The question has hung in the air for over half a decade now. Friends have asked it. So have strangers. I’ve never known exactly how to reply.
On Tuesday, lying in a dentist’s chair, listening to an FM radio station burble a non-stop stream of Christmas songs — not the occasional Christmas tune interspersed with more generic easy listening, but one long, unbroken, treacly strand of artificially-sweetened “holiday cheer” — I thought I could almost discern the outlines of an answer; the buzzing of the drill, however, made it hard to be sure.
Yesterday I wandered the aisles of Home Depot, subjected to more uninterrupted Christmas music. It might have been during the chorus of “Jingle Bell Rock”, a song that has always made me want to inflict grievous bodily harm upon its original perpetrators, that I recognized, in a moment of blinding clarity, the truth that had always been right before my eyes:
This is why I hate America.