War is Cool and Big Swinging Dick Theory

It’s Olympic Time everybody, and that means it’s now time to finally talk about something that has lay dormant in my mind for the past several years, only to prop up again during this gathering of Nations.


When we think of the above what are we reminded of?

If you are thinking of well orchestrated rallies held in North Korea, the answer would be YES!
China during New Years Day Chunwan….absolutely!

And on and on and on…..

Except there is one place that should scare others the most.   In my view there is one nation more nationalistic than most, more self assured and confident, brimming with swagger at all the  seams, less leary of telling a foreigner to “piss off” than any other other. 


When commentators speak of the extreme nationalistic rhetoric of Chinese media, or the unpredictable actions of North Korea, they show more than a glint of ignorance of the World’s Truly Nationalistic Society.   Always simmering just below the surface, todays commentators, both American and Foreign, are ignorant of the Big Swinging Dick attitude existing in American society today.   

They tell us to be sensitive when dealing with the Chinese.  They ask we show restraint and caution when discussing North Korea.  But no one ever thinks more than twice about the emotions within the USA. 

Maybe it’s best I just not say anymore.   For anyone who doesn’t believe me can just watch the Olympics this weekend.   Can you hear the chant?


View the crowd.  Most likely, half of them will be drunk, loud and obnoxious.  And none of them will give a shit.  Yes, I know most countries have similar chants abt themselves(whatever they are), but in my view the USA is more apt to display wanton patriotism, cum ugly nationalism, on a impromptu basis far more than anywhere else.    At the drop of a hat.  And this is a dangerous thing.

Unlike China, or anywhere else, no mass planning is needed.   No buses need to be arranged to bring in students.(China?)

But back to the commentators of our day.  The lazy among us fret with worry abt “disturbing the masses” when we discuss China, or unleashing the “nationalistic furor” when discussing armed conflict.  Yes, it may be true.  These things may occur.  Yet the Media uses these phrases as a way to express to others around the world that China is not to be tangled with. 

I say “you’re right”, but if we want to talk good old annoying, irritable Nationalism, the USA has China beat hands down.  Not in numbers, but in “attitude”.     WTF?, you ask?  Here are the differences between Chinese and American Nationalism.   And why American Nationalism is more dangerous.  And why it’s a good thing.

In America, nationalism is real. 

It’s not fake.  It’s not contradictory.   Today in China you have too many Chinese that hate Japan yet drive a Honda.  Or have a Japanese camera.   The USA, meanwhile, has long since gotten over it’s internal conflict with Japan.  As long as they build their cars in America we’re all good.   Honda now exports more cars from the USA than it sells.  For all practical purposes, Honda is an American company now.  It’s been “co-opted”. (is Toyota next?) 

The Chinese have yet to solve the internal contradictions of hating people that employ them.   Their nationalism is too specific.  It’s mostly Japanese focused.  It’s not broad enough.   So in a way you can say it’s “convenient nationalism”.

Not in America.  (See above)  We may show nationalistic resentment towards China, but we have very little internal contradictions. 

For example,(segue time)  very few Chinese companies are here.  Those that are, like to hire Chinese. It’s a joke really.  I used to call Chinese suppliers up all the time.  Suppliers with “American” offices (read LA, or NY).   More often than not, the “employee” was a Chinese national who spoke English I could barely understand on the other end of the phone line.  After awhile, I realized most of these “companies” were just like that. 

“Just great”, I thought.  “Another fucking Chinese company hiring only Chinese to work in their ofc”.    So with few exceptions, most Chinese companies in America only hire Chinese.    (ZTE and Haier are notable exceptions)   So you see, it’s easy to be nationalistic towards Chinese in America if they don’t hire American workers.

A decade ago in Vegas, during the biggest electronics exhibition of the year, I finally unleashed on a Chinese “supplier” and started berating him in Mandarin.   Pretty much all I said was “all you guys do is come here and hire people just like you.( ie non American citizens).   Why don’t you hire Americans?   Do you look down on us or something?  Why would I want to work with you?”   All he did was smile his stupid smile.   Now, was I being racist?  (American’s are sensitive abt things like that)  No, I don’t think I was.  I was just stating a simple fact, that pissed me off:  you come here to get our business, and won’t even take the time to hire an American in your ofc, who speaks English.  Remind me why I want to work with you ?   Instead you hire someone I can barely understand. (maybe a green card holder,  not an American)

And the reason you hired this person was simple:  it’s convenient for you, and their CHEAP!
(Not to pick on the poor Chinese.  I find the Koreans the same way. )

Do I hire Americans when I open an ofc in Shenzhen?   Nope.  I hire Chinese.
So as you can see, American nationalism has few internal soul searching contradictions towards the Chinese.   If China created 10 million jobs in America, it might.  (See me in 70 years)

The point above also illustrates American Nationalism has ATTITUDE

Chinese nationalism doesn’t.  (unless you’re Japanese)  One often hears the Chinese Media screaming at God knows how many countries, but you never hear the Chinese complaining as such.
American culture is ARROGANT.  It has SWAGGER.  Why is that?

