Boy, have I become Americanized in the last 20 years.  I stayed in a large house this last weekend with ‘staff’ (read: servants), where it is actually offensive to abrogate such tasks as getting yourself a cup of tea or making your own bed.  The divide so beautifully drawn and mocked in Altman’s Gosford Park (one of my all-around favorite movies) is still fully in evidence here.  You cannot straddle the upstairs-downstairs gap.  The staff’s accents were way more posh than mine, and the owners’ movements and freedom clearly constrained (as well as eased, of course) by having staff around.

Yesterday, in the more humble surroundings of the Ramsden Village Hall, I was working with a student who, in a frenzy of wanting to show that she was following me – nay, ahead of my line of thought – trampled over every sentence of advice or even praise.  This second-guessing, a so-very-English manifestation of defensiveness masquerading as politeness, can be maddening: I had to tell this praeternaturally ‘nice’ (but actually quite passive-aggressive) and dignified older woman to shut up a minute and listen so I can finish a sentence.  How very American!

I’ve been saying that I will leave the USA if the American people drink the Kool-Aid of electing McCain-Palin.  I won’t though (too committed to my place in Maine and the project I’ve taken on: marrying the movement and bodywork worlds in a new physical education for the electronic era) but I will give up on the American dream – a democracy based on the consent of informed people.  Some people seem determined to stay uninformed, and we are in the midst of capitalism for the poor and socialism for the wealthy.  Where are the free-marketeers when banks fail?  Where’s the democratic process in this health care fiasco?  Where’s any substantive discussion of the issues? (Since Hillary’s and Obama’s second debate, anyway)

America’s a media-ocracy – an in-depth analysis of a shallow culture – and it’s mediocrity at best, and a well-run but transparent con game in the middle, and an absolute conspiracy to fund war profiteers at worst.


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