This is a great article.

Lots of directions you could take this.

@Visakanv had a great Twitter thread about what makes America, 'Murica:


"One of these images is a heroic celebration of America

the other is a cringe-inducing, insulting parody of America"

(With a picture of a Bald eagle, fireballs, American flags and monster trucks)

His premise is similar to yours (that Americans don't take themselves seriously, at all) but because America has the most powerful economy, military and media, and because it has a high tolerance for humor and imagination (current environment & pandemic notwithstanding), it is the most entertaining spectacle on the planet. The entry price is learning American culture, which "is like a giant bottom up mythology-meme chaos factory."

Visa goes on:

"I suspect that America's willingness to be cringey-overblown ridiculous in its mythologizing and parodying of itself is a source of it's unfathomable cultural power and influence. it's schoolyard imagination allowed to percolate near-infinitely."

Or as Bruno Maçães put it:

"I increasingly think of China as realityland, America as fantasyland. So the new cold war will be a war between reality and fantasy. A world war in a very literal sense."


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I agree with your assessment, overall. I think that this is part of the broader problem of growing up with too much opulence and an ability to be economically fine even if one gets fired for bad behavior. Further, that the internet has provided a mechanism where a person can get positive feeddback from thousands of people with bad taste or a lapse on judgment. The good behavior feedback system is thus degraded, and the longterm consequences are serious but not being addressed. The US was born from an idea of freedom, and it has given rise to a culture of tolerance and acceptance. Unfortunately, that culture has existed now with too much tolerance and acceptance of bad behavior such that the good habits are not sufficiently enforced.

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I agree that each person could do well, if they had but a bit of seriousness in their mien. I, being that I find your publication quite interesting and thoughtful, have a proposition: I have a publication by the same name (an homage to Samuel Johnson, whom I greatly revere), and, if you will subscribe and refer your readers to it, I shall to the same for you.

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So very many words. So little meaning.

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Interesting to read what appears to be the genesis of what you created for Bari’s podcast, “Seriously.” The later (podcast ) is a masterful reworking of this. Love the cascading “Not this…but that..” rhetorical device. Powerful.

Your podcast proves the observation about JFK’s Ich bin [ein] Berliner speech. He spoke 150 words. Obama spoke several thousand words fifty years later. Can you recall a single word?

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After reading that abuse of the English language above, and your fanboy suck-up( Bari Weiss?? Sweet Bloody Jesus, that woman is so dumb rocks pity her) of a comment; There is one quote from Obama that springs immediately to mind: “Well… He’s a JACK-ASS.”

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Crawl back into your parents’ basement and don’t emerge until you’re no longer eligible for SNAP.

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SAUCY! I bet you say that to all the left-wing boys, you fork-tongued Moloch worshipper, you 🥰. I’d rather get be-headed than receive a compliment from you or any of your twisted pervert friends at the Curtis Yarvin Ass-Licking Society. Gotta run- Kisses, Mein liebe Kamerad!

P.S.- Do take care. So much random crime these days. 😉

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Great piece, Katherine. Case in point, throughout the recent East European revolutions, activists created a mockery of everything (mock funerals of leaders, mock elections, etc.)

I personally believe in the ideals of the U.S. and of seriousness in life, so I find it alarming that the American values that the world admire (and many strive to emulate) are mocked. Perhaps what's happening in Ukraine today would create a paradigm shift and bring people back to reality.

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Great piece. Interesting to reflect on this in conjunction with Audrey Tang’s strategy of navigating Taiwan’s challenges with the use of memes and humor.

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Lots to reflect on here. For some reason I kept thinking of the figures invading the US capital with burning man attire. It made it look somehow less sinister than any insurrection attemt I had imagined in my mind. Were they serious? Did I take it seriously enough? Was the comedy a facade to save face in a downside scenario, but, had they been more successful, in intimidating congress it would have been thrown aside?

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