Tag Archives: Society

Why the World Cares About America

You read the title and I already know what you’re thinking. “Oh please! The world doesn’t care about America! How self-important! You’re so Americanly vain for even thinking that!” But hear me out for a second.

How many times have you heard people complain about the following:

“Why doesn’t America use the metric system like everyone else?”

“Why don’t Americans like football (soccer) like everyone else?”

“Why don’t more Americans listen to EDM like everyone else?”

“Why don’t American men wear capris like everyone else?”

American Fans

 

Yes, the world does care about America.

You especially hear this from Europeans. For a group of people that seemingly don’t like America, they sure spend a hell of a lot of time talking about everything American. They talk about how we don’t play the right sports, don’t eat the right foods, don’t listen to the right music, don’t wear the right clothes, don’t use the right rulers, or drink the right beer.

You’re probably nodding your head in understanding. As an American, or anyone, you’ve no doubt heard these common complaints about the US.

For you nay-sayers out there thinking “That doesn’t mean the rest of the world cares about America. We just think what they do is stupid.”…. Really? Really?

Remember that one kid in grade school you never talked to and didn’t care about? Remember you cared so little about what he did that you questioned and griped about his hobbies and interests? No? Me neither.

The truth is that people don’t talk about things they don’t care about. We don’t complain about things we don’t care about. We don’t try to convince someone that they enjoy the wrong sport, if we aren’t at least remotely concerned about their opinion.

The world does care. In fact, everyone else seems to care a lot about what Americans do and don’t do, what Americans like and don’t like.

American Football

But Americans on the other hand, don’t care what the world does.

Now think about how often you hear Americans complain that the rest of the world does like soccer? Close to never? Maybe I’m alone here, but in my 27 years of life as an American, with all my American friends, American TV shows, American news channels, and American movies, I’ve never once heard an American question or complain about why the world loves soccer. Why should we? We love football, they love soccer. Who cares if Germany or Brazil loves soccer? Good for them I guess. They found something they like, and we found something we like. All is well in the universe.

For the most part, Americans legitimately don’t give a crap what the rest of the world does or doesn’t do, likes or doesn’t like. We don’t care what you eat, where you live, what your rules are, that you don’t like guns, that your gas is so expensive, or that your cars are so small. We really don’t care.

It used to perplex me why everyone else cares so much, but I think I figured it out.

Barn with US flag

The world cares the America doesn’t care.

There seems to be a huge emphasis on the notion that Americans ought to be more like everyone else. Since we’re not like everyone else, were often viewed as being isolationists.

And that is the next big epiphany I had. The rest of the world cares that we don’t care. The world cares that Americans don’t mind not being like everyone else. The world cares that Americans march to the beat of their own drum. The rest of the world gets upset when we don’t show up to their party, because we’re having so much damn fun at our own party.

Americans don’t mind being different. Americans don’t mind foregoing otherwise unanimously celebrated events. Americans espouse “American Exceptionalism”. The world calls the United States isolationists because of this, despite our huge global presence. We don’t care, and we’re fine with that, and it bugs the shit out of everyone else. We make music that goes platinum, movies that are block busters, awesome TV shows, businesses that churn profit, Olympians that bring home the gold, and astronauts that land on the moon.

In conclusion….

This leads me to my final realization. The rest of the world wishes they were as culturally independent as we are. They hate that they drive American cars, watch American movies, listen to American music on American technology, eat at American food establishments, and speak the American language. They hate that our presence is so prevalent in their country, when their presence is so muted in ours.

When people around the world gripe about America’s preferences and culture, their complaints are not really that they that wish we were more like them. It’s that they wish they were more like us.

America Fuck Yeah!

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The Purge: Anarchy: Movie review

After 90 minutes at the drive in, I made it through Lucy. After a quick  run to the restroom, I was back in my car and ready for the second feature of the night, The Purge: Anarchy.

Being that The Purge: Anarchy is a sequel, I didn’t set my hopes too high, but I was still plenty excited about it since I enjoyed the first one, and was curious to see how they were to going to take the premise of the 2013 film and build on it.

