Saturday, January 14, 2012

...and this is why the world thinks Americans are idiots

Being somewhat of a sadist, I've been following the Republican primary pretty closely, moaning and groaning with every idiot (Bachmann) that rose to prominence--and sobbing with every idiot (Perry) that replaced them. There are only three remotely intelligent candidates in the primaries as of this point--one of them is a sleazy politician that will say just about anything to get your vote (Romney), one is a sociopath (Gingrich), and one of them...well, Hunstman actually isn't so bad, but he doesn't have a snowflake's chance in hell. Why not, you may ask?

Because if speaking French bas become a liability for Romney, then Hunstman, who speaks reasonable (albeit very basic) Mandarin, is totally and completely f*cked.

No, I don't pretend to understand why Americans find it so unsettling that someone should be able to speak more than one language. I mean, when signs and official papers are bilingual (English and Spanish) and you can go your entire life without hearing a word of English in some neighborhoods, it kind of implies that learning another language might be a good idea. I attribute this to a perverted kind of patriotism: it's the only way, in a very real sense, to tell friend fom foe. Alas, it also means that you keep yourself an ignorant fool.

Which I don't actually have a problem with: learning a new language is hard, and I can understand why people don't want to learn Tonkinese or Hindi. But what I do have a problem with is when the Gingrich campaign takes a video of Mitt Romney asking the Olympic Committee something on behalf of the volunteers (I can't remember that much French), putting some text underneath it, and expecting people to believe that the text has anything to do with the words coming out of Romney's mouth. I don't know what's more insulting: the fact that Gingrich thinks that people will fall for it just because it's French, or the fact that someone out there will fall for it.

I continue to be flabbergasted that ignorance and stupidity are selling points for political candidates in the US, even as President Obama (and just about every other intellectual out there) touts innovation and brains as being the way forward out of the rut that the economy is currently in. I suppose it's a good thing the US has institutions such as Harvard and the Ivies, because the rest of the country isn't giving me much to be proud of.

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