What I learned after moving to America and getting a job at Chipotle (part4)

Field Research: Day 135

In March of 2016, I traveled to China for two weeks to officiate a friend’s wedding. Upon my return, the restaurant manager waved me over and greeted me. She was sitting with one of the middle-managers. She said, “We are getting all new furniture for the restaurant. Chairs and tables.” Continue reading “What I learned after moving to America and getting a job at Chipotle (part4)”

The Real Reason Americans Are ’Anti-Establishment’

Field Research: Day 92

I am requested to mail out a small package so I walk four blocks south and find the post office. The building is a tasteful white stone structure with flush walls interrupted by tall steel windows. The top of the structure is adorned with subtle Greek Revival details and capped with a simple cornice that accommodates neat black letters:

United States Post Office Seattle Washington

University Station 98105

Continue reading “The Real Reason Americans Are ’Anti-Establishment’”

President Bert Karlsson

Dear Sweden,

Here in America, the Donald-Elect will become president in exactly five minutes. Through a Chicago Cubs-induced upset, the Donald-Elect will be sworn in as president of the central government and general secretary of the federal military commission. The rise of the Donald-Elect is a helpful indicator—much like a cup of liquid barium given to a patient by a radiologist—that will reveal the exact location of American society in the lower tract of the corkscrew model of development. Continue reading “President Bert Karlsson”

A Toxic Brand of Identity Politics

One of our big problems now is that the liberal imagination does not have a place of honor for heterosexual white guys who are middle-aged and vote republican. They are somehow all the oppressor. They are all the enemy. They are the Other. They themselves don’t feel that way. They feel like they are always on the downside of everything—economically and culturally. They don’t know where to turn. But you never see the NAACP or the National Organization for Women or the Sierra Club or anybody else go and check on those guys. It would be almost laughable. And yet—somebody should have checked on those guys in the last ten or twenty or thirty years. And nobody did, but a guy named Donald Trump.
–Van Jones

Continue reading “A Toxic Brand of Identity Politics”

The Thanksgiving

Dear Sweden,

Here in America, the observance of Thanksgiving Day falls on the fourth Thursday of November. During the week of Thanksgiving, mainstream Americans meander through their local communities and greet each other by saying, “We are celebrating that we killed all the Native Americans.”

The appropriate ceremonial response is, “And we stole their land.” Continue reading “The Thanksgiving”

The Loneliest Woman in America

Dear Sweden,

Here in America, Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held a swing-state campaign rally on the day before the great voting ceremony. She was flanked by high-profile celebrities: Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Bon Jovi, LeBron James, Katy Perry. When we observe this rally through the lens of history, we can clearly see that Hillary Clinton—standing on a stage, surrounded by people—was the embodiment of loneliness. Her candidacy—isolated and lifeless—was supported by a $650 million pyrotechnical masterpiece, but not a single American heart was filled with excitement. Continue reading “The Loneliest Woman in America”

The Curse of the Chicago Cubs

Dear Sweden,

Here in America, many people believe in sports-related folkloristic superstition. Unlike folklore in the old country, belief is widespread and not limited to elderly rural populations. One notable memorat of folk belief is the curse levied against the Chicago Cubs baseball team. According to popular legend, a man was expelled from Wrigley Field during the 1945 World Series because the odor of his pet goat was bothering people around him. The disgruntled man proclaimed that the Cubs would never again win the World Series—or at least not win until the world was ending. Continue reading “The Curse of the Chicago Cubs”

Italy—as seen from the shores of America

Dear Sweden,

Here in America, you can learn a lot about the world. You can order a caffe latte. Your drinking experience will act as a tiny window into Italian culture. You can also enjoy a breve latte. This is a coffee drink prepared by mixing an espresso shot with steamed “Half & Half” (an American dairy product containing 18% fat, compare: kaffegrädde). The breve latte is always ordered in the largest available size and usually contains more than 3000 calories. Continue reading “Italy—as seen from the shores of America”

The Tyranny of Their Breakfast Cereal

Dear Sweden,

Here in America, I eat a lot of breakfast cereal. I have a cupboard full of cereal boxes and I arrange them based on nutrition: the healthiest on the left (GoLean) and the deadliest on the right (Cocoa Puffs). A few days ago, I stood in my kitchen—waiting for the election to be over—and perused the “Nutrition Facts” on the side of each box. I went from box to box, calculating calories per gram, and it slowly dawned on me that they all contained about 400 calories per 100 grams. I heard myself say: “I have made a huge mistake.” Continue reading “The Tyranny of Their Breakfast Cereal”