ATL135:003 Digital Dennis Exegesis

What's Right with America

You know, normally on my HBO show I come out here week after week and p*** on everything like a drunk yard cat. You know that. That's my job. I've always felt I'm paid to find things that are wrong and then do my best to throw the switch on the perimeter floods and light it up. Tonight we're suppose to talk about what's right with America. Now I know you've got to burrow pretty deep to unearth any underlying confidence in a nation that's sapped of its vigor, strafed by violence, and pummeled senseless by the debasement of every institution from the Armed Services to Baseball. That being said, Are we gonna have some fun tonight?! Yeah, all right. That was rhetorical. Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but you know, there's a lot right right with America! Nowadays, you just have to look a little harder for it. Sure, we're sick of paying for illegal immigrant kids to go to school and we're going to stop. But only a country that did it for a while can stop doing it. See? People don't ever consider that.

And okay, we nearly exterminated the Native Americans. Nobody tries to hide that anymore. But we did change our textbooks so the facts came out. I mean, who else does that? Only America. And as if admitting the truth wasn't enough, we don't even tax their casinos. And us - with a 4-trillion-debt! I'm saying not taxing billions in Indian bingo loot is magnanimous and should be in the "What's Right with America" column!

How's about this - in America we let people in prison read, study law, even work out so they can get themselves out of jail in much better mental and physical shape to resume their lives of crime. A lot of countries treat their criminals like animals, like sub-humans, as if they'd done something wrong! Not America. Not this great country.

I'm not a complete ethno-centrist. I went over to France earlier this year for a couple of months, to see if I might live there. And while I enjoyed my time in Paris, I should tell you that the French hate our guts. I cannot believe they actually gave us the Statue of Liberty. They must've been throwing it out anyway. Because these people detest us. They look at us and we are one, big, collective Jethro bearing down on them, rope belt and all. And you know something? In all fairness, we might be hicks, but at least we're hicks who tend to our armpits more frequently than once every time Comet Kohoutek is in the solar system. These people avoid showers like a blonde at the Bates Motel. They had to invent perfume. It wasn't an augmentation, it was a defense mechanism. Trust me, when Louis the XIV guillotined you, he was doing you a big favor separating your olfactory senses from your brainstem. "Yeah, Claude, paint the water lilies a little later. Right now I need you to pick up that loofa and storm the pit Bastille, all right?" Thank you, Pepe LePeux. I had a cabdriver over there, smelled like a man eating Gorganzola cheese while getting a permanent inside the septic tank of a slaughterhouse. I said, "Hey, pal. There's an extra five in it for ya if you run over a f***ing skunk." So, there'd another reason why this country's great. We smell better than most.

Another reason we're great is because we create things here,things of unique beauty, things that unconsciously interweave the American attributes of ingenuity, optimism, gluttony, and narrow-mindedness. Things like: "All You Can Eat" Restaurants ... The Clapper ... Street-legal, semiautomatic grenade weapons that even the Tontons Macoute didn't have ... The Temporary Insanity Plea ... Cutting-edge CD-ROM technology used for porno ... deep-fried cheese ... bans on toy guns ... rain ponchos for dogs ... Orange Julius ... Orange County ... beer can hats ... plea bargaining ... being able to plug your parents with bullets and getting acquitted ... indeed we're even free over here to subscribe to 500 channels of cable only to find out that that piece of s***, William Katt's superhero show, is on 498 of them ... You know ... As a matter of fact, you want to know what's right with America more than anything? Our right to speak out about everything that's wrong with it. And we're all free to vent at will-at least for the next couple of days till Gingrich takes over and straps the rat cage on our collective face.

You know ... this really is a great country. Remind yourself of it once in a while. Take the family on Route 66, shop at the Galleria, buy a gun, have your breasts enlarged, have your penis lengthened, sue your neighbor, eat three Big Macs, drive 120 and pay the ticket, visit the White House - or better yet, jump the fence and go meet the Prez in person. He likes that. He really really likes that. It's America, g**damn it!!

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.


Miller, Dennis. The Rants. NY: Doubleday. 1996.


Supplemental Explanations

Rhetorical: employed for rhetorical effect; especially : asked merely for effect with no answer expected (WWWebster Dictionary) (back)
Magnanamous: showing or suggesting nobility of feeling and generosity of mind (WWWebster Dictionary) (back)
Hick: an unsophisticated provincial person (WWWebster Dictionary) (back)
Septic Tank: a tank in which the solid matter of continuously flowing sewage is disintegrated by bacteria (WWWebster Dictionary) (back)
Augment: to make greater, more numerous, larger, or more intense (WWWebster Dictionary) (back)
"... straps the rat cage...."  A reference to the torture of Winston Smith in George Orwell's classic dystopian novel 1984. (See here.) (back)


Writers from Dowell's ATL135:003, Fall '98 class:

 
  • Leah Sturm 
  • Atari Muhammad 
  • Sarah Hamilton 
  • Jon Gipperich 
  • Matt Pierce 
  • Karlye Gross 
  • Kim Corcoran 
  • Joni Strachan 
  • Meaghan Trojanowski 
  • Jeanne Trepanier 
  • Gabrielle Wilson 
  •  
  • Andy Ply 
  • Karen Pieper 
  • Carol-Anne Blower 
  • Hannah Rutherford 
  • Tamara Allen 
  • Dawn Sarnecky 
  • Nick Murchison 
  • Lynsey Hochstetler 
  • Nick Laughlin 
  • Brian Sinischo 
  •  
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