Michelle Malkin linked to a website which shows how europeans (some would say 'euro-peon') choose to view America. The images are dark and disturbing. The people portrayed are blinded and are screaming in silence - either through pain, anger or aggression. They represent various elements (I'm guessing) of American culture. The flag is on ubiquitous display. Each photo utilizes items that your everyday, typical American would do - put on a Klan outfit and snarl; grab your Dell laptop, and squeeze into a priests' vestments; sit around in your underwear and munch popcorn. These images are twisted but Art is supposed to be active and engaging. These are true to form, in that sense.
Sarcasm aside, I usually don't get upset when it comes to Art. Artists are supposed to be iconoclasts. Art is supposed to breakthrough and engage you on a mythic level. The symbols are timeless and savage. Religion, Mythologoy and Art are inextricably intertwined. That is just the way it it.
I know, I know, your first reaction to the photoset is anger. It's like a slap in the face. You see these and say, "Come on! That is not how our culture is...they're making a mokery! They don't understand."
I would ask you, Dear Reader, to suspend your anger because I'm going to let you in on a little secret.
The europeans are in love with us.
That's right. If you ask your typical Frenchman or German, they know more about US history than most high school sophomores. They love our music, our 'bluejeans', our cuisine, our wines, our luxuries and - yes - our freedoms. They love all things American. That is not to say that all of them love us - just like us, Europeans get to read only the most salacious and controversial news that trickles out of our own media. So they 'across the big pond' have a very skewed idea of what goes on here. They think that we're out of control with sex, with money and with violence. They think we're all racist Klansmen running around with guns - the Cowboy mentality.
The ones that have visited the US are much less sanguineous. They differentiate between what the media portrays and what's really going on. So when you see or hear some EU trashtalking, take it in stride.
Officially: They love to hate us. When the cameras are off, the lights turned down low and the cabernet sauvignon is being poured - the fire in their eyes ignite as they begin to tell you about the first time they heard "Blue Suede Shoes".
Reminds me of the quote by WH Auden - "Between friends differences in taste or opinion are irritating in direct proportion to their triviality."