Why Do Americans Talk So Much Smack?

This won't be an amazing insight, I imagine, but I've been lacking for stuff to blog about and this has been on my mind a lot, for various reasons.

We, as Americans, love talking shit. We're tough, we're badasses, we're the ass-kickingest, taking-namiest, Chuck-Norris-roundhouse-kick-to-the-faciest people on earth it seems. This morning, I saw an "Operation Enduring Freedom" bumper sticker on the drive to work, and recently, I saw one that said "If you can read this in English, Thank a Marine."

And I think that's part of the reason for our national attitude--we're propagandized from our youths onward to believe that our military is the line that stands between us and total subsumption by some scary other, some vague national enemy that would force us to learn another language and change our customs, when the fact is that during the lives of most Americans today, the US has never been seriously threatened by invasion. Even during the Cold War, invasion was less a threat than annihilation--we might have wound up glowing, but we'd still be eating apple pie at a baseball game, by God.

So why is it that civilians so often talk smack when it comes to violent, bloody conflict? We don't have anything to back it up, after all. It's not as though we see bombed out houses left over from the repelling of the enemy on the shores of Savannah, or bullet holes in the walls left standing from when we drove the enemy into the sea and out of San Luis Obispo. (We have those from our own internal class war, but that's another topic for discussion.) The last war fought on US soil was the Civil War, and there are no survivors of that conflict left--no one born and raised here has tried to drive the invader from his or her soil. And yet civilians connect themselves with the military shamelessly, I believe, precisely because we have no concept of that level of violence. It's easy to talk tough when war means that you get to watch other people fight hear the occasional news report about how well the war is going while you jam another Whopper in your piehole.

These self-styled patriots like to think that if we were invaded, they would rise up, a la Red Dawn and form little paramilitary groups, frustrate the enemy at every turn, scream "Wolverines!" and survive to become the next leaders of the free world. And maybe some of them would actually give that a try. But most of the smack talkers would be the first to toady up to the new regime, once they'd finished cleaning the shit out of their pants, that is, because they have no concept of just what it means to be invaded. I don't either, frankly, but I know enough to know what I don't know.

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