Thursday, January 23, 2014

American Trust

Alexander Gordon is a Jewish-Russian journalist.

He came to American after the collapse of the Soviet Union, he became a star presenter on Russian immigrant television here. Later on he tired of being a big fish in a small pond of Russian-American television and moved back to the motherland and became a well know television personality.

Back in Russia he is known for his anti-American views. I don't know if they are a product of real disillusionment with the land of the free or if they are a way to compensate for his time abroad and the original decision to leave.

Anyway, recently I was watching an interview with him on Ukrainian television. In it he mentioned that all forests in America are filled with trash, that people here don't respect nature the way Russians do and that the African-American population has exploded to around 30% from 22% when he was around; a fictional growth that -for his prejudiced mind- indicates the disintegration of American society (as far as I know, the real number of black Americans remains steady at around 12%).

To close of his argument he mentioned that when he first immigrated here his family was working with a social worker who told him the American lesson her father imparted to her, "don't trust anyone."

"Then and there I understood that it is a poisonous credo and I refuse to live by it," Gordon concluded.

"I heard that you made a documentary that stated that Americans never landed on the moon," the host said to move the conversation along.

At that point, I thought Gordon's presentation of "don't trust anyone" as the quintessentially American credo was a little ridiculous. After all, in the cynical post-Soviet morass, there wasn't exactly a surplus of trust in Russia. It seemed to me that Gordon was projecting a painful Russian problem onto the American society.

Yesterday I was reading an unauthorized biography of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes The Loudest Voice in the Room; in the book Roger as a child is playing a game with his dad, his father tells Roger to jump and that his father would catch him once he did. Roger jumps, his father makes no attempt to catch him and the kid is hurt physically and emotionally.

Here papa Ailes imparts the key lesson of Roger's life, you guessed it, "don't trust anyone."

This was in Warren, Ohio. Can't get more American than that. I still don't buy the Gordon's idea that this is some sort of an American thesis but it is gave me something to think about.   

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