50 Pics That Describe America Perfectly, As Shared By This Facebook Page Interview
There’s hardly anything more polarizing than asking a group of people what they think of the United States and the American way of life, whether they’re locals or not. On one side, you have the crowd that is 110% in support of B I G cars, cowboy-like freedom, and chants USA, USA, USA! every chance they get because it’s the land of opportunity and the best nation on God’s green Earth. On the other side, you have folks who believe that America is so profoundly flawed that it can’t ever do anything right and it’s just rushing towards disaster without any hope for redemption—they see only the downsides. Somewhere in the middle, you have the realistic moderates who see the US as a country full of potential and appreciate just how warm the people there are, but also see the need for change in key areas.
However, today we’re throwing moderation and realism out the window and embracing the over-the-top, the larger-the-life, and the we-have-more-freedom-than-you for the sake of humor. We’re featuring the best memes from the ‘Wow, That is VIOLENTLY American’ Facebook page, and the name really doesn’t lie. It’s a social media project that documents things that are as American as possible, viewed through the stereotypical lens of the internet. Scroll down for a good laugh, and tell us what you think America is all about in the comments, dear Pandas.
Warning: lots of satire incoming. Before we get started, just keep in mind that nobody’s making fun of the US here. It's not about Democrat vs. Republican. We know that America is awesome. We also know that America has its share of deeply-concerning issues. However, it’s healthy to laugh at oneself once in a while and to learn to embrace the cultural weirdness in all of its glory.
Bored Panda got in touch with the founder of 'Wow, That Is VIOLENTLY American,' a marine veteran from Florida. They were kind enough to share their thoughts about the inspiration behind the project and its success, how America isn't as homogenous as some might think, and how people react to some of the content they post. You'll find the full interview about biases being challenged and discussions being started as you scroll down.
The founder of 'Wow, That Is VIOLENTLY American' shared with Bored Panda they used to be a military musician, they've traveled all over the US, and have been stationed on both coasts during their time in the service. They don't really align with any political affiliation, and they're affiliated with "some of the largest meme pages on Facebook" and is the manager of a network of pages and editor teams who post all sorts of content. However, 'Wow, That Is VIOLENTLY American,' is their personal page.
So it's clear that they have a lot of experience when it comes to managing social media pages. "My initial inspiration was built on things happening in various tag groups on Facebook, but I have extensive experience managing tons of pages. I knew I could bring together something that can have broad appeal combined with utilizing common user behaviors to build a great satirical model for engaging with an audience. I'm a marine vet, and with it comes a blend of experience challenged by so many different biases," they told us.
In their opinion, the Facebook page resonates with such a large online crowd because it doesn't draw boundaries all that often and it challenges the way people think. "People come here to find their biases challenged. People come here because they think their worldview is supported, and in many ways, they end up being the primary point of humor for me and those who get it. In general, I focus more on creating a dialogue between people versus trying to dominate the dialogue myself. I chime in, both in a completely satirical way sometimes but also in serious ways. The way I aim to shroud the certainty of the message/intent is how I leverage the audience into a blend of comedy and discourse. The discourse itself is basically a living breathing metaphor for common toxic behaviors of people on social media, primarily those in the US."
The mastermind behind the Facebook page believes that very few people actually see the world as full of nuance. "The breadth of the complexity that truly exists in this country is beyond the scope of how the average human being thinks or lives. I could rant about psychology and the human brain, but in general, I think people just have a bad relationship with cognitive dissonance in general. Because of that, confirmation bias backed by algorithmic patterns on social media create a world view predicated on a mental path of least resistance type behaviors," they explained to Bored Panda.
Believing any one stereotype about the United States is foolish, according to the creator of the page. This sort of reliance on generalizations ignores the "layers upon layers of social and governmental infrastructure" and ignores the nuances of a nation "with more combined cultures than most of the rest of the world."
"It's a sign that they don't (or won't) view the identity of this country as associated with minority or diversity, which is a lie that reinforces divisiveness and literally excludes non-white demographics from the image of America. Considering the truth of our diversity as told through statistics rather than rhetoric, this country is far from only white or conservative. It's far from that."
According to the founder of 'Wow, That Is VIOLENTLY American,' some of the strengths and weaknesses of the US overlap. "Local and state-level governments are really the lifeblood of maintaining the regions, but with that comes political diversity most people want to avoid. This has pushed many Americans to feel the need to view the relevant level of governing up to the federal level, and often times modern Americans do not even know much about their governor or anything at all about their city councils," they said that people tend to push through their various agendas at the local level.
"This leaves so much infrastructure unscrutinized and thus some accountability issues that ultimately leave the local community level feeling no real change despite the wide-swinging pendulum of change we see in DC every 4 years. At the end of the day, it feels like a bureaucratic nightmare, but that's also because it is. People look for a person or thing to pin the blame on, and they just look to DC versus their own communities. This feeds that stereotype that America is somehow homogenous. It leaves the poorer kids in our poorest zip codes from feeling measurable change because people are so focused on who the president is that they aren't concerned with their own back yards."