Is it because we’re King of the Hill?  Not really. It’s because American Culture has grown up knowing it’s #1.  Is this taught in schools?  Of course not, Silly…..But it’s in the movies!  

American Cinema has had a far more reaching impact on how Americans see themselves than Mom and Pop could ever give to their children.   American Cinema is the Black Hand behind American Exceptionalism.  (still another post) All Americans grow up knowing how badass they are.  It’s naturally internalized from an early age.  From the time of John Wayne to Clint Eastwood, to Independence Day and Saving Private Ryan, American’s have always kicked ass, and unless American Cinema goes the way of the dodo bird, always will.

Whose Ass have Chinese kicked in the Movies?   Despite the near total extinction of MODESTY amongst many Chinese youth today, modesty is still considered a virtue in Chinese Society.   American Cinema doesn’t teach modesty.  Modesty isn’t entertaining.  Killing the Bad Guy is. So what does China have as a society that can impact the way Chinese think of themselves?  Cinema?  (nope)

The only thing rivalling the impact of Media in America is the good ole CCP in China.  中国人民万岁!

American Media does a great job of retelling the American West.  The stories of America at War.  American Cinema is the American version of China’s Communist Propaganda Dept.  Except America simply has a better story to tell, and tells it well.  Too damn well.   Thus Americans grow up with PRIDE, and quite frankly, an exaggerated view of themselves.   We’ve drank as much of our koolaid as anyone.

China’s movie industry loves to talk about it’s ancient history, or make a movie abt yet another KMT spy, or maybe even another movie about how many Japanese they killed in the 30’s.  But does Chinese Cinema inspire the Chinese?  Does it instill an attitude?  An identity?   

As for America, add up our arrogance and our swagger, and our sense of Nationalism.   And what do you get?  300 million people that think they are unstoppable, and can achieve anything they want, if only the politicians would get out of the way.  

The below link in 90 seconds perfectly summarizes American Fervor.  (I wonder if they show this overseas?  I doubt it.)

And what does arrogance and swagger breed?  For better or worse it breeds confidence.(or is it HUBRIS?)  Chinese Nationalism lacks all these things.    This is why in my view, Chinese Nationalism is a bit hollow.   It’s Entertaining, but certainly not Frightening. The Chinese as a people just aren’t self confident enough yet.   They have too much doubt amongst themselves.  Though 5000 years old, they are STILL trying to figure out their place in the world.   (this is a good thing). 

America has no such qualms.  For better or for worse, we know who we are.  We know we’re number one, and we know it’s not even close. 

But why is China after all this time still so unsure of it’s self?  Simple.  They haven’t kicked anyone’s ass, in a very, very long time.  Korea was a nightmare the USA gracefully ended.  Even Vietnam’s 2nd Team bloodied China’s nose.   There is no Chinese Commander today that has seen one second of combat.  No platoon that has driven anyone out of a town.      So what is there in Chinese Cinema to “celebrate”?

What about China’s recent moves in the South China Sea?  Is that the action of a confident nation?  Nope, that’s the action of a bureaucratic class that can makes decisions without accountability.   The Chinese Masses just follow along.  Thus the potential for HUBRIS.  In the West, it’s hard to have HUBRIS when there is freedom of the press within your society. (trust me, it’s still possible)  One simply cannot escape accountability.   However, HUBRIS is always more apparent in CLOSED societies.  And that’s why closed societies as a rule are always more dangerous(unpredictable?)

Finally, America is in your FACE.   A whole generation of kids have grown up on violent video games.  Nearly every generation since 1917 has been to WAR.   It’s as if it’s a population in perpetual training for  combat.  But with the popularity of military themed video games, the Youth of America damn near are starting to think War is Cool.   There is great prestige in America society if one is a former soldier. (like in many countries, but esp so in the States’)  

Hollywood loves a Winner.  It loves to tell a good story.  It’s an neverending cycle.  America goes to War.  Comes home the Jaded, Wounded Warrior.  Emotionally Scarred.   (Only Hollywood can make it a dignified event. ) Next generation see’s the great prestige these soldiers have,  the free college education, the chicks, and high on the latest Video Game and Hollywood movie, can’t wait to get into the fight.

Scary, scary stuff.  The USA thus is ever producing a generation anxious for the same prestige bestowed upon an uncle, or an older brother.

When will it stop?

And here is why it can’t:

The world needs a Big Swinging Dick.   A people with attitude, high on the latest military video game, with the gleam of a relative’s medal in his eye.  Quite often for worse, but sometimes for better, it needs a nation on the planet willing to send it’s youth into harms way.  More importantly, Hollywood needs it, too.  


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