Will McAvoy's rant on the U.S.A.

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By Tom Holmes

Contributing Reporter / Religion Blogger

Will McAvoy

It's (U.S.A.) not the greatest country in the world, professor, that's my answer.

 [to the liberal panelist] Sharon, the NEA is a loser. Yeah, it accounts for a penny out of our paychecks, but he [gesturing to the conservative panelist] gets to hit you with it anytime he wants. It doesn't cost money, it costs votes. It costs airtime and column inches. You know why people don't like liberals? Because they lose. If liberals are so  smart, how come they lose so ALWAYS.

And [to the conservative panelist] with a straight face, you're going to tell students that America's so starspangled awesome that we're the only ones in the world who have freedom? Canada has freedom, Japan has freedom, the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia, Belgium has freedom. Two hundred seven sovereign states in the world, like 180 of them have freedom.

And you—sorority girl—yeah—just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day, there are some things you should know, and one of them is that there is absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we're the greatest country in the world. We're seventh in literacy, twenty-seventh in math, twenty-second in science, forty-ninth in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, number four in labor force, and number four in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of whom are allies. None of this is the fault of a 20-year-old college student, but you, nonetheless, are without a doubt, a member of the WORST-period-GENERATION-period-EVER-period, so when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don't know what you're talking about?! Yosemite?!!!

We sure used to be. We stood up for what was right! We fought for moral reasons, we passed and struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were, and we never beat our chest. We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and cultivated the world's greatest artists and the world's greatest economy. We reached for the stars, and we acted like men. We aspired to intelligence; we didn't belittle it; it didn't make us feel inferior. We didn't identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we didn't scare so easy. And we were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men, men who were revered. The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one—America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.

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Tom Holmes  

Posted: January 5th, 2015 4:16 PM

Thanks, Friar Tuck. From now on I'll add some context when I'm posting someone else's stuff. The context for this one is that I don't necessarily agree with all he says and certainly not his tone but I do say he made me thing.

Ed Anger  

Posted: January 4th, 2015 6:53 PM

Figures that "Juan Birch" is a French Surrender Monkey! U-S-A! U-S-A! Number 1!

Winter Skye  

Posted: January 3rd, 2015 1:01 PM

@RF Dan: How can I reason with someone who thinks health care is getting poisoned with chemo? LOL--up is down...We have all this health intervention but it's hardly care.

Juan Birch  

Posted: January 3rd, 2015 10:36 AM

Thanks, but I've been to the UK a number of times, and to everywhere else I mentioned (OK, except Sweden). I'm going to sign off this thread, now, so you and Ed and the other like minded folks can cuddle together under a giant American flag and whisper sweet nothings about how there's no place like home while the rest of the world moves ahead of us in one key area after the next. Au revoir! P.S., I love it here, too.

RF Dan  

Posted: January 3rd, 2015 7:39 AM

The US still leads the world in tech advancements, medical/pharma, has the strongest economy by far, our military is 10x larger than any other and protects millions (not just US citizens). When there is a plane crash they call the NTSB, Ebola breakout - Center for Disease Control. There is no top 10 list for countries, but I feel fortunate to be born here..go travel a bit before making inaccurate comments Juan

RF Dan  

Posted: January 3rd, 2015 7:30 AM

Juan - obviously you have never been to the UK, they have great facilities and doctors, but it takes months to receive cancer treatments ..weeks for C scans, go to the Mayo clinic in Rochester MN and just hang in the airport for a few hours, patients arriving from all over the world are not coming for elective procedures. I have been to West Suburban ER in the last year, it sucked but is far better than in some of the countries you noted.

Juan Birch  

Posted: January 3rd, 2015 2:21 AM

Stop in the ER some night at West Sub or Loyola or Stroger to see the streams of people coming in for everything from bad toothaches to emergency deliveries for moms who've had no prenatal care. That's where we fall way short. Yes, the new Rush is beautiful, so is U of C and Northwestern. Top specialists, great care. That's where your wealthy Brit friends are going, and typically for elective procedures, BTW. But this is all off point. Please point out any innacuracies cited in the orig column.

