Every week, I pick five things that make me proud to be an American. Sometimes it's hard.
One of the best parts about being a borderline crazy person - I mean sports fan is dragging others down with you. Especially kids. A chance to pass your disease - I mean fandom down to the next generation is a great reason to have children. Also it's the most responsible. That impressionable little ball of clay you sired might not ever learn to tie his shoes but he'll be there for you when no one else wants to hear you ruminate on the shortcomings of the Tampa 2 or WHY DO YOU RUN A 4 YARD PATTERN WHEN IT'S THIRD AND FIVE, JESUS?.
Eventually that kid is going to grow up and resent not only you but anything you ever forced on them: Presbyterianism? Nope. The GOP? Hah. Your Alabama season tickets? Hell no.
The answer is to just bypass the kids entirely and go to the only person in your house who really can't say "no": your dog.
In 2005 the Canadian Government published a survival manual that sets the limits on cold water exposure. Survival In Cold Waters: Staying Alive outlines dangerous cold water conditions that boaters and other seafarers face on a daily basis – conditions that can lead to hypothermia or even death. Books like this save lives.
So of course the CIA used it as reference when writing their own water torture manual. Survival In Cold Waters spells out the limits of cold water exposure, limits that were instead used by the CIA as reference for how far agents could push the torture of their "high value prisoners".
Which is really the same thing as using chewing gum, a Pepsi cap, and a paper clip to jumpstart a seaplane, right? It's funny because they made this thing that was intended for one use, but then these other people used it in a way that is literally the complete opposite of how it was intended.
"The greatest pleasure is to vanquish your enemies and chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth and see those dear to them bathed in tears, to ride their horses and clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters."
Conan and Genghis Khan both tap into a primal thing that all men instinctively know, even if we choose to ignore it: we are put here to battle and to conquer. To beat a man about the neck and head, empty his wallet, and go home with his girl: this is indeed what makes us Man.
Genghis Khan also said that "Conquering the world on horseback is easy; it is dismounting and governing that is hard."
Again we find that Schwarzenegger understands the lessons of history. He took over as Governor during one of the most tumultuous times in California's history. Which is probably why he keeps this in his office. You know, just in case.
Rammell shoved both feet in his mouth the other day when he declared he would buy an "Obama tag" if they were available. A GOP guy offering to put an Obama license plate on his car? That's pretty cool, I guess.
Oh, until you find out he meant Obama hunting tags. As in hunting the President. Of The United States of motherfucking America. See, Obama is black, so it's funny. Shocked may we be, but this is pretty tame for what usually wafts down from Idaho.
Rammell apologized the next day, claimed he was being "sarcastic", and then sent the story around to his media distribution list. Which basically means he sent out a press release pimping the fact that he publicly announced his desire to hunt the Most Dangerous Game. Which, when you think about it, is probably how we should choose our elected officials.
All of this ridiculous bullshit pales in comparison to the fact that a guy named Rex Rammell is going up against a guy named "Butch" Otter. Is this politics or is this gay porn?
Burt Reynolds is the apotheosis of the American Guy. He is what we wish to be. Some will argue that others were better embodiments of the American Guy. These people are wrong. John Wayne is too perfect, too idealized. He's Michaelangelo's David, too mathematically perfect to be True. Steve McQueen has the same problem as James Dean – both were too one-dimensional but ultimately neither was around long enough to fuck up in front of all of us. We need heroes with feet of clay.
We need to see them rebuild themselves after their failures. We're all fuckups – we just need to know that our heroes are just like us, only moreso.
This is why Burt Reynolds is the American Guy. We've seen him rise and fall. And then rise again. But then he fell again. And so on.
We've seen him as the College Football star. The guy jumping a Trans-Am over stuff. The guy who can't help falling for top-heavy blondes. The guy who posed nude for Cosmo. The guy who filed bankruptcy. The guy whom everyone thought had AIDS, but it was just a broken jaw. The guy who pulled off a miraculous career comeback only to piss it away. Etc.
And this week word came that his museum is slated to be closed as its building is scheduled to be torn down and replaced by a $110 million dollar restaurant/hotel/marina thing. And what's more American than that?
|Aaron B. Murray writes words and makes pictures. He is credited on more than a few high profile video game releases as well as an ever-growing stack of unproduced screenplays. Originally from East Tennessee, he currently lives in Utah with his wife and a ridiculous dachshund.|