It has of course been long established --by me--that the defining characteristic of the American personality is the desire to be tied up, spanked and ultimately ruled by a person with a British accent.
This is most evident in U.S. TV reality shows, dominated as they are by aloof, cruel, and irresistibly sexy British patriarchs; Simon Cowell on American Idol, Nigel Lythgoe on So You Think You Can Dance, Piers Morgan on America's Got Talent, Gordon Ramsey on Hell's Kitchen and Len Goodman on Dancing With the Stars.
And then of course there's Tim Gunn on Project Runaway. Timbo isn't actually British, but is so refined, erudite and well spoken that most Americans think he might as well be.
Now think of all the British villains in Hollywood movies. Sure the dumb Yank hero gets to kill the stuck-up suck-ass limey in the last reel. But not before the Brit has tied them to a chair and tortured them with that oh-so-English upper-class suaveness that Americans find so utterly irresistible.
Further evidence of America's insatiable craving to be spanked by somebody British is to be found in the Renaissance Fayres and pretend medieval battles that millions of Americans attend every weekend, where hordes of Yanks in fake armor and cardboard wimples slavishly do what they're told by fake-Brits with cod-Shakespearian speech patterns and aluminum foil crowns.
And this demeaning desire to ditch democracy for good old tried-and-tested feudalism can also be seen in the way we dress our daughters up not as cowgirls or astronauts or plumbers or presidents but as Diana-style fairy princesses.
When Republicans were seeking the perfect vice-presidential candidate--a living symbol who could embody exactly what it means to be an early 21th century American, who did they pick? Sarah Palin--who just happens, by a truly amazing coincidence--to be the American who most resembles that Mary-Poppins-on-steroids, British Supernanny, Jo Frost.
This fawning, desperate, quasi-sexual and profoundly undemocratic need to be severely disciplined by someone with a British accent perhaps explains why Americans are the most patriotic people in the world. It's basic overcompensation.
Now I'm all for a bit of patriotism now and then--when a county's deserved it. Like, for instance, when it abolishes slavery, or doesn't elect a right-wing dickhead as president. But America suffers from a surfeit of unconditional patriotism. And unconditional patriotism, like unconditional love, is a very very bad thing indeed.
Let's say you have a dog and this dog rescues you from a fire. How do you react? You give it a doggy choccy drop, tickle it behind the ears and "who's the very besty-westest doggy-woggy in the whole wide world? You are! Oh yes you are! Oh yes you are!"
But let's just say that next day this same dog invades a country for a bunch of made-up reasons, kills over a hundred thousand civilians, subverts the Constitution, and then goes on a torture spree that makes the Spanish Inquisition look like the Care Bears on a nice-binge.
Do you still tickle that bad dog's belly and cuddle it and love it and let it sleep on the bed and tell it that it's the very besty-westest doggy-woggy in the whole wide world? No, of course you don't. You smack it on the snout with a rolled-up newspaper, rub its nose in its own shit and say firmly and sternly: "No! Bad Dog!"
Well countries are very much like dogs. If you praise them and given them choccy doggy drops and tell they're very besty-westest doggy-woggy in the whole wide world even when they're shitting on the living room carpet or deregulating the stock market or chewing up your slippers or sticking 12-year-old goat herders in Guantanamo Bay or piddling in the kitchen or going on blood crazed rape and murder orgies in unarmed Vietnamese villages, then they'll have no incentive to be good in the future.
Because it's true what the Bible says - spare the rod and spoil the child.
And what is America if it isn't an adorable child with an unfortunate tendency to be very, very naughty indeed?
Which is why we need to take down all the flags, take of all the lapel pins, peel off all the patriotic bumper stickers and stop saying, "America is the best country in the world at everything," and "we're number one" all the time.
Instead we should only ever (and this needs to be strictly observed) give ourselves a swift patriotic pat on the back when we do something truly good. Like qualify for the soccer World Cup, or decide not to invade a smaller country, for instance.
Calendar: June 19-26
PW's Weekend Picks: June 14-16
Calendar: June 12-19
Summer Guide 2013