RF Dan  

Posted: January 2nd, 2015 11:50 PM

Juan - I do not need to read up, I have encountered first hand the outstanding healthcare systems in UK and Canada. The systems are best at long wait times even if it means deceased patients, which does bring down costs. I do not have first hand knowledge of Sweden or Japan but you have no idea what you are talking about if you even compare US standards to Canada and Britain. Costs are paid by the state which comes back to residents in monster tax rates and poor care

Juan Birch  

Posted: January 2nd, 2015 5:55 PM

Not "bashing our country" in any way, shape or form. We build great some great edifices as hospitals and have some of the best medical technology anywhere, but we do a poor job of providing quality care for the masses. Hospitals in communities with a bad "payer mix" are screwed, while the ones that cater to the wealthy and well-insured are swimming in revenue. Not true in UK, Japan, Taiwan, Sweden, Canada and elsewhere. Their costs are also much lower than ours. Suggest you read up & learn.

RF Dan  

Posted: January 2nd, 2015 5:17 PM

Juan- review healthcare in Europe, the vast majority of drugs are from U.S. companies, their "universal" healthcare just means substandard care for all. I had a co-worker with a brain tumor in the UK... in the US immediate care..in the UK a two month wait which was a death warrant. Wealthy Brits come to the US and pay cash for serious medical issues. U.S. not perfect..never has been, but please compare apples to apples if bashing our country

Juan Birch  

Posted: January 2nd, 2015 3:30 PM

...So to call them "wussies" is simply ignorant, and I don't care whether you were there or not. I'm talking about Europe and the rest of the world of 70 years later in 2015, not 1945. No one's saying Europe or Canada are perfect, but for God's sake, neither is the U.S. There are things going on around the world that way surpass what we're doing here -- high speed rail, universal health care, education & literacy, product design, manufacturing, and so much more. It's time to learn from all that.

Juan Birch  

Posted: January 2nd, 2015 3:22 PM

OK, Ed Anger, you were part of the American generation that did great things, including defeating the Nazis & Japan in WWII. And if you were there in person, I/we owe you a personal debt of gratitude. Don't forget for a minute, though, that the French, Brits, Dutch and others paid an incredibly high price. Those were their countries that were bombed and invaded and their people rounded up and killed. You no doubt remember Dunkirk and the bombing of London and the death camps...

Ed Anger  

Posted: January 2nd, 2015 2:02 PM

You wake up, "Juan Birch,. I've been to the hell hole that is "Europe" when I was busy fighting Nazis when your beloved French, Brits, Canucks, Dutch and neutral Swedes could not get the job done The only reason those wussies are "fine" is because the Good Ol' USA takes care of their security for them. America, keeping the world safe since 1945! Suck on that fact, "Juan."


Posted: January 1st, 2015 7:09 AM

This is about go forward prospect - not today. the essential elements that made the US great are declining a) upward mobility/American promise and b) cultural influence across the world c) innovation. Data shows that middle class is strinking and the chance of moving from lowest income to high has declined. We have dumbed down American culture with garbage and businesses regulation/taxes make it hard to innovate. Can we reinvent ourselves - the milleneals for better or worse will drive that

Juan Birxh  

Posted: January 1st, 2015 1:40 AM

No one is saying that the U.S. isn't great. But take off the blinders for one minute, and refute a single statement in the TV character's rant before launching into a jingoistic rage. The people who wave our flag the most have usually traveled abroad the least. Yes, the Mexicans are streaming across the border to get here because their country is a mess. Not the Canadians, though, or the French, the Brits, the Germans, the Dutch or the Swedes. They're totally fine where they are. Wake up.


