The Sun is a British tabloid written in an annoying, chatty style and only using easy words. It is, as you might imagine, not my preferred reading, but, finding myself with a long wait for my liver and onions in a cafe, I glanced through it.
And found something so offensive that it beggers belief. I quote.
The Sun, Saturday September 10, 2005 Page 21, "Clarkson"
In the last couple of weeks everyone has been asking how on earth the greatest and most powerful nation on earth could be o crippled by a bit of wind and rain
The rest of the world has disasters without the whole of society falling to pieces. So what is it different in America?
Well, if you stop and think about it, the answer is obvious
America may have given the world the space shuttle and, er, condensed milk, but behind the veneer of civilisation most Americans barely have the brains to walk on their back legs.
It's scientifically accepted that the stupidest creature on God's earth is alobster because it only knows to eat when presented with food and lash out when threatened.
Remind you of anything?
Even the President manages to get completely lost in his own sentences. "I love to bring people into the Oval Office and say, "This is where I office," he once said. Proving that, in fact, we never misunderestimated him at all.
More recently we got this little nugget. "Rarely is the question asked: 'Is our children learning?'"
Well, since most of them can't place their own country on a map, leave alone anyone else's, the answer is: No, not really. A few years ago I was told by a cheerily daft Forida policeman that you don't need common sense when you've got rules. And he absolutely could not see he got it the wrong way round.
Later on the same trip I was told on a plane in Dallas to uncross my legs during take-off. "It's a federal requirement," said the stewardess, who had plainly never thought what possible difference the position of a passenger's legs could make if the jet crossed into something solid at 520mph.
Then there was the time when, in a Reno shopping mall, I was told to put my shoes back on. "It's a state law," said the guard.
I see, so someone raised this at a meeting. It was discussed. There was a vote. And now it's on a statute book. That people must wear shes while shopping in Nevada. Sounds a bit far-fetched to me.
[He gives further examples. By the end there's... maybe one, two that are genuinely stupid acts and about six that make it clear he's an arsehole and an idiot.]
This is the problem. These people are told rules exist and they should not use common sense to question them.
So, when the rules and everything else were washed out of New Orleans, everyone went to the default setting of the terminally stupid: Violence.
I'm not talking about the armed gangs now. I'm talking about the authorities who, rather than try and feed the poor and needy, summoned the Marines and started acting like they were in a Hollywood film.
"They've got M16s which are locked and loaded," said one official. And I bet she hadn't the first idea what "locked and loaded" meant. She'd just heard Bruce Willis said at at some point and thought it sounded good.2
Hollywood has taught America that the military can solve anything. It's full of chisel-jawed heroes who never leave a man on the field and never fail to get the job done. So they'd have New Orleans sorted out in a jiffy.
Unfortunately, on the streets you've got some poor, starving soul helping themselves to a packet of food from a ruined, deserted supermarket. And as a result, finding themselves being blown to pieces by a helicopter gunship. With the none-too-bright soldiers urged on by their illiterate political masters, the poor and needy never stood a chance. It's easier and much more fun to abhor someone than make them a cup of tea.
[He then concludes by describing all Americans as racist bigots. But that's quite enough, no?]
...I have no idea what should be done about this idiot, but something should. Anyone know any American newssources?