Your Daily Reading Assignment

Don’t get me wrong; the United States has not gone nearly as batshit in the last week as we did after 9/11 on the torture-and-stripping-civil-liberties front (and we haven’t declared war on the Tsarnaevs’ native Chechnya — or, worse, mistakenly declared war on the Czech Republic — which, after the Bush Administration, feels like a laudable bit of restraint on our part). But maybe we haven’t gone as crazy as before because, after Bush-era wiretapping laws and Guantanamo and too many other terrible policies that President Obama has failed to defuse, we just don’t have that many rights left to chuck into the fire.

Paul Constant

Really, it’s worth your time, whether a fellow American or international neighbor, to read through Paul Constant’s open letter to Canadians for Prairie Dog, a Saskatchewan alternative newspaper, about life in these United States:

Weird America (detail)You guys, it’s getting weird down here.

Don’t get me wrong. Life in the United States is often weird, because we’re petrified of being bored. There’s always some actor who says something outrageous for us to swoon and bleat over, or some bored office worker who scrabbles together a perfect stop-motion Lego copy of the original Star Wars trailer. None of it is particularly meaningful, but there’s always more of it, at least; there’s always something new to gawp at. We’ve always been relentlessly weird.

The Boston bombing, ricin-laced mail, rights versus security, Alex Jones, and even Michael Jackson. How does all that tie together? Well, take a few minutes and find out.

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