America: The Movie

If America was a movie, it would star two quite different types. The first would be the Puritan settler, the Lockean hard working soul, all character and inwardness, centered, existentially complex. The second would be the contemporary American, the performer, the personality, existing on the edge, serious (at least about themselves), smiling at the camera, gazing at all of us.

It is hard to find the Puritan settler type these days. He has become an endangered species, remembered fondly by a some cultural conservatives, but unmourned by the majority of contemporary Americans for whom this Puritan is an alien being. So if America was a movie, it would be distinguished by the absence of the Puritan. This would be a movie without a center. It would be a donut of a movie.

On the other hand, the second American, the performer, would be everywhere in this movie. To preview this performing personality, just go to My Space. Technology allied with a culture of narcissism has conspired to make this second American triumphant. Personalization is ubiquitous. Welcome to the age of my space, my movie, my america.

And if America was a movie, who would direct it? We all would, of course. It would be about us, our space, our movie, our america. We'd film it on our camcorder and then put it up on YouTube, which could equally be named OurTube or MyTube and we'd watch it time after time.

But there's a problem with this movie. This second American, version 2.0, the performer, won't pay to watch himself. So the only way to finance this movie is to bundle it with advertising. Therefore, America: The Movie would be a horror film, a union of narcissism and flashing interstitials, unnatural, half My Space half YouTube.