About the American Dream

One of the great pleasures of writing Scarecrow President is the licence to recycle, plagiarise and riff on jokes, quotes and insights from comedians, intellectuals and artists of the past.

It was George Carlin who came up with the line:

‘It’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it’

The culture of self-help has ┬ároots in the Protestant work ethic and the Rags to Riches story has been told again and again in Hollywood. You can make it if you really want. If you’re poor and miserable it’s because you just didn’t try hard enough. All those commie revolutionaries were just bad losers.

As a kid, watching American TV shows, I was always puzzled by all this talk of winners and losers (this was the 1980’s, after all) – since when did life become a game? Who wrote the rules? Were you entitled to be happy even if you weren’t rich?

The naivete of Scarecrow in this episode holds up the ‘straw man’ of the argument for Crow to blow over in a couple of puffs; as the rich tend to be born to rich families it’s unlikely that their present wealth has been earned on their own merits on a fair playing field.