I think a lot about what it means to be an American. That’s not because being American is a decision I’ve made — I was born in Massachusetts, and my family has been here for at least a couple generations. I’m a big fan of the big-shoulders brashness Americans have, our ability to say what we mean and go for what we want, and the fact that we talk loudly and wear sweatpants on airplanes.
In part, I think about “American-ness” a lot because my husband emigrated to the United States and nothing throws your home culture into sharp relief more than being around someone who’s not from it.
But in much larger part, it’s because there are certain things that are an enormous part of American life in which I just have zero interest. And that, more than almost anything else, makes me wonder what it actually means, this whole American thing.
Exhibit one (and the biggest, fattest, one of all): I have NO INTEREST in the Superbowl, or indeed in organized sports in general. I know organized sports, and even hysteria over said sports, isn’t a specifically American thing (google “football riot” if you don’t believe me) — but, not surprisingly, we do it in a specifically American way. With binge eating/drinking. And hugely expensive commercials.
The dangers associated with football, and the huge role the sport has taken in how we (as a nation, not necessarily you, or you, or you) raise our raise our children, trouble me, yes. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I feel like, in not being interested in the Superbowl — which is basically a big, fat affirmation of our “U.S.A!”-ness, I’m alienating myself from my countrymen and -women. And it’s not like I feel all churlish about it and would hold some kind of anti-Superbowl party with tofu wings, or make a big deal about the Puppybowl. I just don’t care. Superbowl Sunday is, for me, just another day. And I don’t even look for the ads online.
So here’s my question: What makes you Un-American? Or Un-Canadian? Do you hate french fries? Do you have no interest in Disneyland/world? Do you believe the Protestant ethic is essentially invalid? Are you some kind of communist? (Just kidding on that last one.)