July 4th for Foreigners
Merry Independence Day!
To other countries who may or may not celebrate their own Independence days, the United States may practice some rather odd rituals. Let me explain our celebration a little to help you to better understand the Fourth of July and what it means to an American.
On this day of the year, almost the entire country breaks into a near fanatical fit of patriotism, something that can be frightening to other cultures, especially Jews, Polacks and homosexuals. Don’t fear! In American English, pa·tri·ot·ism is just a word to describe mindless obedience to a right-wing political party of rich, elitist, sexual deviants! Patriotism here means a little less about ‘ethnic cleansing’ and is more about the hatred and chastising of all who would question the American government’s dismantling of their rights, the widespread corruption at State and Federal levels and the almost unforgivable lack of a lapel-mounted, Chinese made, flag-branded pin.
This particular party started over 230 years ago to commemorate the approval of the Declaration of Independence, thus freeing America from the tyrannical rule of Britain. Thus, we customarily celebrate our freedom from this bloodthirsty and greedy ‘Motherland’ with its high taxes, stifling laws and interference in the lives and businesses of our forefathers by throwing a large, public party at local parks.
And what a party it is! Anyone from abroad who visits during this particular time of the year will first notice the American flag draped everywhere. If your particular country of origin is not fascist or Communist (and it’s not because we don’t let those kinds of people into our country), you may feel like you are either having a drug induced, Orwellian nightmare or perhaps have wandered onto a military base during a parade for the big brass. Don’t worry, it’s neither of those! This is merely a once in a year chance for people who avoided armed service and who vote against veteran benefits because it might slightly increase their property tax to assuage their guilt by plastering every inch of their foreign-oil burning, Canadian built Dodge Magnum with Chinese manufactured Red, White and Blue ribbon magnets. In this way, they show their neighbors that they love their country! (As long as their symbol of pride is magnetic and won’t bring down the resale value of their vehicle!)
Once you’ve navigated to the local park, weaving through throngs of drunks in oversized pickups and flag plastered SUVs, and nearly avoiding several near-death experiences, you will find that the parking at many of these events can be rather confusing to a first-timer. You may see a lot of people, usually trouble makers like leftie-liberals in wheat-grass stained, hempen t-shirts, pompously driving hybrids and parking a mile or even farther from the actual event. Avoid them and muscle your way to the parking lot, making sure you try not to run over too many children in your attempt to park as close to the entrance as possible. Make sure you bring a comic book or mini DVD player for after the show as you will most likely be blocked in for an hour or more by those selfish people who parked miles away and are now in front of you and obeying traffic laws on the way out. Make sure to double park! Americans can receive handicapped placards for being obese, meaning they never have to walk more than 20 feet from their huge, badly parked land yachts. Double parking will ensure that there is room for these hefty party goers to stuff their asses back into their vehicles.
The party itself will be a chance for you to see a broad spectrum of the American public. From hip-hoppers with pants down to their knees and swearing loudly and profusely (when they can be understood at all) to the cousin-bumping, wife-beater-wearing redneck chain smoking next to that group of children, you can see a slice the American Pie everywhere you look, except directly in front of you due the sweaty couple weighing in at three-quarters of a ton sitting in straining canvas chairs and sharing a family sized bag of Fritos, three buckets of KFC and six two-liters of Diet Coke who are blocking the view.
Now that you’ve situated yourself, most likely behind Moby Dick’s distant cousins and a light pole, kicked aside any used condoms and have spread a blanket on the dog shit and vomit covered ground, it’s only a few hours of waiting until the show starts. This is a great opportunity to engage in various American customs to celebrate the throwing off of the oppressive yoke of British government!
People Watching: This fun sport is a great way to hone your bigotry! You can find many people around you who look, act and speak differently. Most of these people will make you feel smarter or better looking in comparison and mocking them with your friends will provide minutes of fun! It’s Americalicious!
Fireworks: The American public celebrates the bloody and devastating Revolutionary War and it’s artillery and gunfire by setting of beautifully crafted fireworks painstakingly hand made in Mexico from an ancient Chinese recipe. These colorful explosions are like dark poetry, their beauty reminding us of the reality of living in a war torn country,families protecting their land from marauding British soldiers with nothing but a few rifles. Just remember that firearms are expressly prohibited at these public spectacles. Also, since people can and have been injured by personal fireworks, the government has declared them illegal in most states.
Picnic: Prepare to be amazed by the great American picnic! While some people may opt for the quick and easy meal and stop for some MSG laden Kentucky Fried Chicken or other fast-food, most parks will have rusty, debris filled, iron grills that you can use. Always remember to bring extra lighter fluid as the layer of hobo-urine soaked ash on the bottom of these can make lighting them tricky! If you choose to bring your own grill, make sure to bump as many people as you can with the hot, ashy and grease slathered sides as you leave the park! Also make sure to pick up plenty of America’s culinary delights, favorites like hamburgers, which are pre-shaped, frozen, soy and beef patties covered in salt, and hot dogs, which are casingless sausages made from the ground remains of chickens, pigs and cows that are left over from other industrial farming products. Just make sure that there isn’t any trans-fat in your food! The government has made trans-fats illegal to sell or serve in some states because they can cause heart problems.
So, what do you do after you’ve eaten your government approved, MSG laden soy burger (sans tomatoes, since they might have maybe caused some people to get Salmonella, we think), and set off your government approved sparklers, snakes and poppers? Well, it’s time to try out another fine American custom: Historical Revisionism. This is where you go to the local drinking establishment and imbibe government approved booze and talk loudly with your friends about your freedoms and rights and how America is a bunch of liberators and the best country on the planet all the while eying that brown guy in the corner with the beard and mumbling about terrorists. What makes it an even more fun game is coming up with alternative explanations to world events based on self delusion, inaccurate textbooks and fanatical patriotism. Well start you off with an example:
Problem: Years of intolerable sanctions have imposed on Iraq. Politicians decided to torture an entire nation to try and out a dictator: these sanctions have killed or put at risk millions of poor and sick Iraqis. In turn, those same Iraqis have become angry at America and have become easy targets for indoctrination and propaganda by fundamental religious cults and terrorists.
We then bombed the shit out of the place in an empire-building, illegal invasion, using the excuse that we were there to oust their tyrant who we then hung for killing several hundred people (and although he may have been responsible for some thousands of murders, some groups place the death toll due to those UN approved sanctions at over a million people, a frighteningly large number of them children). We continue to bomb and kill civilians while trying to rob them of oil, rape and murder families, allow private citizens to have their own armies who can murder without arrest while we build a huge, ornate palace… I mean embassy. Our news minimizes their suffering, ignores their plight and our responsibility for the decimation of their land and culture and instead shows nonsensical crap like the hours of coverage of a rich, heiress whore in bug-eye glasses weeping because she had to spend an hour in jail for repeatedly committing a crime that would get her capital punishment in some places. Did I mention the rape, murder, cultural destruction and wholesale robbery of their country?
Revisionary!: The terrorists hate us. Because of our freedoms. Wait, what?
Hopefully your holiday will provide you with many stories and photographs to take back to your country of origin. You will have many hours of delightful and unbelievable anecdotes to confuse and frighten your saner and more well read colleagues. If they don’t believe you, don’t worry! The American Empire is expanding and someday soon, your country will be celebrating America and it’s customs with your very own firework extravaganza*.
* Fireworks extravaganza presented by the United States Armed Forces. Mortars and artillery can be hazardous to your health. Please report dissent to your local Patriot Act Representative.