Posted: December 31st, 2014 1:14 PM

GMAB. If this country is not great anymore we all know who to blame: Boomers/Smelly Hippies. Who runs the government now? Boomers/Smelly Hippies. Who runs the banks/Wall Street that screwed up the economy? Who runs the "culture"? Who runs the Tea Party? Who made it ok to take drugs and have sex without responsibility and doomed our inner cities? Boomers/Smelly Hippies. Yeah, Gen X and Millennials are to blame for the state of the country. Yet, Jesus Guy here is trying to claim otherwise. FU.

john murtagh from op  

Posted: December 30th, 2014 11:00 PM

After reading James Quinn's comments on the Baby Boomer Era, I am proud to say that I was born two years earlier.


Posted: December 30th, 2014 9:43 PM

What's amusing is Will McAvoy's opinion of the 20 year old being a member of the worst generation ever. You could argue that McAvoy, and Aaron Sorkin for that matter, are proud members of America's shallowest generation...the Baby Boomer and Me Generation. http://seekingalpha.com/article/103202-the-shallowest-generation

Friar Tuck from OP  

Posted: December 30th, 2014 3:14 PM

My question still stands. What was Tom's point in simply posting the lines from the script? While the text might, in a way, stand on it's own (silly as it is), some context from Tom would have at least given the reader some perspective. Call me discerning...just thought the whole thing a bit odd.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: December 30th, 2014 12:43 PM

Jeff Daniels is a high quality, talented actor, director, and producer. Two of his acting characters are Will McAvoy of HBO's Newsroom and one of the two Bozos in Dumb and Dumber. His biography includes song writer, musician, founder of the Rose Theater Company, and has been a lead actor at the Goodman Theater. The one thing that is not in his "bio" is a script writer. He probably had input into Newsroom, but he definitely was not the writer. The producers, directors, and script writers of Network get the credit for words in Tom Holmes's article, and Tom gets the credit for sharing the incredibly important text with those who did not see the see and hear it on the television.. Whether you agree or disagree, the text is meaningful. Our American life has left the Twentieth Century. We are different than our forefathers. We need to put our viewpoints of the 2014 America is ours. They are not the viewpoint of actors, newsmen, columnist, bloggers, or movie stars. Thanks, Tom for bring the viewpoints of Network to Oak Park.

Ed Anger  

Posted: December 30th, 2014 12:42 PM

Yes, "Juan Birch" I read the whole thing, including the part where it said the USA is not the greatest country in the world. If we do not kick ass, "Juan Birch," why are all those kids south of the border trying to get in? Why did the Euro wussies need us to beat the Turks, Kaiser, etc., then the fascists and the commies and now the jihadis and the Chinese? Because the Euros and the Latin/South Amer. aren't going to do. Hell, you cannot even count on Asian airlines these days! U!S!A! Hell yeah!

Friar Tuck from OP  

Posted: December 30th, 2014 11:47 AM

The question is, "what is the point of posting lines from a TV pilot script in the first place"? I mean, has "journalism" become such a lazy profession that the mere cutting and pasting of someone else's thoughts can't even come with an explanation of why? Were I the WJ, Mr Holmes wouldn't be paid for the 90 seconds it took to do this. Really, the entire diatribe is phony anyway. We're supposed to use the guy from "Dumb & Dumber" as moral authority? Peace, out.

Juan Birch  

Posted: December 30th, 2014 11:04 AM

"This guy would be speaking German, or Arabic if it weren't for the good old U.S. of A." What?? First, this was a rant from the pilot episode of season one of a TV show, The Newsroom, on HBO. Secondly, please point out anything in there that is incorrect, and then you can enter into a conversation. And by the way, you apparently didn't read the last third or quarter of the rant when he talked about some of the great things that we as a country have done in the past century.

Ed Anger  

Posted: December 27th, 2014 5:33 PM

This guy would be speaking German, or Arabic, without the good ol' US of A. America, love it or leave it, hippies!

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