While George W. Bush is literary casting horror and disbelief with his mere presence upon the European community, people in America – some, louder than others – are pouting angrily and asking: why do Europeans hate us so much? Bush’s monotonously simplistic speeches whose gist comes down to the cowboy-like pat on the shoulder and Texan-accented “why can’t we just be friends, you guys!” is not helping to reinvent his image in the eyes of Europe. The majority of Europeans refuse to heed to his amateurish babble and insist that this particular leader of the Free World, as American presidents like to refer to themselves, is nothing short of an ultra-conservative, gay-bashing, abortion-banning, revenge-hungry, pseudo-Christian right –wing buffoon.
Some things are difficult to refute and this, indeed, is one of them. No matter how much American government and media pave the way to the imminent disappointment that Bush’s visit to Europe is bound to evoke, no matter how much they over-dramatize the pessimistic forecasts in order to later say “see, it wasn’t so bad, was it?”, this past week is a clear witness to the fact that it is, alas, much, much worse.
As to the question of why Americans are not so greatly appreciated in the Old World, the answer has to do with the ever-increasing arrogance and self-centeredness with which the US has been treating the world and its concerns. When one European journalist asked the famously ineloquent Bush as to what the latter plans to do about global warming, George W. first resorted to the proverbial promises to be friends and “great buddies” forever, much to the surprise of the above journalist who had never seen him before, but later stressed that his main concern lies not with such trivialities but with much more far-reaching problems like economy and “nucular” (for that is how he chooses to pronounce the word) threat from terrorist countries. Other journalists chimed in to help out their comrade-in-arms who, at this point, grew somewhat pale and found himself disbelieving his own ears. They were trying to explain to the American president what global warming was and that it was not such a triviality as his Texan “oil-buddies” lead him to believe. “The world can come to an end, Mr. President, if America does not concede to European demands and cut down on the poisonous gases and chemicals that it emits into the atmosphere!” Looking at his image on television, I had a feeling that George W. understood only two words out of that explanation and those were “Mr. President” but it was not Marilyn Monroe wishing him a happy birthday.
Bush squinted all-knowingly, proudly pursed his lips after his mother’s fashion and replied that indeed as the president of the greatest country in the world he has to first secure the financial well-being of its citizens. Everyone in Europe was dumbfounded by the answer, while Americans, or middle-Americans (as local overzealous mediocrities like to call themselves) cheered to have such a thoughtful president.
Indeed, the majority of Americans would rather see the world rot and crumble than be left without an extra TV remote control to further debilitate themselves and to further plunge themselves into physical immobility. And this at the time when the latest studies show that obesity has reached hitherto unprecedented proportions. In fact, such proportions that several Midwest and Southern states are issuing orders to enlarge the seats in public transportation due to a very straightforward reason: the asses in these great United States are growing larger and larger and they are not fitting into the existing chairs! Is it any wonder that, let’s say, the willowy Danes are casting a condescending glance at Yankees?
Another recent, yet no less disturbing study, conducted by William and Shullman group, a Connecticut research firm, concluded that the thoughts of the average Americans (a combination of two words that is increasingly becoming redundant) are occupied with the Green Dollar exclusively and that the second place in their uncomplicated heads belongs to sex. But the thoughts of making an extra buck are so overwhelming and anxiety-ridden that they have to resort to Viagra in order to please their God #2. In other words, they think about their property value and their net worth while they are puffing away on top of their overweight but faithful other halves. (I apologize to the reader for the unsavory images this last statement might stir up). In fact, according to the same study, Americans equate free will and the amount of control that they have over their own lives with how well or badly they manage their money.
Shopenhauer would have flinched in disgust! So, should the Europeans be really surprised? Let’s face it, they are simply more evolved than we are here in America – no matter how snobbish that sounds. Europeans are worried about the world in general and cry out in protest against this country’s arrogance. Americans, as they like to say, do not give a rat’s behind what others think of them. Instead, they choose to manage their individual financial empires and chant in unison: “We have to be prepared for the downside!” Europeans like to go to cafes and pubs, located in beautiful squares in the company of friends or illicit lovers and spend their money on good wine and liquors. Americans like to go to warehouse-like stores located in ugly strip-malls and buy 287 cans of cheap beer and drink them in the company of their lawful spouses while they anxiously check on their stock portfolios. Europeans take five week long vacations and visit exotic places, again accompanied by their desired lovers. Americans pack their SUV’s with tasteless cloths, screaming kids, fat spouses and head to pay their respect to Mickey in Disney. Europeans choose their presidents according to the political programs that they have to offer. Americans pick theirs according to tax plans: they can’t wait till they get their lousy $300 tax check in mail after Bush signed his infamously unfair tax bill. Europeans shun revenge and punishment; Americans love to see the underdog suffer. European presidents have managed to learn their native tongue. The American President is failing miserably in this task. Where, I ask you, is the room for love and respect that Americans are crying for?
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