From the commotion on the grapevine – or lack thereof – The Purge (2013) didn’t do so well financially or with the critics. I didn’t hear any smack talking, but I also didn’t hear of anyone talking it up or rushing out to see it. I enjoyed the first film nonetheless, and took it for the movie it was.

Purgers and Hunters, from "The Purge: Anarchy" (2014)
Purgers and Hunters, from “The Purge: Anarchy” (2014)

For those who haven’t see either, The Purge and The Purge: Anarchy take place in the not so distant future, in the years 2022 and 2023, respectively. The U.S. is governed by “The New Founding Fathers” and every year starting on March 21, all crime is completely legal* (including theft, rape, and murder) for 12 hours (7PM March 21st – 7AM March 22nd). There are a few exceptions however, such as not being allowed to use anything over a “Class 4” weapon, which isn’t defined. The big exception is that it is still illegal to target certain government officials. Bullshit, right? This period of lawlessness is called the purge.

In this world, crime, unemployment, and other societal ills have dropped to astonishingly low levels, by U.S. standards. In The Purge (2013), it’s generally accepted that the purge is creditable for these changes. The argument in the first installation is: Do the ends justify the means? Is it worth it? Is letting people take out their aggression on others without reprimand acceptable?

Purging sacrifice
Purging sacrifice, “The Purge: Anarchy” (2014)

In The Purge: Anarchy, the moral quagmire is that the purge isn’t just the government’s way of letting people blow off steam, but that it is in fact designed to reduce the population of people society deems undesirable. Those who are weak and defenseless, the poor, the sick, the elderly, and anyone else unable to defend themselves during the 12 hour onslaught make easy pickings for the hordes of “purgers”. The rich, with their fortress style mansions (explained in the 2013 film), and private security, are practically untouchable. Naturally, government officials (class 10 or higher) have exempted themselves from the annual purge.

The Anarchy touches up on issues of class warfare, racism, greed, genocide, and a plethora of other issues and cleverly dresses them up as an action/suspense movie.

Audiences probably noticed there was no Ethan Hawk in this movie. It was a sequel, but the film centers around an entirely new lineup of cast and characters. It takes places a year after the first events. Whereas the first movie took place in white bread Suburbia, Anarchy takes place in a completely difference setting: Urban America.

I knew nothing of the cast before I watched the film. Once the movie picked up the pace, I immediately recognized Frank Grillo (Captain America: Winter Soldier, Prison Break). Grillo does an amazing job playing a grieving father whose son was killed, who is looking to enact his revenge on the night of the purge. He carries most of the major action scenes and shoot outs, and keeps the story grounded.

Frank Grillo in "The Purge: Anarchy" (2014)
Frank Grillo in “The Purge: Anarchy” (2014)

There is a couple on the edge of divorce that gets stranded in the middle of the city shortly before the beginning of the purge. Call me paranoid, but if I lived in this world, I probably wouldn’t leave my house on March 21, and if I did it’s because I was hundreds of miles in the middle of nowhere in a bunker, and armed to the teeth – or in Canada.

We also have a mother and daughter. The mother is harmless, and hardworking to support her family. Her daughter, despite having good intentions and probably being the most morally incorruptible of the cast, had me shouting “Shut the fuck up!” every couple minutes throughout the entire movie. Luckily you can scream out loud when you’re in your own car.

All said and done, it was definitely an entertaining, nail biting, thought provoking, and worthwhile film. Anarchy was to The Purge, as Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones was to the prior Paranormal films in the franchise. Each of the latest incarnations taking on more of an urban, gritty tone.

Was it enjoyable? Absolutely. Not only was it as good as the first movie, but it was better and very different. Will The Purge franchise turn into the next Saw or Paranormal Activity, where audiences can expect a new sequel every year? Will the studio use the backdrop of the annual purge to address other societal concern and controversial issues? For enjoyability, I give this movie a solid A.

Did it deliver what it advertised? The trailers were a little misleading, and omitted a lot of the finer points of the movie. Did it deliver as advertised? Yes, it did, and much more. Again, Anarchy gets an A.

Would I see it again? I might buy the DVD, but not the Bluray. Given the chance I would definitely watch this movie again, and would gladly welcome a third installment.