July 4th

Happy Independence Day!

Even though I’m British, I thought it deserved a mention. After all, who knows what would have happened if those aliens hadn’t been defeated…

Haha! Just kidding!

Seriously though, I’m a fan of America. Not always politically, and certainly it has its problems, but I can say the same of the UK and I haven’t moved to Canada yet. So here’s a quick tribute to some of the things I like about the US of A:

  • Superman – Immigrant child finds refuge and fulfillment in America, rising from humble origins to become one of the world’s great heroes; it’s the American Dream in miniture. Of course, that dream has a dark side too, and you could argue that Clark Kent and Lex Luthor represent the two sides of that dichotomy, but let’s accentuate the positive, it’s Independence Day.
  • Cowboy Badassery – Just an excuse to post this clip really. Plus sheriff’s badges are cool.

  • Thunder Road – The Bruce Springsteen song, and the archetypal story of wanting to get your girl and escape from the dead-end town you’ve been growing up in. Probably my favourite song ever, and while the theme is universal, the imagery (‘burned out chevrolets…’) is pure Americana.
  • The Big Bang Theory – This might seem a bit of an odd one given the other choices, but the USA is the epicentre of geek culture (the San Diego Comic Con is our mecca!), and The Big Bang Theory is a nice example of that – plus it’s my current favourite comedy show. What I love about it is that, if you know your geekery, you can almost join in with the jokes when they hit, not through predictability because you were thinking the exact same thing. Best example of this is their Christmas episode
  • The flags after 9-11 – In 2002, me and my friend Andy were in New York, and we paid the obligatory visit to Ground Zero. It was only a year or so after the destruction of the World Trade Center, and at church used as a refuge for the emergency services at the time was still covered in flags from around the country and the rest of the world. Amongst them all was an England flag signed by fans of West Bromwich Albion, the football team Andy supports. While it’s probably not all that unlikely, it seemed like a coincidence at the time, and so we found a pen and added our names to it – it seemed like the right thing to do. And that’s one of the moments that will always remain with me about my trips to New York – the stories of the victims of that day, the heroism of those who ran into the buildings to save innocent lives, and the flags of all those who wanted to stand by them in the tragedy. Forget the politics, I try to remember the people. The people and all those flags. God bless America.

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