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Jewish World Review August 20, 2004 / 3 Elul, 5764

Tom Purcell

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Boo for America! | It's not easy being the world's only superpower.

If the Olympic games are any measure, the world hates us. When our athletes take the lead, the audience boos. When our opponents take the lead, the audience cheers.

I understand why they hate us. We're the richest country in the world. We're the most productive. We'd be the freest, too, if Massachusetts wasn't one of our states.

Our ideas work. Freedom. The rule of law. The pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. All of it works. Our land has become one of unimaginable prosperity as a result, and so they hate us.

And they hate us because nobody can stop us. While much of the world is ruled by brutal dictators who lop off heads, massacre thousands or keep their countries in perpetual poverty, America enjoys stability.

While most people in the world feel helpless in the face of their woes, they hate us for the way we responded to ours. When Osama and the boys blew up our buildings, we struck back with a fury — we're still striking with fury. We're making solid progress shutting down Binny boy's terrorist networks, and we've invaded two countries in the process.

Boy, they really hate us for that. Heck, a good number of our own people hate the Bush administration for that. There's a lot of argument over whether or not Iraq was the right move, but the fact is, despite some of the problems we face there now, America has demonstrated a dazzling display of might since 911, and for that the world hates us.

During a soccer event in Mexico in February, the Mexicans not only rooted against the U.S. team — and we lost that Olympic qualifying event — they rooted for our enemy. "Osama, Osama, Osama," they chanted. Keep it up, my Mexican friends, and America will boycott Taco Bell.

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As a result of all this hatred, U.S. Olympic officials have told our athletes to put a lid on it. To prevent more hostility, they told our athletes not to parade the flag around or act brash when they win. To wit: they told Americans not to be Americans.

Our basketball team sure did take the hint. Our team is comprised of spoiled brats who make more in a week than most of us do in a year — more in a day than a lot of people in the world make in a lifetime.

And they lost. They lost to Puerto Rico. They almost lost to Greece. Hey, fellows, I agree with U.S. Olympics officials on this one. I don't want you anywhere near our flag. Maybe the French will let you wrap yourselves in theirs.

Despite our loser basketball players, and a few other embarrassments, it's been difficult to quell the American spirit. We'll take home more medals than any other country, to be sure, but here is where Americans will really excel: we'll take home all the money.

Nothing is more American than our ability to seize an opportunity to make some dough. That is why high-jumping babe Amy Acuff is on the cover of Playboy magazine, and is writing a daily diary on the Playboy Web site. That is why Logan Tom, a gorgeous American volleyball player, is featured in FFM wearing a bikini.

Heck, even if they lose, they and other American female athletes will convert their Olympics appearances into lucrative endorsements and modeling contracts — so long as they have the looks of Anna Kournikova.

And it was American capitalistic hubris that caused a guy in a tutu to jump into the Olympic pool. He was promoting an American gambling Web site. He breeched security, then disrobed to reveal quite an outfit: ballet slippers, tights and a blue tutu.

While the Greek security guards were thinking "Who is the attractive lady?", Americans knew better. We knew it was a Canadian guy paid to humiliate himself on behalf of an American company.

The world hates us for that, too.

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© 2004 Tom Purcell