Something terrible is happening to me: I'm being pushed back into some sort of American nationalism. I spent years getting over my patriotism; but if things keep going like this, soon I'll have no choice but to wrap the damn flag around myself. Not that it would fit, unless it was a very wide flag; not that it would feel very comfortable, either. But the American Left's responses to Sept 11 and Afghanistan have been so disgusting, and the response of the rest of the world so vile and cowardly, that I've got nowhere else to go. And worst of all, the only brave and loyal friends we've got are the Brits. That's so damn confusing for an old Sinn Fein fan like myself. They have their virtues, though, the Brits; cruel they may be, but nobody ever said they were cowards.
Of course they've been doing their share of gloating too. Or at least their colonists here in New Zealand have. It's amazing, the number of different American sins which have been cited as the "real reason" for the WTC bombing. One bitter old lady (the population of Dunedin, where I live, is 97% bitter old ladies) called the bombings the result of America's involvement in pornography, as if Mohammed Atta got on that plane determined to exact revenge on behalf of Little Old New Zealanders' shock at The Sopranos.
Then there were the numberless Commonwealth leftists who simply said that the US needed taking down, by whomever was available. A macho-leftist pig named Murray Ball, famous for creating a remarkably unfunny comic about a farm dog, said on NZ radio, "The world needed to do something about the US." It really made you long for a Hell in which Ball would be trapped inside an elevator with Mohammed Atta for all eternity. What a feast of reason that would be. After a few geological eras of having his eyes gouged out by Atta, Ball might even begin to grasp that their agendas differed rather substantially.
That was the funniest part: the way in which pious NZ lefties who run in vegan dyke circles were suddenly cheering on the Taliban. Who would have known they shared so many beliefs? They don't, of course. They share only an evil glee in seeing the tall poppies fall.
"Tall poppies" is an important NZ idiom. It comes from a proverb of theirs, "The tall poppy gets the chop." In other words, anyone who stands out, does too well, outdistances the herd, is evil. So when Atta and friends staged their airshow in Manhattan, it was like a dream come true for resentful NZers. They were actually seeing the fall of the tallest poppies in the world. They watched it over and over again, couldn't get enough of it. And every one wrote letters to the editors of their local newspapers, always beginning with the obligatory "Some of my best friends are Americans..." before going into victory dances over the sexually-exciting sight of those vast American rods collapsing on themselves.
And that was only the beginning. Since the attacks, every closet America-baiter has come out shrieking. The latest casualty here is Halloween. Yes, Halloween. You see, New Zealanders didn't acknowledge that holiday until recently, and see it as an American import. Their Autumn holiday was Nov. 5, Guy Fawkes Day. And since the attacks, everyone on NZ media has been attacking Halloween -- the only really fun, anti-pious holiday -- as evil. Just today, some old jerks who got egged, quite properly, for sending trick-or-treating kids from their door with a stern lecture, were screaming on TV that Halloween is "a stupid, idiotic American custom which should be wiped."
It just doesn't sit well with this culture, the idea of actually giving something away. The notion that children should be given candy -- rather than, say, porridge, or a good stern talking-to -- it's unfathomable, and thus evil, for the mingy scone-faced locals. They find virtually all things other than gardening, eavsedropping, and tea to be morally objectionable; but more than anything in the world they hate the idea of giving anything to anyone at any time.