Levine
Their Meddlers and Ours
Charles Pierson
Nuclear Nonproliferation, American Style
Joseph Essertier
Why Japan’s Ultranationalists Hate the Olympic Truce
W. T. Whitney
US and Allies Look to Military Intervention in Venezuela
John Laforge
Maybe All Threats of Mass Destruction are “Mentally Deranged”
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: an American Reckoning
David Rosen
For Some Reason, Being White Still Matters
Robert Fantina
Nikki Haley: the U.S. Embarrassment at the United Nations
Joyce Nelson
Why Mueller’s Indictments Are Hugely Important
Joshua Frank
Pearl Jam, Will You Help Stop Sen. Tester From Destroying Montana’s Public Lands?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Attack on Historical Perspective
Conn Hallinan
Immigration and the Italian Elections
George Ochenski
The Great Danger of Anthropocentricity
Pete Dolack
China Can’t Save Capitalism from Environmental Destruction
Joseph Natoli
Broken Lives
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Did Russia Vote For Trump?
Geoff Dutton
One Regime to Rule Them All
Torkil Lauesen – Gabriel Kuhn
Radical Theory and Academia: a Thorny Relationship
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Work of Persuasion
Thomas Klikauer
Umberto Eco and Germany’s New Fascism
George Burchett
La Folie Des Grandeurs
Howard Lisnoff
Minister of War
Eileen Appelbaum
Why Trump’s Plan Won’t Solve the Problems of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure
Ramzy Baroud
More Than a Fight over Couscous: Why the Palestinian Narrative Must Be Embraced
Jill Richardson
Mass Shootings Shouldn’t Be the Only Time We Talk About Mental Illness
Jessicah Pierre
Racism is Killing African American Mothers
Steve Horn
Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests
David Griscom
When ‘Fake News’ is Good For Business
Barton Kunstler
Brainwashed Nation
Griffin Bird
I’m an Eagle Scout and I Don’t Want Pipelines in My Wilderness
Edward Curtin
The Coming Wars to End All Wars
Missy Comley Beattie
Message To New Activists
Jonah Raskin
Literary Hubbub in Sonoma: Novel about Mrs. Jack London Roils the Faithful
Binoy Kampmark
Frontiersman of the Internet: John Perry Barlow
Chelli Stanley
The Mirrors of Palestine
James McEnteer
How Brexit Won World War Two
Ralph Nader
Absorbing the Irresistible Consumer Reports Magazine
Cesar Chelala
A Word I Shouldn’t Use
Louis Proyect
Marx at the Movies
Osha Neumann
A White Guy Watches “The Black Panther”
Stephen Cooper
Rebel Talk with Nattali Rize: the Interview
David Yearsley
Market Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail