Tag Archive for ‘jerks’
Just a few days ago, I heard some attorneys lamenting that we in this country, don’t have a three day weekend every week, “like they do in France”. I smirked into my Kindle, not wanting to cause a tropical downpour on the poor devils’ parade. France doesn’t have three day weekends every week, and while the French don’t live to work, like most modern Americans, they certainly don’t enjoy the idyllic, work- and worry-free existence most American liberals think they do.
The myth is symptomatic of the disordered and downright schizophrenic American liberal view of (western) Europe. On the one hand, the denizens of Manhattan’s Upper East Side and LA’s Beverly Hills profess their undying love for European cuisine, brag about visiting Paris and Rome, and try to insert phrases such as “beaucoup” and “ciao” into every day conversation. On the other hand, they lack any understanding of European history beyond such Hollywood movie/pop fiction topics as World War II and perhaps, the French Revolution.
I bet most American college graduates wouldn’t be able to cogently explain who Joan of Arc was and what war she participated in. Besides their ignorance of western European history, they react with shrieking, pale-faced outrage at any suggestion that European culture is both superior and worth preserving. As if the architecture, cuisine, and language that they so admire will survive an onslaught of Arabs and Africans for which these same liberals are clamoring. The fools want to eat their baguette and have it too.
Last night I came back from a marvelous six-day sojourn in the tropical paradise of Aruba, where I pondered the future of paleoconservatism over many a glass of (Beefeater) gin and tonic. The first thing that stood out in that tiny island of Caribbean Europe (Aruba only became an autonomous part of Holland in 1986) was the absence of the anarcho-tyranny that is so prevalent in this country. The police was only barely and briefly visible, sales tax was non-existent, and miracle of miracles: you could actually smoke in bars and restaurants!
Most of the loud, obnoxious people in sight were… yes, you guessed it, American tourists! These jerks were, thank Heaven, not as all-pervasive as in other Caribbean resorts (Cancun and the Dominican Republic come to mind), probably because the bars only opened at 11 am. I still remember their bemused looks when I came to dinner wearing a collared shirt and pulled out a chair for my wife. Some of the Europeans were not much better. I remember the shocked gasp of my wife when a young Dutch woman lit up a cigarette with a toddler on her lap. And of course, there was the horror of the all-pervasive female tattoo. The less said about that obscene spectacle, the better.
Another thing, which never ceased to amaze me was the lycanthrope-like aversion of the Western tourists to natural water. Perhaps, the Western man, his soul destroyed by the anarcho-tyrannical state, cannot force himself to swim in a sea, where there’s no lifeguard on duty. Instead, they chose to soak themselves in the noxious chlorine of the swimming pools or fry themselves into carcinogenic oblivion. Being a native of Sovdepia (as the White emigres called it), I had no hesitation in enjoying in the cool, salty water of the Caribbean, again bemusing the Americans and the Dutch by swimming some 50 meters from shore.
But all good things must come to an end, and very good things – especially. After waking up to the chirp of tropical birds in Aruba, I was jolted awake in NYC by the loud yells of the (illegal) Mexican workers building a scaffolding across the street from my apartment. Talk about a rude awakening.
“La plupart de jeunes gens croient etre naturels, lorsqu’ils ne sont que mal polis et grossiers.” La Rochefoucauld’s caustic observation on the false simplicity of young people who mistake crudeness for nature tells us that the cult of the primitive antedates both Rousseau and the Romantic writers who wrought so much mischief.
In the new millennium, the Americans acting badly are spoiled children who have never learned what it would mean to grow up. 100 years ago, this type was already developing, and Booth Tarkington describes some of these characters in his fiction—the Penrod stories, Little Orvie, and, most effectively, the character of Georgie Minafer in the Magnificent Ambersons.
Vitaly Borker thought he had found a new way of making money on the internet. On his website DecorMyEyes.com, Borker marketed cheap knock-off sunglasses as the real thing and added insult to injury by providing the worst possible customer service. As he anticipated, the tidal wave of negative comments boosted his site to Google’s first page.
Self-made millionaires set the tone for this class, and any scholar or man of letters who has had to raise money among men of wealth and influence will see himself in Eliot’s Prufrock. These poor fools have to listen, hour after hour, to Dives’ tales of victories on the golf course and of his personal prowess in beating down less-able or less cut-throat rivals.
“Who is John Galt?” I don’t know, and I couldn’t care less, but lots of disgruntled young people waste time on the internet asking this question, as pointless as it is pretentious.
The Great American Jerk is a chameleon who changes colors according to circumstances, from obsequious to bullying, from pious to lewd. He may, on some occasions, display buck-waving generosity and on others check-splitting stinginess, but underneath there is always the baby boy or girl who wants what he or she wants, whether it is money, service, or just attention.
Every human society has had its share of offensive or annoying people: busybodies and bores, poseurs and bullies, cheapskates and check-grabbers, hypocrites and egomaniacs. You might even be able to define some societies by the offensive characters they tend to produce or by the qualities they find most offensive.
There must be some reason or reasons, why the Jerk has become the archetypal American character. Without going too deep into themysteries of social history, here is a little experiment that might stand in for several hundred pages of tedious social history. Herewith a little theoretical foundation for my continuing study of Jerkus americanus.