_  _  _____  __  __  ____  _   _      __    _  _  ____  
( \/ )(  _  )(  )(  )(_  _)( )_( )    /__\  ( \( )(  _ \ 
 \  /  )(_)(  )(__)(   )(   ) _ (    /(__)\  )  (  )(_) )
 (__) (_____)(______) (__) (_) (_)  (__)(__)(_)\_)(____/ 
   __    __  __  ____  ____  ____  ___    __   
  /__\  (  \/  )( ___)(  _ \(_  _)/ __)  /__\  
 /(__)\  )    (  )__)  )   / _)(_( (__  /(__)\ 

Youth and America

Things change during youth and adolescence, but we were able to remain fans of America. First. A first spot for us was the basketball court in the Housing Area above the Dachspfad in Friedberg. Tarred, slightly uneven, two halfway straight baskets, everything a bit outdated. A dream: Basketball - with real Americans! And they were really good. And we were able to get a mighty credibility boost. With the monthly ticket to Friedberg, then up to the barracks. The skills got better, but even more it was the self-confidence that grew. We played with real Yanks. A few mumbled sentences in English, the American slang could be trained.

With 9.11. this was over (and we had long since outgrown the teenage dream age). Not only the barracks were a restricted area, but also the surrounding settlements were lined with guard posts and roadblocks. The basketball court, which we admittedly had long since stopped using, was no longer accessible. With the attack on the WTC in New York, a hardening was felt. Brawls became more unpredictable. At the same time, restrictions became stronger. The war effort had a noticeable impact on the mood of the soldiers. Yanks in bars fewer and encounters shorter and more brusque....

For the America fan, this is a challenge, a rejection or at least complication of the attempted act of identification. A bursting of childish dreams. The youthful fan is disappointed. This is what the USA is charged with.

And so hardening came to us as well, even before 9/11. At some point the world gets bigger. The idea of war, military and world power more concrete. And things like Coke and McDonalds appeared tainted by an overstretched construct of the American way of life. I thought I understood what was sprayed on the construction site of the first American fast-food restaurant in the Wetterau a few years ago, and I didn't understand it at the time: Amifraß, not imperialist anything (what exactly was there to read? here memory fails). But there are hints to be found:

But it was also possible to be more distinguished. And we discovered a Frankfurt philosopher with experience of America. When asked by his friend and companion that we had to protect what was good about America, the same professor said: "First of all, we have to turn off the bad TV stations. We understood each other quite well to turn off. America was no longer the friend and less and less the promised land. The hardening came not only from the other side of the ocean and from the think tanks in Washington. It also came from us and, as it should, with all kinds of youthful exuberance; plastic world, superficial, pure modernity...