I do not know what it is “UnAmerican” or “Anti-American”.

Woven into the fabric of America: the KKK. You cannot tell the story of the history of America without referencing the KKK… at least not an honest history.

I’ve heard it said that the blues are the one truly American musical form. Except for Country, which originated with cowboys singing to their cows or something like that… what the heck was that “Big Rock County Mountain” anyways? And Jazz. The Blues sort of roll into Rock and Roll. Rock and Roll is a euphemism for Sex. All the earliest rock songs were about sex. All the bubblegum rock songs were about sex. Rock and roll didn’t diversify their subject matter until songs were written about drugs.

It made perfect sense to be a Communist in the 1930s. Capitalism had failed America for the moment. Back when John Kerry appropriated a Langston Hughes poem as a campaign slogan, free republic denziens made a stir that “He’s quoting a Communist!” Langston Hughes could defend himself on that matter, and he did so well enough before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee… well enough that the Asshole McCarthy Brigade didn’t bother to bring him to public questioning.

That brings us to the last the blurb on this sorry-looking book.

Supposedly, the serial killer is quintessentially American, and quintessentially late 20th century artifact. Tell that to Jack the Ripper. (A German I knew mumbled about “crazy Americans” after hearing a song about a famous serial killer, leading me to suspect that there is no unseemly side to German history.) Perhaps America has taken the Religious Cult to another level with the Charles Mansion Family… I do not know. (Aren’t they CIA agents though?)

A common name for any non-fiction expose book-title is “[Fill-in-the-Blank] Nation”, suggesting a large number of inflictions and addictions that Americans have thrown at themselves. A debt-ridden society addicted to junk food. We’re also the nation of the damned and a nation of the self-righteouse. Somewhere in the Fourth Great Awakening.

There’s nothing more American than living beyond your means off credit cards as a way to keep up appearances to yourself and people you mean to impress with your grandeur, and because you believe a combination of the idea that God will provide for you at all times and the apocalypse is nigh at hand. When reality intrudes, your car is repossessed, you move further away into the wilderness… which was the attitude taken during the first few centuries of white man’s exploits on the North American continent… into a town that was transformed by hippy farmers back in the 1960s…

Never mind.

The Russians find Mark Twain a little light. The Americans find Dostoevsky a little dark. Or so the foreward to the edition of The Twelve Chairs tells me. This was my brother’s favourite Russian writer. It’s a lovely enough book… I never read Crime and Punishment… seems too dense to me. The Clemens / Dostoevsky dichotemy strikes me as a bit forced, though.

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