The Angry Future Expat

Navel Gazing – Happy Birthday U.S.A. Edition

Posted in debt by angryfutureexpat on July 4, 2010

The Angry Future Expat in America - Artist's Conception

As I sit here downing my whatever number Miller High Life and munching on some celebratory beef jerky and pretzels, I can’t help but ponder some of the things I’ll miss about the good ‘ole U.S. of A. on this, her 234th birthday.  Of course, the Grim Truth, is that I really won’t miss many of the most significant things about my homeland.  Here’s a few:

  • Jamie Dimon
  • Wells Fargo
  • Capital One/Richard Fairbank
  • The Pete Peterson Foundation/Pete Peterson
  • Debt
  • Stephen Schwarzman
  • Fat (like, Orca fat) People
  • Annoying Foursquare Facebook updates (Are you really that proud of your consumption habits?)
  • Obama
  • Larry Summers
  • Timmeh Geithner
  • The American News Media

But I’ll admit that there are things about the U.S. that are pretty fucking cool. Here are a few:

  • The First Amendment (Ironic, since our news media sucks)
  • Native English Speakers
  • Taco Bell (are they global yet?)
  • Miller High Life
  • Ummmm, other stuff too…probably

The simple fact is that the U.S. has gone off the rails.  But what’s different this time – and, of course, the U.S. has gone off the rails before – is the almost absolute inability of individuals to remake themselves.  We have a massive overlevering of American households, but no right to fail.  Collection company databases used to forget, but they don’t anymore.  As much as I love the Internet, a single ill-advised comment under your real name can doom you forever. Credit reports are necessary to get a job, and if you declare bankruptcy, everyone knows by typing the few letters that correspond with your name into Google.

In the U.S. the frontier is dead.  150 years ago, if you were a failure in Boston, you could move to St. Louis and try again.  And if you failed in St. Louis, move to San Francisco and try again.  And your debts?  Fuck ‘em, leave ‘em behind.

It may be nothing more than the inevitable result of the march of technology that the frontier dies, and the right to fail with it.  But I don’t quite believe that.  It’s just that the frontiers of opportunity aren’t in America anymore.

Happy Birthday.

14 Responses

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  1. Demosthenes said, on July 4, 2010 at 9:10 am

    The cultural myth of America has always been that it is a new, better world—full of opportunity where you can earn your way to a better place and a better person than you were before. I don’t really believe that to be the direction that we’re heading in as all of the data shows…but HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA! LET’S GO FUCK UP SOME MORE THINGS FOR NO GOOD REASON!

    • angryfutureexpat said, on July 5, 2010 at 10:11 pm

      America, Fuck Yeah!!!!

      I usually don’t do this, but your Brandeis post was one of the best I’ve seen in a while – definitely worth a read: outsideliesmagic.blogspot.com

  2. W.C. Varones said, on July 4, 2010 at 10:03 am

    For me, the Fourth of July is more about the spirit of liberty than about the geographic area. Freedom is where you find it, and the founders would be appalled at the current state of the USA.

    • angryfutureexpat said, on July 5, 2010 at 10:08 pm

      Agreed on multiple levels. The Declaration of Independence is geographically nonspecific. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are universal goals.

  3. Bukko Canukko said, on July 4, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I don’t know about the WHOLE world, but I can attest that in Australia and Canada, Taco Hell is alive and well. They’re usually found in same-store combos with KFCs, which are insanely popular with Asians. I don’t know what it is with Chinese and fried chicken, but it’s time to drop the prejudiced association with black people and start a new chicken stereotype. But I’d wager that anywhere the American plasticommercial corpofood empire has extended its tentacles — and that’s one of the things the world likes best about U.S., our junk food — you’ll find KFC/TB.

    Sadly, it’s hard to find Mexican food like we’re accustomed to overseas. (The nationwide lack of Monterey Jack and nacho-quality Velveeta was a persistent whinge amongst the Americans in Australia community, f’rinstance.) That’s because the restaurants tend to be run by REAL Mexican expats, not Texy-Mexy types. And they make the sort of food that you’d find in the real Mexico, not the border stuff that Americans are fond of. I’m not saying you’ll be served Mexican corn smut, but molé sauces, adobo, fish stews, etc. Where’s mah burritos, chingado?

    • angryfutureexpat said, on July 5, 2010 at 10:06 pm

      Heh, I’m not that addicted to Taco Bell. My favorite drunk food of all time were doner kabobs on the streets on Ankara. Delicious. Puts TB to shame.

  4. AL said, on July 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Show me how to do this………….

    “if you declare bankruptcy, everyone knows by typing the few letters that correspond with your name into Google.”

    WHAT LETTERS????? BKRT Bill Smith or BRT Bill Smith………..

    • angryfutureexpat said, on July 5, 2010 at 10:03 pm

      Perhaps I was looking slightly forward. You can do it in PACER, but google is only slightly behind (and you may be able to do the searches through google, but I’m not 100% sure).

  5. JD Underdog said, on July 4, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Would be nice to declare our independence from student loans!

  6. Quent said, on July 5, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Don’t lose hope. Things are so bad that we are going to have to burn the whole damned thing down and start over, so everybody will get a second chance. Yeeehaaaaa!

  7. Bukko Canukko said, on July 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Don’t lose hope. Things are so bad that we are going to have to burn the whole damned thing down

    FIREJUBILEE!!!!!

    • angryfutureexpat said, on July 5, 2010 at 10:00 pm

      The world is going to burn if we don’t do a jubilee. Jubilee is the only way to save it.

      But since the banks probably won’t allow that to happen: Burn Baby Burn!!!


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