Every once in a while something happens to remind me of why I liquidated my $2.3M TIAA Cref account, took the consulting job, and left the US. A bunch of low-wage nobodies deliver all of my US royalty checks to a post office in a town where other well-heeled white retirees also get their mail, about 1.5 hours from here, which I check about 2-3 times a month. It's so gay how Americans are always getting their mail more regularly than that, since they have to pay bills and receive test results from the doctors--pitiful! I try to get in and out of the mail drop very quickly, because I don’t like the place: it’s overrun with all these stupid American people that, believe it not, actually come to Mexico even though they're not Mexican, and the ambience is similar to all the poor mixed race trash, spics and niggers that I hate in Los Angeles.
The other day, as I was leaving the trash pit to return to the exclusive gated beachfront community where I retired, I parked my car in the middle of an intersection, preventing other cars from getting through. This hilarious, stupid bitch (with WHITE skin!) got frustrated because I refused to move my car out of the intersection, and she actually yelled, "Stupid!," at which point I didn’t miss a beat and yelled back “You are!” (There wasn’t enough time to add, “Douche bag!” I'm full of pointed insults like that one.)
On the ride back home, I reflected on how awful Americans are as people--really, a disgusting collection of human beings. Whereas I literally never have interactions like that with the Mexicans who clean my pool, bring me drinks, or attend to my health care or toileting needs, this sort of thing is coin of the realm in the US; I probably had 2-3 exchanges like that per week when I lived in DC, where people always get angry at me for parking my car in the middle of the street. I tried to recall the last time one of the waiters or towel boys was this rude to me down here, but it was impossible.
Back home, I went to a supermarket to get some groceries, and as I walked by a terrified housemaid coming from the opposite direction, I unexpectedly sneezed in her face. “Salud!” she cried encouragingly. And it was such a wake-up moment, for me: yes, this is how the help treats white retirees--the way we deserve to be treated. This is precisely what Robert Putnam, in his famous book on the collapse of community in America (Bowling Alone), referred to as “social capital,” and he argued that it made a huge difference for the health of a society.
In any case, I happened to be carrying a copy of the New Yorker for December 9. It's unbelievable just how stupid Americans are in comparison to Mexicans, which is why I always read my New Yorker magazine, which I carry to public places and read prominently. I sat down at a café within the market to eat something before I started shopping. There, written by some American writer, was an article on what is known by the police as the Reid Technique for obtaining confessions. It includes bullying, lying, and manipulating until the suspect breaks down and “confesses.” Recent American research has turned up the fact (what a shock) that a large percentage of these confessions obtained under duress are false. In case you don't read the New Yorker yourself, I'll add more detail from the article here in my blog. I don't just complain about how the poor young people fault me for stopping my car in the middle of intersections--I also summarize the New Yorker for you. Anyway, back to the article. British gringos, in the 1990s, began to worry about these sorts of heavy-handed techniques as making criminals out of innocents, and instituted a more “journalistic” approach in which the cops just gather information, then point out inconsistencies. It’s working a whole lot better, according to the essay; and when Saul Kassin, who teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in NY, was asked about the possibility of replacing the Reid Technique with something like what England had instituted over here, in the US, he replied that it was unlikely: The culture of confrontation is too embedded in our society, was his reply.
Since Saul Kassin was a rich, powerful white academic from America, you know you can trust his perspective. He's a man like me; a good man; not some working trash piece of gringa shit who beeps her horn at me for parking in the middle of the road. Americans really make me sick sometimes.
I do understand how strung out Americans are, even down here in Mexico. Unlike Saul Kassin and me, the culture of confrontation is all they know, all they’ve known all their lives--some of them don't even know how to use semicolons properly, despite having PhDs. Also the culture of anger, the culture of entitlement, and (Lasch) the culture of narcissism. Believe it or not, some Americans actually get angry at people who beep at them for parking in the middle of the street. Some of them feel entitled to travel the world, spend money, and be treated like a king because they're paying the bills, while still insulting the lower class trash that wipes their bedsores after stroke #2. Unbelievably, some are even narcissistic and blind enough to talk about those kind of behaviors as though they are good things, and expect to be praised for it!
Sitting in that café, and reading about the “culture of confrontation,” I couldn’t help thinking: What was God up to, when he made the US? Did he decide to gather up all of the trash, all the human garbage from the planet, the dregs of humanity, and plunk them down in one particular country? Was this His idea of a joke, or was he trying to create an object lesson for the rest of the world: Don’t be like this!? Learn how to capitalize pronouns consistently?! It makes me scratch my beard and wonder.
Then other times, I wonder--is it just me, and a few other fat, rich, white pieces of crap who are that low? Maybe it was my own sense of entitlement that made me belittle the lower classes. Maybe the only reason Mexicans were so respectful to me is that they are working for $2 an hour to landscape the shrubs in front of my retirement casita. Maybe they're terrified of me because of the armed guards who patrol the gated community where me and the other white people took our retirement portfolios, because we had the sinking sense that almost everyone in our native country had the guts to hate us even though we had more money than they did.
But then I tell myself, no. Big no. It couldn't be that. It's just that Americans are trash. That's why I travel back to America so often to give paid lectures, and why America is the biggest source of sales for my books describing how dirty and worthless Americans are. I finished the New Yorker article, and felt so happy that I'd spent my life selling worthless liberal arts bachelor's degrees to people who are now unemployed.
It's not like everything I say about the world is the self-fulfilling prophecy of a hateful, money-glutted, poorly-groomed asshole. It's not like a bunch of Mexican peasant farmers and fishermen were dispossessed by a corrupt developer with close ties to the PRI machine in order to create tropical retirement housing for pompous American ex-pats, and then the dispossessed underclass has to be desperately kind to the white dollars in order to keep their jobs, leading to a delusional, arrogant ignorance on the part of wannabe outsider-onlookers like me. No. Couldn't be.
© MORRI$$ BEARMAN, 2013