Thursday, January 13, 2011

On America

I've only watched the first minute, but what a strange opening to a memorial address. I half expected someone in the crowd to shout out "Get in the hole!" or "Excellent golf shot, Tiger." When it comes to bizarre crowd reactions, this is up there with David Letterman's audience that night (though the insufferable Letterman ought to shoulder most of the blame for that). 

I have a few American readers so I'll have to choose my words carefully, but Americans are idiots.

Allow me to make another sweeping generalisation while I'm at it: America seems unable to accept tragedy as tragedy, and therefore seems unable to really grieve. Instead, tragedy is seen as a call to "stand up" and become an even more united America under God. Grief is displaced by the usual exceptionalism that calls Americans to become more American; tragedy is a chance to show the world that what doesn't kill us as a nation -- as an ideology -- can only make us stronger. What else can explain such rapturous applause and howling as a man stands up to speak of the loss of life?

I know quite a few American people, and there is not one of them that I wish I didn't know. I just spent a summer in the States, and was treated as well as I've been treated in my life - and I'm not just saying that because I had ice-cream almost every night (though that didn't hurt). But there is a collective mentality in the States that I think is deeply antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

At the beginning of Bible college we had to divide ourselves into groups based on regions of the world. These would be our prayer groups for "World Focus". Someone asked me why I didn't join the North American group. My response was, "America doesn't need prayer; it needs repentance."

I was half-joking when I said it, but like many jokes there was some truth contained within.


  1. Obama has the embarrassed body language of a preacher who receives a round of applause.

    I could only manage 30 seconds of that very peculiar video. It made me think of this:

  2. "He is strengthening my shoulders as I tear you limb from limb." Brilliant.

  3. truly strange isn't it, to our euro mentality. I guess they are all in a big hall together excited to see Obama with them at an important time and wanting to show him they were 'with him'. but right from the start you can see he was uncomfortable with it and not sure how to handle it

  4. all i think of when i hear a president talking is that....they are not his words..someone completely anonymous and overly educated is paid an enormous amount of money to pore over each word that is shared......makes it so empty and contrived and devoid of heart.......when the sentiments expressed are contrived and overly thought could we expect anything heartfelt or 'normal' from the responses.....

    at the risk of sounding overly local and inbred....contrast it to the video of Mickey Harte talking about losing his only daughter......he is not the President and the tragedy was much more personal.......still.....

    as i sit here listening to him talking about all the achievements of those who passed minimises the human beings down to words created on a prompt screen.....


  5. Your final comment was arrogant and showed your lack of good grace and manners. I will take it was the immaturity of a yong man. I hope you repented of it as America certainly needs repentance, but also needs you prayers for such.