I’m being suckered here:
Dear Jan Herman,
Thanks very much for your attention to my work! And if you have any doubts that “America”
is a pro American text, you can check it out: http://www.america-is.com/press. (It is for your reading
Paulo José Miranda
Miranda is charging five bucks on the America-is site to read all 99
points of his peculiar “America” essay. But I’m probably doing exactly what he hopes I’d do by
offering the free link above to anyone who cares to click on it. [The link is now unlinked. See
postscript. — JH]
In fact, I initially had no doubts that Miranda had created some very weird, well-designed, right-wing
propaganda. He seemed to me besotted with America, although I was fairly puzzled and not really sure
of what Miranda was after. I now believe he’s written a spoof, though it’s done so confusingly it is
hard to spot. Some of the confusion is the result of his prose style. It is stiffer than a starched
collar. Also, points that are seemingly straightforward often hide more overt criticism. Anyway
He certainly is anti-French:
28. Every American has the duty of interrupting the love that isn’t right. To
love someone who doesn’t suit us, who doesn’t suit the life of any of the two, to love someone
who doesn’t love us or doesn’t know how to love us is to be anti-American. Therefore, America
cannot love France, that barrel of envy at the center of Europe. It must respect it and pray for it to
fall into step, fall into step with the world.
He reflects the Jann Wenner worldview:
30. Rock music made children and teenagers participate in the world. Before
rock appeared, the world was an adult only type of thing. America did more for the non-adults
than anyone else in history. Coca-Cola made teenagers sit around a table and talk.
31. That which made America greater than the rest was understanding — for the first time in
the world — those on their way to being adults.
He believes Americans mutilate the world, but their vilest act is stealing its heart:
42. That which is, must be defended with all weapons in the world, even if it
means defending it from the very world; even if it means defending it from what eats away on the
inside, on the inner side of the worlds body. If need be the world can have an amputation; without
a leg the world can live, without the heart it dies.
He deconstructs the way America declares its inviolability in the name of the people:
43. The world took time to reach America. America is the genie of
humankind. It is not to be destroyed neither the genie, nor humankind.
He declares America’s lack of principles:
44. America loves those who work and those who dont. America loves those
who love God and those who dont. America loves those who think and those who dont. America
loves those who die for her and those who kill for her. America even loves those who kill inside
her and those who traffic inside her and those who prostitute inside her, although, at the same
time, she feels free not to love any of these. America loves almost everyone and almost
And criticizes its one-dimensional concepts of good and evil:
45. America doesnt love those who dont love her.
And America’s imperial universalism:
46. God or genetics granted ontological freedom to human beings (the need of
choice); America granted them social and political freedom. The revolution carried out in France,
not only began with the independence of the United States of America but also reached maturity
in that country. America is the birthplace of modern democracy inasmuch as Ancient Greece was
the birthplace of ancient democracy. The French Revolution that began in America will only fulfill
its true objectives when it covers all countries in the world. This is the task of America today.
What is right in the world must be right for all. All have the right to be right.
And its obsession with materialism:
47. America didnt invent money; it gave value to money.
No. 48 is very abstract and suggests how the American dream (hope) is its greatest feat of
48. There is hope everywhere. But it definitely grows more in the fertile fields
and cities of America. Of necessity, hope grows more where there are more dreams. Hope: that
which isn’t pulling that which is; that which is still desired imposing on that which is already had.
Hope prevents humankind from falling down from itself.
I guess he hasn’t spoken with a couple of expatriates I know:
49. No one ever wanted to escape from America.
And our philistinism in art:
50. America had the need to start everything anew. Not only did America start
the world anew it also started art anew. American art carries in it already the awareness of
entertainment. For America, art draws people forward and doesnt go forward leaving people
And then he gets into shaky ground, which often makes the whole thing confusing:
51. Jazz is music starting anew.
Jazz is overly material and lacks idealism — though he mixes praise here since Blacks are
52. Jazz springs from people into the abstraction of music; ancient music
begins already in the heavens, waiting for people to get there.
And American ethnocentricity which is comparable to ancient Greek city-states:
53. After Ancient Greece, only America had the power to create new myths.
Aside from all the myths it created, America is in itself a myth. When one says America, meaning
the USA, much more is said than a word or a country. To say America is a sort of abracadabra, a
magic word. No country, since modern times, was able to achieve this dimension of magic but
America. When one says America it is as if an Ancient Greek would say: being or its negation.
54. What resembles America the most are the former state-cities of Ancient
Obviously a poke at Bush’s methods of attacking those who criticize his oil war and at the
Mccarthyism of old:
55. Much more than death, what scared an Ancient Greek was the possibility
of being expelled from his city. What scares an American the most is the possibility of ceasing to
be American, the possibility of being accused of betraying the homeland.
He’s a pissed guy from a little country:
56. America would be nothing without the world. Only America could be this
way, no other country.
Radical will and imperialism is a central part of all Fascism:
61. The American constitution is a written thing; Americas will isnt something
you write down. Americas will drives me forward.
62. America knows that bread isnt for all. America knows that reading isnt for
all. America knows that learning isnt for all. America knows that money isnt for all. America
knows that sitting down isnt for all. America knows that theres way too much cold for all.
America knows that rain isnt enough for all. America knows that being born is not for all.
America knows that it cannot stop.
Commercialism leads to cultural imperialism:
63. The life of America remains open if we forget to close the refrigerator.
The life of America heats up food in two minutes. The life of America is heard from afar. The life
of America is seen by all.
He’s a European pissed at the loss of cultural autonomy:
64. One who doesnt know what is America doesnt exist.
And on and on. Very European, very contradictory in its insights, but also with elements of
envious and sniffling resentments. Once the Portugese had the power and did the same thing — as
in Brazil. If they had the power they would do it again.
Postscript: Miranda mia! He has objected to my posting the link to his 99 points. He
considers it an infringement on his property rights: “I believe that a writing text is as important as
a piece of land someone owes.”[sic] Presumably, he means “owns.” So I’ve unlinked it.