Ask Aunt Sophie
By: Judith Weizner
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Dear Aunt Sophie,
Just when I need you, you fall off the edge of the earth. Your countrymen are saying nasty things about me and you disappear. So typically American.
As you may or may not know (I can't be sure since you Americans do not seem especially informed about the wider world), there was a catastrophe in Asia. Your disdain for the Kyoto treaty caused an earthquake which touched off a tsunami and left many thousands of people dead and many more without food or shelter.
My problem? I run an organization that helps people in need, which means I am a player on the global stage. The other day, in my official capacity, I happened to remark that I think your country is stingy. Predictably, I suppose, your fellow consumers were stung by the accuracy of my statement and started trying to justify themselves, blathering on about how much they give privately as opposed to publicly, etc., etc, or, as one of your childish expressions puts it, yada, yada, yada. Nevertheless, what I said is true. It is a repulsive trait of Americans - the richer you grow, the less you give.
Of course we Europeans don't care what you give or don't give privately. Private giving is discretionary. It doesn't count. What counts is government giving - that is, giving when you are told to do so. Private people may choose to give, but they may also choose not to. Now do you see why this is inferior? Under your system, some people may not give anything!
Everyone must give. Everyone.
Before he is even born, the tiniest American baby has more than these poor people. That baby must be made to give. Do you think for one minute that any baby would freely give anything to someone else? Of course not. How can you make a baby give? Only through taxation.
Another thing - you Americans all have pets. You even keep fish in fishbowls. Fish are food. Don't you realize that when you feed a goldfish you are feeding food? Instead of wasting precious resources on them you should be sending those goldfish where they can do some good.
I know you Americans pay a large share of my organization's bills, which is only right, so after I spoke I realized my statement may have been a little too direct and I tried to soften it a little by explaining that I hadn't really been talking about your country. But I don't think I was believed.
How can I undo the effects of this statement so that your countrymen/women will not despise my organization?
PS - I have always hated this stupid nickname which I have had since first grade. How can I get rid of it?
If you're tired of your childhood nickname just tell people that from now on you wish to be known by a name that suits you better, something like Adolf or Mao. Or maybe Uncle Joe. After all, our baby - the one you would require to ante up the loot from his baby shower - would probably find it easier to think of you as Uncle until his world view expands to include self-righteous Nordic muggers with diplomatic license plates and mountains of unpaid parking tickets.
One weekend refresher in diplomacy school should hone your skill in the art of making truly offensive statements without seeming offensive.
For starters, you should never have used the "s" word. Instead, you should have said something like "I wish I could say that the most generous nation on earth had exceeded itself in its response to this global tragedy by forking over 300% of its GNP to my organization, but unfortunately it has not seen fit to do so," so that later you could point out that you had in fact been praising America by calling it the most generous country on earth.
But if such exquisite subtlety isn't your cup of grog, you could just have said, "I think you're a nation of spoiled brats who use too much of the world's resources to power your SUV's, and while other people are starving all you can think about is keeping more of your own money (just look at the way you will follow any idiot who promises you a tax cut, even though he can't pronounce "nuclear", lies about weapons of mass destruction and doesn't speak French), but please don't get the idea I don't think well of you and besides I still covet whatever I can wring from you."
Oops - that is pretty much what you did say, isn't it? And am I the only one who missed the part about your thinking well of us?
Eggsie, I'm afraid you made what our illiterate masses refer to as a Freudian slip. But that's not altogether a bad thing. A few more statements like that and I'll bet some American citizen will undertake a private fundraiser to build your organization a beautiful new headquarters. In Paris or Geneva. Or on the moon.
Good luck and God bless.
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