« Stick A Fork In America »

Okay, last night Kelli and I got an unexpected package from her grandmother in Florida. Actually, her grandmother ordered this stuff from some catalog shop to come to us. One thing was a cast or molded pig that is cute as a button and comes with a variety of outfits for different seasons. Cute. Really cute. The other thing is a little votive candle holder that looks like a small painted pickle jar dressed up in a wash of beige paint with a bit of patriotic stuff on it—a heart with the stars and stripes inside its boundary, and some little cute sayings on it.

They were both made in China.

I understand the pig being made in China. That is exactly the stuff that you anticipate would be made there. But the candle holder looked exactly like the sorts of things you buy at a craft fair where some 63 year old overweight suburban or rural grandma is selling her wares. Folk art is all it is. But this was just dripping in the sentimentality of the post-9/11 America that wants to wrap itself in the flag to feel good about itself. But what the fuck? It's made in fucking CHINA! Some say irony is dead, but I beg to differ. What is it about us now? We have to buy our patriotic knick knacks from CHINA??? Whatever happened to good old homespun arts and crafts that are made by people you know, or who could be found in a place like your own? Why aren't these grannies here making these things to sell the same way as this shit from China? Are retired suburban grannies commanding too high a price now, that even China is cheaper? Is America so hard up to satisfy its need to feel warm and fuzzy about itself that it has to import cheap knockoffs of the stuff that people made here with their own toil and passion? You don't think the grannies are making stuff that celebrates the communist party and shipping that stuff over to China, do you?

I think my wedding and the gifts we got would not have been possible were it not for China. On the other hand, recently, while cleaning out my garage, I discovered that I had a blue plastic funnel (ideal for pouring oil into the engine of my truck) that was made in the Good Ol' USA. It was on the ground. One day, I shall cherish it for being among the last known items that were made in America. It was probably made by some out of work defense or auto worker who used to get some great salary and could live with dignity. Hey, don't laugh. Michael Moore showed us that out of work GM employees had the option of making lint rollers as their contribution to the greatness that is America. My fear is that one day, we will have no oil and even the funnel making shop will close up, and those workers will be shit outta luck.

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