"Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We are the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no great war, no great depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised by television to believe that we’d be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars – but we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed-off."
- Tyler Durden, Fight Club
How do you describe America to foreigners who’ve never been there?
I think a lot about America, especially when I’m living overseas. I think about its values. I think about what makes it unique or special. I think about why my best experiences have always been abroad. I think about it mostly because I want to have a prepared answer when someone asks me to tell them about the true America — the one not portrayed by virtually every movie or sitcom. And every few months, my thinking crystallizes down to a single concept.
If I had to describe America to someone right now, it would be: it’s a place that was built and functions on lies.
The biggest contribution America has made to the world is its omnipotent ability to persuade anyone of anything.
- Endless Diets
There’s always a new diet that "guarantees" that you’ll get a summer physique or washboard abs. First there is the low-fat diet, then there’s the low-carb diet. Then there’s the low-gluten and slow-carb diet. There’s also the Atkins diet, and South Beach diet. Next year there will be more diets aiming to convince the general population that anyone can look like that model on the cover of the latest magazine.
- Market Bubbles
In 1999 we were told that there’s no bubble; that we’re in a "new" economy where previous economic rules don’t apply, all while the government was printing money left and right while keeping interest rates (cost of borrowing) super low. Once the lie was discovered, the bottom fell through, and regular people ended up holding the bag (i.e., worthless securities).
- Stock Market
We are told that buying small ownerships in other companies is a good value. We’re told that that stocks always go up, and rarely down. Tell that to retirees whose retirement accounts were almost completely wiped during the 2008 housing crisis.
Recently we were told that Facebook would be worth $100 Billion. That a site where people announce to the world that they’ve just taken a dump, or gossip with their friends would be worth more than established companies that actually manufacture products that we rely on everyday.
The women are told that they should reassert themselves and rise up against the "oppressive" males. That they’re equal to men in all aspects, and should be respected at workplace as well as in the home. That they should be independent, sleep around with countless partners, focus on their career, and settle down in their late 30s (if ever). That, should they choose to have kids, it will be absolutely fine to do so when they’re in their late 30s or early 40s; advances in modern medicine will be able to turn back their biological clock.
The men are told that women should be highly respected and put up on the pedestal. That men should be chivalrous around women at all times. All while telling women that it’s OK to sleep around with jerks while leaving behind the chivalrous, nice guys.
We’re told that the world is very, very dangerous. Mexico is a no-go zone because of drug cartels. Colombia is a place where kidnappings happen all the time. Brazil is the land of muggings by poor favela kids with guns. Black people are all bad. Muslims are all terrorists. Russians are all weapon smugglers.
We’re told that the world is under constant threat from new terrorist organizations. That we need a color coded system to notify us when the threat is higher or lower than normal. The airports install intrusive backscatter machines whose radiation effects are unknown, and whose use clearly violates the fourth amendment.
- American Dream
We are told that the American dream equates to lifetime of 9-5 work while slaving for that house with three car garage in suburbs you couldn’t afford in the first place. We are told that we should further sign ourselves away to financial slavery by getting that 30-year mortgage. We are also told that the Social Security that we’re constantly contributing to will be there when we retire all while the government is finding every excuse to raid it.
We are told that we should save money for a rainy day, and that a good place for that money is in the stock market via the company’s 401k retirement plan. We were never told that that yes, stocks go down, and, yes, your retirement can be wiped off instantly like it happened in 2008. No, no one will ever tell you that you may have nothing left to retire on.
Welcome to America.BTW, have you seen my new Facebook page? Click here to check it out, and click Like :)
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