sábado, 30 de octubre de 2010

Nacionalismo y Doug Stanhope

Todo periodista tiene cosas que le gustaría hacer y que sabe que nunca tendrá la oportunidad. Cuando se logra hacer alguna de esas cosas, eso es lo que se llama un buen día.
Esta semana escribí una columna para UWeekly en la que me limpiaba el trasero con el nacionalismo ciego de los americanos. Desde decirles que es una tontería odiosa hasta comentarles que hoy Musulmanes en su ejercito, mi característica acidez no se hizo extrañar. Sin embargo, poder citar al genial Doug Stanhope fue lo mejor de toda la columna. Aquí se las dejo.

OPINION: Nationalism: get rid of it
By Gabino Iglesias

Nationalism is, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "the attitude that the members of a nation have when they care about their identity as members of that nation." Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, here in the U.S., as with many other countries across the world, nationalism has turned into a negative thing: the belief that a group of people are better than others and that our chunk of land is better than, and needs to be protected from, other nations. After 9/11, everyone got sucked into a vortex of defensive, confrontational, uncritical nationalism. The result? Nationalism has now ceased to be a way of caring about the U.S. and its mixed heritage and identity, and has become the motor behind our war on terror and our hatred of immigrants, homosexuals and anything that's not deemed quintessentially "American."

Noam Chomsky, undoubtedly one of the greatest thinkers and dissenters of our time, regularly disparages nationalism in his books and talks. However, Chomsky is so damn brilliant that it can be hard for mere mortals to find a single powerful anti-nationalism snippet to hold on to. In that respect, I have to agree with one of my personal heroes, Charles Bukowski: "Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way." Enter comedian Doug Stanhope.

Stanhope is a genius. His brazen, eloquent, thought-provoking material, always delivered with an in-your-face, fuck-you-if-you-don't-like-it attitude, is a welcome oddity in today's mainstream-friendly, bland comedic landscape. In his special Doug Stanhope: No Refunds, the abrasive humorist spits out the following hilarious, poignant and honest diatribe:

"Nationalism does nothing but teach you how to hate people that you never met. And all of a sudden you take pride in accomplishments you had no part in whatsoever, and you brag about - and the Americans'll go, 'Fuck the French! Fuck the French, if we hadn't had saved their ass in two World Wars, they'd be speakin' German right now!' And you go, 'Oh, was that us?' Was that me and you, Tommy, we saved the French?'"

No, you didn't save the French. Likewise, you didn't help build the Transcontinental Railroad, the Panama Canal or Hoover Dam. What you have probably done is contentedly swallow historical inaccuracies and myths that make you believe this great country was created by whites, for whites. In fact, the average white, non-military American has done naught that would serve as the basis for their heartfelt nationalism.

Black and brown people have fought in every war to protect your freedom. Here's a good one: did you know that, according to the New York Sun, there are almost 4,000 devout Muslims in the U.S. army right now? Yeah, they're fighting the war on terror. A Pew Hispanic Center report shows that, along with those Muslims, there are about 110,000 Hispanics in the army, almost 10 percent of the active duty enlisted force. You want another color? The National Priorities Project Database reported that in 2004 African Americans represented 15 percent of all recruits nationwide. That's a lot of non-whites putting their lives on the line for a country that's not particularly known for embracing them.

I'll bring the point home, literally. UT is a Research 1 institution. A great part of that is due to the amazing, world-changing research that originates here. The fall enrollment reports published by the Office of Information Management and Analysis show that there are 5,186 doctoral students out of which 2,407 are white. That means that 54 percent of researchers here are non-white and, in many cases, from another country.

Enough numbers: our identity is hybrid. Embrace it and be proud of it: that should move us away from blind, restrictive nationalism. Wow. That was a long way of saying Doug Stanhope is right.

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