Widening the Atlantic

Widening the Atlantic

T. R. Reid

The new United States of Europe has more people, more wealth, and more tradethan the United States of America. Yet Americans have largely ignored the change in Europe. They do so at some risk, for Europe’s goal is to rival and surpass America—and one of the powerful motives urging Europeans toward that goal is the disdain many of them now share for America.

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1m 51sec

The Lardburgers were going at it again. “Ah got no gas in mah SUV,” Stacey Lardburger screamed at her husband. “And you spent all our money buyin’ ammo for your stoooo-pid rifles. So how’m ah goin’ to git to the welfare office? Will you tell me that?” Jeff Lardburger was in no mood to take that kind of grief from a mere woman, even the woman who happened to be his fourth wife. “Button it, you slut,” he roared, hurling his beer can in the general direction of Stacey’s huge head of bleached hair. “You shet that big mouth of your’n, or ah’ll sendya to Texas and puttya in the chair.” Stacey had heard warnings like that dozens of times before, but this time she had a comeback. “You gonna be one sorry fella when ah get finished witya,” she shouted back. “Got me a lawyer now. He says next time you threaten me like ’at, we’s gonna sue your ass bigtime.”

And thus passed another interlude of domestic bliss in the typical American home depicted on “The Lardburgers,” a regular segment on the satirical British television show Big Breakfast. Jeff and Stacey, both so obese that they resemble the Michelin Man, are presented for the enjoyment of the British public as the kind of couple Britons like to conjure up when they think about Americans. The Lardburgers are fat, loud, and ignorant. They argue all the time, except when they’re talking about chili cheese dogs or the death penalty, the only things they both appreciate. They constantly throw beer cans, vases, and lamps at each other, knocking over piles of the tacky knickknacks that fill their mobile home. Jeff and Stacey don’t have jobs, so they spend their time looking for the lawsuit that will make them rich. Their big hero, other than George W. Bush, is the woman who sued McDonald’s, and won, because her coffee was too hot.



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