The founder of the page was very candid with Bored Panda that they get people who are angry at their posts all the time. "Their political alignment is pretty random, too. It's more that people are too busy trying to figure out what team everyone is playing on rather than deciphering meaning from concepts in front of them. It's a pretty regressive trait that has grown a lot in this country. It's part of what keeps my page riddled with foot traffic, in a pretty ironic way."
Some commenters aren't afraid to start insulting the creator for what they post. "I've been called a libtard, lukewarm centrist, commie, nazi, conservative... you name it." In the pinned post on their Facebook page, they alluded to the fact they often egg people on to start discussions. "I have no issue taking a devil's advocate approach to the vaguely satirical message of the page. The people who behave this way are unironically the real content of the page, no less than the posts itself."
They said that they're trying to find a "magical blend" of how much of themselves they should put into the page, how much they should encourage or discourage the discourse, and how much others should have their say. Thankfully, some Facebook users actually get the page creator's jokes.
"I have a limit to how far I'll ever go with people because otherwise, the page loses its ambiguity and instead just strikes a petty tone. Sometimes, I try to dive into the weeds of it all, and sometimes I take the stoic posture of a public figure. Oftentimes, saying nothing is far better than saying even the right thing. I just try to prevent letting my voice get in the way of people seeing themselves in the content."
Personally, I’m deeply thankful for having experienced so much of American culture firsthand. They’re honestly some of the most hard-working, welcoming people on the planet. They’d give you the shirts off their backs. And their education style is something that really works with who I am as an individual. For me, America is about freedom, respect, and the ability to follow whatever dreams you have, with very little outside interference. (I also grew to love the romantic image of the suburbs in the 1950s with white picket fences, but that’s really neither here nor there.)
It’s because I’ve got this appreciation for the US that I can be honest about the state of the country as a whole. There are some incredible upsides there that are dragged down by unfettered consumerism, widespread physical and mental health issues, and a sometimes perplexing perspective on healthcare, and the environment. To me, America is about paradox and the highs and lows of humanity. And it’s exactly because you love something that you want it to be better.
One major issue that constantly pops up on social media and in the news is the Kafka-esque approach the US has toward healthcare. It’s really a Mad Max-style, survival-of-the-fittest (or is that richest?) system where some sick and injured Americans refuse to go to the hospital because of the bills they’ll rack up, insured or not. There’s a real chance that you’ll be overcharged for your stay, whether intentionally or not, too.
Opponents of free healthcare tend to shout something about socialism and communism without taking a peek across the pond at how things work in Europe or, closer to their own borders, Canada and Mexico.
You shouldn’t have to go into debt because you took an ambulance to get your broken leg fixed is all we’re saying. Dr. Andrew Carroll, the CEO and Medical Director of Atembis LLC and a Family Physician, recently explained to Bored Panda what to do if someone feels like they were overcharged at the hospital, whether private or public.
“If it’s a private practice physician, it’s a good idea to discuss it with the billing staff or with the physician themselves. We have a vested interest in making our patients happy and hopefully continue to see us,” the doctor from Arizona told us.
“We do perform a lot of services during a visit, and some of them are paid for by separate codes and some of them are not. If you believe you have been billed fraudulently, always bring it up with the physician’s biller first. It’s easier to get it resolved that way,” he said.
However, if you happen to go to a public hospital for treatment or surgery, the issue can become much more difficult.
“Call the hospital billing department and ask them to explain the billing, and whether they’re willing to adjust or cancel billings, especially if you believe they were services that were not actually provided,” Dr. Carroll shared.
“If that fails, call your insurance company to dispute services, because your insurance company doesn’t want to pay that bill either. Finally, if you believe you have been billed fraudulently and have not gotten relief from the hospital or insurance company, you can call an attorney to help you out. Medicare also has a hotline for calling in fraudulent billing which you can use if you haven’t gotten relief,” he said.
Over 46k people follow the ‘Wow, That is VIOLENTLY American’ Facebook page, and we can see the appeal of being a long-term fan. The social media project is unapologetic in how it documents the most American things ever. It’s razor-sharp social commentary, packaged into memes. And, from what we understand, some Facebook users actually get offended at the satire and take things way too seriously. (All that stress seriously can’t be healthy.)
People who get offended at obvious satire and sarcasm probably belong in the same facepalm-worthy category as folks who clap when a plane lands. But poking fun at the latter is just going for low-hanging fruit, so we won’t poke fun at them. Besides, clapping on a plane isn’t just American—it’s international cringe and something quite a few different cultures have in common.
Polarization in the US is a huge issue because it reduces the chances for cooperation across the political divide when it comes to issues that affect the entire country. In fact, a study published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace found that no established democracy in recent history has been as deeply polarized as the United States.
The Atlantic draws attention to the fact that, until a few decades ago, Democrats and Republicans got along fine; they did not ‘hate’ each other as they do now. Currently, however, members of the two parties tend to think that each threatens the future of the country with its policies.
The Pew Research Center found that in the run-up to the 2020 presidential elections, 9 out of 10 supporters of either Joe Biden or Donald Trump thought that the opponent winning would cause “lasting harm” to the entire nation. In short, there’s less unity, and more Americans are at each others’ throats over what they see as fundamental, unbridgeable differences in values and aims. And it’ll take more than a list of funny memes about American culture to bridge that divide… but humor is as good a first step as any.