In Search Of American ‘Greatness’

"Once, my father told me that true greatness simply consists of living in the present moment, at peace with your surroundings and with yourself. It’s shit like that that will keep us from becoming great again."

We’re all on a quest to rediscover lost American “greatness”.

To be sure, most of us didn’t realize that things had gotten so bad, but Trump woke everyone up in his inauguration speech when he portrayed the country as something akin to the opening scene in Terminator 2.

You know, rusty factories – landscapes rendered in grayscale – bones strewn about – marauding gangs of bandit cannibals in search of fuel and flesh, and not necessarily in that order.

Basically Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

Or Mad Max without the fun muscle cars.

Fortunately, an overweight, elderly, bigoted billionaire donning a blonde beaver pelt hat arrived just in time to restore America’s prestige. We’ll be “great again” after all. It says so on those red hats.

Of course so far, our quest for “greatness” isn’t going too well. In fact, as bad as Trump insisted things were in late January, they’ve gotten materially worse since. If American “prestige” was waning headed into 2017, it’s now disappeared altogether.

Here with some fresh ideas on where we might find some of that “greatness” we’re looking for, is The New Yorker


Via  for The New Yorker

We will be great again when we stop talking about being great again. Sheesh—obsessive much?

We can’t be truly great again until we realize that there are some parts of the pizza that should not be stuffed with cheese.

Many people find the “again” part of this weird. “Great again?” they ask. “What supposedly great time are we trying to replicate? The days of Jim Crow? Or of Japanese-American internment?” No. The answer is May 2, 1982. Just gorgeous weather.

An important thing to remember is that we’re talking about the word “great,” not “grate,” which is pronounced similarly and refers to the slotted metal coverings of municipal drainage systems.

Maybe what we could do is ask everyone to name something he thinks is great, and then we can combine all the answers somehow. For example, if one person says that Key-lime pie is great, and another says the music of Bach is great, well, we’re just going to have to get creative.

Health care is great; everyone knows that. So guaranteed access to health care for everyone must be even greater, right? Wrong.

Tony the Tiger famously proclaimed, “They’re gr-r-reat!” If only we could discover what this was in reference to, we could perhaps be great again.

Give me a “G”! Give me an “R”! Give me an “E”! Give me an “A”! Give me a “T”! Good job—now go do whatever makes you feel great again. Maybe tweet something anti-Semitic?

Once, my father told me that true greatness simply consists of living in the present moment, at peace with your surroundings and with yourself. It’s shit like that that will keep us from becoming great again.

“Great-o potato” is a fun expression that, if popularized, would go a long way toward making everyone feel great again. Just say it! C’mon!

Greatness is more than having a big army. It’s got to be really, really big.

One thing is for sure: when someone says, “Oh, great” in a sarcastic tone, that’s not the kind of great we’re going for.

Today’s greatness lesson: no necktie can ever be too long or too Scotch Taped.

Warm weather is great; the more warm weather we have, the greater we will be. If the weather becomes unprecedentedly warm, we will become unprecedentedly great. This is not complicated.

I had a hamburger once that was pretty great. That’s more of a personal story, though.

You know how sometimes someone will ask you how you’re doing, and you’ll say “great” without really thinking about it? Like, you’re sort of just going through the motions? Good job. Becoming great again will require a lot more of that.

Feeling like you’re part of a community is great. That sense of belonging, you know? On some level, it’s what we’re all looking for. But there’s a catch: that feeling depends on the existence of an outcast group—people who don’t, who can’t belong to your community. Without them, the group you belong to will be rendered formless, robbed of its definition and meaning. Selecting the “other” against which your group will derive its identity, then, is of vital importance. How will you decide? Will it be based on skin color? Gender? Religious differences? National origin? Yes. All of those. Great!

If you rearrange the letters in “great,” you can spell “treag.” This felt worth mentioning.


5 comments on “In Search Of American ‘Greatness’

  1. We all know that Trump’s call to ‘Make America Great Again.’ is a dog whistle shout out to make America what it once, was when it was White-ruled, and non-whites knew their place or else. Some argue that it meant a revival to the days of, let’s call it a “misconception,” ruled the land, when people believed that, and could be heard shouting at stadiums and elsewhere, that “America’s Number 1” or chanting “USA. USA, USA,” with index fingers pointing to the sky. That must have felt just great, until the sad truth was discovered that America was simply not Number 1. Not by slingshot. Not in math, science, reading, education, health care, longevity, well being, happiness, job security, vacation time, maternity leave, sick leave, and a list so long that finding a ranking where the USA is number 1 takes great effort.

    So, is Donald Trump going to be the President to make America #1? Can a man who is definitely inept, unstable, unfit, revengeful, with horrible anger management problems, who lacks an iota of judgment, insight, and foresight, and lacks a modicum of empathy, compassion, sympathy for human or the political and skills to carry out the duties and responsibilities of President of the United States of America take care of the general welfare of its 325,000,000 people do the work necessary make America #1?

    • Curt A Tyner

      Well…. Uh……..NO he part of the problem …… and……well …..Uh……sh*t……..and he is Not part of the solution. The amount of bullsh*t we have and will waste in time, money, personal angst and so on finally puts us #1 again. Yea, we are #1 in BULLSH*T. Everybody stick that middle finger in the air and celebrate our greatness.

  2. Curt A Tyner

    PS: Thanks Marty, good post.

  3. David Marilley

    Just remember, it appears the slogan was invented by Clinton in his first run. Presidential politics is far from about rigorous representation of truth, and more about kindling discontent of likely voters. It sure all seems true to them.

  4. Simon Edmonds

    Great stuff. America is going to bring down the greatest civilisation in the universe, for what, a profit, YES, and a Zionist prophesy, YES,.. Once Were Great.

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