Can you say why America is the greatest country in the world?It’s not the greatest country in the world. That’s my answer… [turns to a panelist] Sharon, the NEA is a loser. Yeah, it accounts for a penny out of our paycheck, but he gets to hit you with it anytime he wants. It doesn’t cost money, it costs votes. It costs airtime and column inches. You know why people don’t like liberals? Because they lose. If liberals are so fucking smart, how come they lose so goddamn always? [turns to another panelist] And with a straight face, you’re gonna tell students that America is so star-spangled awesome that we’re the only ones in the world who have freedom? Canada has freedom. Japan has freedom. The UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia, Belgium has freedom! So, 207 sovereign states in the world, like 180 of them have freedom. [turns to the student who asked the question] And yeah, you… sorority girl. Just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day, there’s some things you should know. One of them is: there’s absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world. We’re 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, number 4 in labor force and number 4 in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real and defense spending, where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies. Now, none of this is the fault of a 20-year-old college student, but you, nonetheless, are, without a doubt, a member of the worst period generation period ever period, so when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about! Yosemite?![Silence]It sure used to be… We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reason. We passed laws, struck down laws, for moral reason. We waged wars on poverty, not on poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were and we never beat our chest. We built great, big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases and we cultivated the world’s greatest artists AND the world’s greatest economy. We reached for the stars, acted like men. We aspired to intelligence, we didn’t belittle it. It didn’t make us feel inferior. We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election and we didn’t scare so easy. We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed… by great men, men who were revered. First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.
Aaron Sorkin
If, by the virtue of charity or the funded Ennet House, you will acquire many exotic new facts. You will find out that once MA’s Department of Social Services has taken a mother’s children away for any period of time, they can always take them away again, D.S.S ., like at will, empowered by nothing more than a certain signature-stamped form. I.e. once deemed Unfit— no matter why or when, or what’s transpired in the meantime— there’s nothing a mother can do.(...)That a little-mentioned paradox of Substance addiction is: that once you are sufficiently enslaved by a Substance to need to quit the Substance in order to save your life, the enslaving Substance has become so deeply important to you that you will all but lose your mind when it is taken away from you. Or that sometime after your Substance of choice has just been taken away from you in order to save your life, as you hunker down for required A.M. and P.M. prayers , you will find yourself beginning to pray to be allowed literally to lose your mind, to be able to wrap your mind in an old newspaper or something and leave it in an alley to shift for itself, without you.(...)That certain persons simply will not like you no matter what you do. Then that most nonaddicted adult civilians have already absorbed and accepted this fact, often rather early on.(...)That evil people never believe they are evil, but rather that everyone else is evil. That it is possible to learn valuable things from a stupid person. That it takes effort to pay attention to any one stimulus for more than a few seconds.(...)That it is statistically easier for low-IQ people to kick an addiction than it is for high-IQ people.(...)That you will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.(...)That most Substance -addicted people are also addicted to thinking, meaning they have a compulsive and unhealthy relationship with their own thinking. That the cute Boston AA term for addictive -type thinking is: Analysis-Paralysis. That 99% of compulsive thinkers’ thinking is about themselves; that 99% of this self-directed thinking consists of imagining and then gettingready for things that are going to happen to them; and then, weirdly, that if they stop to think about it, that 100% of the things they spend 99% of their time and energy imagining and trying to prepare for all the contingencies and consequences of are never good.(...)That other people can often see things about you that you yourself cannot see, even if those people are stupid.(...)That certain sincerely devout and spiritually advanced people believe that the God of their understanding helps them find parking places and gives them advice on Mass. Lottery numbers.
David Foster Wallace