From The Archives of Pain… 2007 All Up In This Bitch.

06Nov07

Ribbonz

The Sound of Jet Noise is the Sound of Freedom!

They Attacked Us On Sept. 11, 2001 Because…

We Are Americans!

– Dry Cleaners’ sign, Bangor, Maine.

Last weekend I went to Maine in what was only my second foray into the post-9/11 US of A and found myself confronted with a distinct lack of distinction between my homeland and the Homeland.

Memories of Bangor have always been gray and vaguely mall-shaped with just a hint of decent chain restaurant, but rarely specific. I bought cool sneakers there as a child and did not notice any major difference between the two countries until I became an angry young man, at which point I tossed my sneakers aside in favour of decidedly more bad-ass footwear. Local footwear.

Suddenly I couldn’t stand the States. Everyone was fat, boorish and self-absorbed. Racism seemed rampant. Money came in extremes, placed on a pedestal normally reserved for the officially sanctioned deity. I assumed stereotypes to be true without giving them a second thought and made a point of looking pissed off the minute I crossed the border, with nary a smile until home on N.B soil. Always on the lookout for a blatant example of American ignorance.

I was a miserable little shit.

Nothing has changed, really. I am older, slightly larger, yet just as miserable while Americans are still fat, ignorant and gleefully so. But you know what? So are most Canadians. If you don’t believe me, I would suggest removing the blinders for a second and taking a hard look at your surroundings and daily routines. We’re just as materialistic and shallow. We love to shop and we love to watch bad television. Our minds have gone to seed as our intellectually stunted waistlines continually expand on a diet of microwaveable anti-news. That shit is full of trans fat.

But we’re insatiable. We love money and objects and we use this money to buy objects to love. Money is love and love is big business, according to my last Valentine.

So why was I south of the border? To shop — I’m as guilty as the rest. I was there to take full advantage of that soaring, saucy loonie. And boy did I. That yankee greenback was begging for more. I put it in a fiscal half-nelson and turned it out.

I bought books. I bought a t-shirt.

I made my way through the concrete jungle of big box retail and slapdash clusterfuck traffic patterns.

I cursed bad drivers — most of whom were Canadian.

In fact, I found myself surrounded by Canadians at every turn. The mall, the motel parking lot, the gas station. They were everywhere. So much that it felt almost like home…

Until I drove past the “Sound of Jet Noise is the Sound of Freedom” sign. My first reaction was to feel as if to puke, but it might have been the BK Triple Stacker I had just scarfed. This is as far as we’ve come, six years and two wars later. Tri-patty diarrhea burgers and meatheaded billboards spewing the same reactionary rubbish as ever.

Words have no meaning anymore. A strong statement perhaps, but it does seem as though a lot of people do not particularly care for the dictionary as of late. It’s not just the Bush administration; If I have to hear one more vapidist go on about how “random” their day was, I just might redefine torture to suit my needs. “Freedom” is the biggest loser of the bunch, however, and it has taken a beating as of late. The United States, if the sentiment of a vast number of its population are any indication, is apparently the only free country in the world. I’ve been oppressed by my government my whole life and I didn’t even know it.

Or maybe I did. If it was all I knew, perhaps I’d believe everything I was told in its honour without ever once pondering an alternative.

Maybe I’d still think Iraq had something to do with the twin towers.

Like our neighbours, Canada is embroiled in its own terror-related war in Afghanistan (although no politician would dare characterize the ‘conflict’ as such) and our own troops are now being killed — a disproportionate number of whom are Martimers. This pains me as deeply as anyone, yet one still has a hard time casting dispersions on this seemingly winless mission for fear of being accused of hating the “troops.”

Are the troops the only thing about war the average citizen can relate to? It only stands to reason that the actual men and women on the ground should garner sympathy from the general population, but no one wants to bother with the underlying reasons for their deployment. Someone else’s problem, like politicians. In emotionally charged times such as these, logic and reason often get pushed aside in favour of easy answers offered by slogans and talking heads. No one wants the meaning, we just take the official talking points as gospel.

“Support Our Troops” ribbons are everywhere. I saw one on the back of a Hummer H3 just tonight. What exactly does this empty statement mean? I pay my taxes, do I not therefore support the troops? Or does one simply have to put a sticker on their car? I had no idea it was that simple and it’s not, really — there are just too damn many ribbons to choose from now. First it was the plain yellow, but the product line has since been expanded to myriad different colours and designs — my favorite of which features a cross-shaped hole in the top of the loop.

Bumper stickers are annoying and, hey, so is jet noise. Freedom just might be the sound of jet noise. So pour yourself a stiff drink, turn on CNN, slap a ribbon on the back of your car and hope the rest takes care of itself.

editor’s note: this was written four years ago… not much has changed… except this: I DON’T CARE ANYMORE! …about anything. Well, that’s not true… I’m sick of the goddamn Helena Guergis piece being the first thing people see when they stumble onto this cesspool unawares. So there you have it. I’m an asshole. I’m anti-American, anti-freedom, anti-family, anti-theist, anti-hippy, anti-conservative, anti-liberal, anti-whatever. I may not bother writing anything ever again because no one fucking reads it anyways. Waaaa wa! Cry me a river. No one understaaands me. 

Pathetic.

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