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September 11, 2010



Well yes, but it could just be seen as a reversion to the norm. Mencken wouldn't have been surprised.


Hey, check out the rally pics. Silly as the EDL guy with the L on the wrong way is, you'll note that he looks positively sane, reasonable, and in general good health compared to the other demonstrators.

The Shanghai National Museum of American Decline will want the complete TPM archive.


Mencken would have loved it but I think the difference between then and now is the fact that his targets were by and large pretty major or at least significant demagogues: Bryan, Dr Townsend, Gerald Smith etc, whereas this is a guy in a shack.

I'd give a lot to have seen the diplomatict traffic about this over the past week, especially from Washington to Asia.


He must have done. Certainly there were plenty of nutjobs like this guy. The odd period in American history is between WWII and the 80s. What we're seeing now is pretty typical. Even the financial crisis and the affects is pretty familiar if you know your American history. The Republicans really are conservatives, its just what they wish to conserve is insanity, backwardness and stupidity.

The obesity is pretty new though.


Malcolm Muggeridge - cringe - did a book on the 20's called The Aspirin Age in which he described a Mid Western town which was suddenly swept by a rumour that the Pope was coming into town on the 3.20 train. A lynch mob descended on the station, but the only guy on the train was a vacuum cleaner salesman who was eventually able to persuade the mob that he wasn't the Pope.

Perhaps its got to do with the fact that America - being a continent-sized country, is inherently unstable due to its incredible size. It uses this fear-mongering and lunacy to keep itself in one piece. Other continent-sized countries like Russia or china tend to be autocracies.

chris y

johnf, you may have something there. India, the other continent sized non-autocracy, seems to have similar outbursts of religion based public lunacy.


Isn't this also a case of Ajay's argument that mayhem is easy, it's order that's difficult?

Frankly, I can imagine that Pope story happening tomorrow. All it would take would be some comments on the right blogs. Pamela Geller would freak right out. "Pope of Islam coming to your suburb TONITE???"


Something that crossed my mind yesterday was that, if the country is Britain, "the first/biggest/smallest/best X in the country" is always accessible without too much trouble: if I suddenly decided I absolutely had to see King's College Chapel or Ben Nevis or St David's Cathedral, I could be there and back in a day. You could spend your life on the {East|West} Coast of the USA without ever seeing the various superlatives on the {West|East} Coast - and you could spend your life in the Mid-West without ever seeing either. That must do something to your mind.


Maybe, but I'm reminded of something a friend said to me after he worked at the Expo a couple of years ago in Zaragoza. The locals came in their thousands - and they all piled straight into the pavilion exhibiting Aragon.


I was talking to one of my mother in law's in-house carers, and she'd come from somewhere small in the south. Until she'd gone to college she'd never gone much more than 50 miles from where she had been born (very similar), and the college she went to was mostly comprised of people from similar backgrounds. I'd guess (from similar conversations over the years) that she's very typical of much of the South and Mid-West. Even in remote parts of Scotland its hard to be that provincial here.

Two other things to remember. There's way more variation in the quality of education in the US than there is here. There are school's in my wife's state that are (no exaggeration) at a third world level. There are other schools in (wealthy white areas) that are very good indeed. So if you grew up poor, the likelihood is that you're going to have had a fairly limited education.

Secondly, the centre of people's social lives tends to be the church. They provide sports facilities, day-care, kid's soccer/baseball leagues, social events, its where people often meet their spouses to be. So it gives pastor's a social power/prestige and importance far bigger than anything you see in the UK (or Ireland for that matter, where priests used to matter a lot more).


In some poor areas in the States now, children are having to take it not only their own pens, writing paper, food etc, but even their own toilet paper.


They used to Burn Catholic Churches, now they Burn Mosques


Schama: Islamophobia Recalls anti-Catholic, Anti-Jewish Nativism of America’s Past



Skateboarder Foils Would-Be Koran Burner In Texas



I note that it turned out in a recent CT thread that something like a third of all US headteachers are PE teachers. Suddenly everything became clear.


The real Nazis run your schools
They're coaches, businessmen and cops
In a real Fourth Reich you'd be the first to go

My God, I didn't even have to look that up...

Richard J

Dead Kennedys or Napalm Death version?


I'm sure there are plenty of thoughtful and imaginative PE teachers, somewhere.


I had one who was named Vaughan Williams, after Vaughan Williams. He was good. Also taught maths, mind.

Richard J

One of mine was, no joke, a Richard Head.


Have a good sense of humour, did he?


"The obesity is pretty new though."

There's a case for saying all the Republican/moron class took away from the Golden Age between 1950 and 1980 was, indeed, obesity.

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