USA: The Land of the Paranoid Hypocrites

As many of you know, I’m planning on heading to the grand old US of A this June, partly to attend E3 for Total Video Games and meet some friends but mainly for no reason. No reason at all. It’s something to do and I shall be doing that something with a good pal of mine.

Anyway, despite being Mr. Generic: a white, straight, middle-class, moderately affluent, brown-haired, blue-eyed, non misshapen, English male twenty-something with aspirations of fun within the realms of legality whilst Stateside, my visa was sadly rejected. The racists.

In a vengeful and ill-conceived ramble, here is why I think their visa application is such a tough procedure.

I find it staggering how difficult a process it is to enter what is supposedly the land of opportunity, and at £200 a pop, it’s not a process I would like to repeat. As the world’s cultural hegemon, economic powerhouse and military heavyweight, few nations would be equipped, let alone desire to exert much influence upon the land of the brave.

The United States have never faced a ground invasion, and aside from a partially self-inflicted jab in Hawaii half a century ago and a 50 year war in which nothing actually happened with the USSR, haven’t even been threatened by another sovereign. When you compare this fundamental stability and safety from attack to the likes of Poland, Cyprus, China, India and sub-Saharan Africa over the past few centuries, then it would be safe to assume that Americans themselves should be an embracing, warm nation, free from the constant fear of exterior influence.

That of course, is not the case. For all the continuous fanfare of liberty, freedom and opportunity that is forever trumpeted into the world’s ears, the US is actually a place of fear, restriction and paranoia. This hypocrisy is even more potent when you consider the immigrant-based nature of the country’s synthesis, and doubly so when America’s foreign policy is examined. From the Bay of Pigs to Vietnam; from Israel to the Gulf, America's love for meddling in other nation’s affairs is immediately apparent. The seek to exert as much influence upon others as possible, whilst they are simultaneously petrified and disgusted by the notion that anyone else might attempt to perform the same act upon them. The McCarthy era is a perfect example of this attitude in action, which certainly still exists today, even if it is in a less opaque capacity.

But why on Earth are they so obsessed with the idea they are vulnerable? A quick glance at the factory of the American mentality, Hollywood, will highlight just how weirdly paranoid they are. French cinema doesn’t feature aliens invading home soil. African films don’t depict disaster movies on a genocidal scale. British cinema doesn’t distort history in order to make the subject appear the victim and not the aggressor. Yet American movies are always ramming this fear down the throats of the audience, to further enforce this idea that they should be scared, and to be genuinely frightened of anything other than pure Americana. Even writing this could presumably be somehow held against me at customs, who knows?

This is a country where TV networks and politicians brand the word ‘liberal’ about as if that’s an insult, or at least carries negative connotations. It’s a place where everyone knows they’re scared, but they’re not sure exactly what of – video games, black people, communists, swine flu, gore, porn, aliens, Obama, conspiracies, Muslims, the Euro, atheists, God, North Korea, Iran. 

The wild and frankly inappropriate celebrations of Bin Laden’s death witnessed across the States illustrate just how oddly placed those fears are. His death, like the Royal wedding over here, has absolutely no impact whatsoever on anyone’s lives, aside from a select few. Other than on a general interest and broad macro engagement level, these things do not and will not affect us. There’s no need to be scared.

Perhaps surprisingly, the things that should be the focus of the nation’s fear attention are issues such as climate change and civilian gun possession, which are largely overlooked. There’s another blog post in that, I think.

Grow up America. Everyone can see what a paranoid hypocrite you are. You’re the world’s primary bastion of first world values. Now get rid of your quirky psychoses, your guns, your capital punishment and your other archaic fear-driven policies, and join the rest of the Capitalist West and everything will be just great.

Until, of course, the Chinese invade before the world ends in accordance with the Mayan calendar, that is.


  1. You are probably going to get loads of thick Twatty Americans calling you a Stupid Brit now because of your comment that Bin Laden's death doesn't affect them. You have opened the gates.

  2. Yeah I know. Imma have to learnt to keep my mouth shut while I'm over there, especially on things like religion and abortion.