Dear Hugh 11
My dear, dear, American visitors please look away now; I love and value you but our correspondent has a slight downer on all things American today....
Comments welcome, as ever.
Thursday June 30th
Today I received your note seeking help for ideas of what to feed your imminent American visitors.
I quite understand your panic and I agree, what do they eat that can be freshly-prepared? Search me, son. I've always felt that everything Over There comes out a packet, including most of the people. I think it's because they don't like to waste time cooking as they need every spare moment for cribbing up at their night class studies of how to behave civilly like the rest of the human race.
If in doubt, as you clearly are, it's probably the safest bet to just point them towards your dog's bowl. Judging by my experience of American culinary habits, they will notice no difference from home cooking.
I'm not sure whether I told you this but I'm convinced that the events of the past five years or so have now culminated in the situation where there are only two Super Powers left on the planet. Super Power 1 is America, evidently. Super Power 2 is World Opinion.
And World Opinion (led by mine) now has it that America should be given an ASBO.
Are you familiar with ASBOs in France? Despite the frightful sound of it, this acronym does not in fact indicate some child in callipers, nor does it reference what used to be whispered about the preferred proclivities of my biology mistress at school. No, an ASBO is what those illiterate twats in Whitehall decided to dub a smack on the wrist, or in their parlance an Anti-Social Behaviour Order.
Basically, if you come home to your tower block drunk, beat the living daylights out of your wife and kids, shag the dog and then nip round to next door to set fire to their place and head-butt any firefighters dispatched to sort out your mess, then you are awarded an ASBO.
In essence that means that you get to have your name in the paper citing you as a local lout and then an ITV film crew pops by to make a reality TV series about you.
Although in grudging fairness to Whitehall, such leniency was not what they had in mind when they came up with the idea for ASBOs at four in the morning after smoking a lot of weed.
What it was meant to be was the society equivalent of one of those "this is your last chance" scoldings that wives terrifying dish out to us chaps whenever we do something as subversive as sigh when a bit of tentative Saturday morning fumbling elicits the announcement that can't you bloody see that she's still got that headache she's had since 1908.
The general point is that ASBOs do not work to deter loutishness any much more effectively than being told "you smell, because you do" in the playground. That, of course, is because Britain's politics and police departments are patrolled by pansies who fail to understand that the Hitler Theory Of Punishment ("you smite me, I incinerate your nation") is the only deterrent worth a shout.
But, unusually, I digress. What I am trying to suggest is that we in The Rest Of The World should all gang up and slip America an ASBO in a brown envelope (probably getting somebody dead thick like the Malaysians to deliver it) at the G8 pro-celebrity bash at Gleneagles.
After the Americans have called in Canada to read it to them, they will inevitably start squealing "why?" like stuck pigs and it is at that point that we push Belgium to the front of the line to tell them that we've had it up to the back teeth with their recent foreign policy because it is utterly anti-social. I suppose you could make a good case for just being American is sufficiently anti-social, but best not to complicate matters as immigrant nations such as the US tend to have learning difficulties and we'll be there all night if we have to get into that one.
Up until this morning, this was - as I am sure you will agree - a corking idea. But then I picked up The Daily Mail at the breakfast tableau and to my horror I read what I fear that any American lawyer (which, let's face it, means two thirds of the bloody country) would seize upon as a US defence against an ASBO.
The particular excuse that I suspect they will hit upon was that which the Mail reported was used by the lawyers defending one Brian Blackwell Jnr.
I'm not sure whether you are familiar with Brian Blackwell Jnr. - and if you are, I advise you to kick him down the stairs. Brian Blackwell Jnr. is a young tyke (19) who got straight A grades at A-level, was studying medicine at Nottingham University and was a general all-round clever clogs who slightly blotted things by killing his parents.
He duffed up his Dad with a claw-hammer before stabbing him 30 times (not with the hammer, obviously; the Blackwells were the sort of happy middle classers who commanded more than one utensil) and then set about thwacking and knifing his mother. He then left their bodies ("to rot" said the Mail with unnecessary detail) and buggered off to run up bills of $45,000 on their credit cards.
Quite evidently, the young Blackwell should spend the rest of his natural days in solitary with his balls caught in a vice. And so he surely would have done had it not been for his brief, who said that far from being guilty of the murder that is obvious to even a blind horse, he was answerable only to a couple of counts of manslaughter because of his "narcissistic personality disorder".
His what? Ignoring for a moment that the inspired luminary who thought up "narcissistic personality disorder" probably gets his gear from the same dealer who services Whitehall, what on earth is it?
Quoting from the Mail, I can tell you that this apparently excusable condition is a mental illness which makes you "obsessed with fantasies of your success, power and brilliance".
So who does that remind you of?
Exactly. What is the difference between doing in a couple of old souls with weapons from the shelves of Do-It-All and blowing their credit and invading with tanks to siphon off all the oil like the Yanks are doing in Iraq?
Logically, the crime is exactly the same and so is the delusion. And probably, just like Blackwell Jnr. (who will be out in seven years), the Septics will get away with their bludgeoning and fleecing too.
Naturally, the prospect of America remaining guilt-less depressed me to the level of one on a manslaughter rap, but that was until I hit on a better wheeze.
In attempting to study the American brain (with a microscope) I discovered the key to controlling their outrageous behaviour. Forget all of those diplomatic protests and not asking them to garden parties, the one thing that really gets to them is economic rebukes.
As anyone who has ever read Death Of A Salesman knows, Americans fear nothing except poverty.
And if we want them to stop decimating Afganistan and Iraq whilst eyeing up Iran and North Korea, the only way to do it is for The Rest Of Us to say "right, that's it, shift your troops home again or we're going to stop buying Marlboro, Miller Lite and all of those other products with names that you are incapable of spelling correctly".
That would do it, world peace at one stroke of the cheque book. If Americans thought that a global trade embargo would prevent them from owning the ludicrously-large homes that they seemingly need to house their ludicrously-large backsides and egos, they'd never bomb anywhere ever again.
And whilst we are on the subject of poverty, somebody ought to get a note up to the boys at the G8 to tell them not to stop giving Chinese Burns to the American delegates until they agree to what I hear that lickspittle Blair is calling "the climate question".
Apparently the inside word is that the US is quite prepared to cave in on cancelling Third World Debt and this making poverty nostalgic lark (as they can afford to, now that they've filtched all of that Iraqi oil) just as long as no Smart Alec pushes them on the ecology matter. My man in Bush's rectum (christened Anthony) tells me that there is absolutely no way that the World's Biggest Polluter will cut back on emissions etc. because that will cost them a packet in lost profiteering.
Has nobody the courage to inform these imbeciles that whilst allowing famine in Africa is nothing other than a mortal sin, the actual No.1 priority at the G8 should be refurbishing the Earth - because if we don't sort that out we won't even have a planet to starve on.
But what's the use? The Yanks will get their own way, just as they always had done since they managed to convince a generation that The Osmonds were a rock and roll band.
As to your plea for a recipe for your American guests, I can only suggest that you follow the following way of making Chilli Con Carne. But, given their nationality, I recommend that you add three extra teaspoons of chilli powder; in order to give them the s***s that they are.
Good luck with attempting with what they believe passes for conversation.