Wherein AFFotD Attempts a Civil Examination of GQ Magazine’s Assertions of America’s Greatness

“Well, let’s just see where this goes…”

~Johnny Roosevelt, AFFotD Editor-in-Chief

AFFotD loves America, which is why our coverage of all things American have been so well received.  We’ve won the Pulitzer or some shit like that, but we’ve always stayed true to our roots, and that is being your go-to source for all things that are great about America.  And like the half-blind Seabiscuit jockey kept telling us in that Spiderman movie, with great power comes great responsibility.

It’s with that intrepid spirit that we make a point to check what other so-called reputable publications say about America.  While these often bring us to the precipice of homicidal rage, we try to keep an open mind while educating Americans what really matters about their country.

That’s why, when GQ decided to write an article called “50 Things America Does Better Than Anyone Anywhere Else” we were cautiously optimistic, if for no other reason than the fact that we approved of their questionable grammatical syntax.  So we figured we’d give this list the benefit of the doubt, and run through it blind, only interjecting when we strongly agree or disagree with GQ’s assertions of the particular item’s “Americanness.”

So here goes nothing.  Civility is the name of the game.

Wherein AFFotD Attempts a Civil Examination of GQ Magazine’s Assertions of America’s Greatness

Listen, we here at AFFotD appreciate GQ Magazine, if for no other reason than their impressive ability to get Jennifer Anniston to pose in pictures wearing nothing but a tie.  So we’re going into things with an open mind, because hey, GQ has more of a right to tell us what’s American than those fuckers at Fortune Magazine.  Oh yeah, we’re calling you out, Fortune.  Again.

So we’re going to list these off one-by-one, and hope that we don’t get too pissed off along the way.

50:  Southern Cool

49:  Money Issues

Wait, hold on a minute.  Money issues?  GQ, you’re starting to worry us, if this turns into one of those passive-aggressive “insults phrased as backhanded compliments” lists, we’re going to be very upset.  They don’t even bother trying to talk about why we’re particularly “great” at “money issues” other than to hawk some article they wrote about it in the past.

Really, GQ?  You’d dare use a list about America to just hawk shit you wrote months ago?  Goddamn it, that is so tacky.  We’d start a blog war with you, if we weren’t already up at arms with the Christian Temperance Union or various Chinese bloggers.  Consider yourself lucky.

48:  Influence

Why is this about fashion?  If you said “People want to be us, because we freakin’ rule” then yes, we’d love “Influence” being included in this list, but they list it because we invented “Preppy style” and other countries stole that look.  What?  GQ, we were with you for that whole “Southern Cool” thing, but you’re starting to really piss us off.  This is like saying America is great because we do sandwiches better than anyone else, and then clarifying your position by saying that while we didn’t invent the sandwich we invented the idea of replacing bread with lettuce for low-carb diets.  Goddamn it.  This is going to be tougher than we thought, isn’t it?

47:  Billionaires

Okay this is more like it.  USA!  USA!

46:  Sneaker Science

45:  Violent Little Sports

We got so excited when we saw this item listed, largely because we had no idea what it was referring to, but anything it could possibly be would be amazing.  First we were thinking, “So, would this be small, violent sports?  Like, sports that are violent, but are over incredibly quickly?  Like, ‘professional nut punching’ or ‘darts with the man who is having an affair with your wife’?”  Or would it be talking about children playing sports, being awesomely violent?  Either way, we love everything about this.

(It’s about Little League baseball, apparently, but we’re gonna stick with ‘professional nut punching.’)

44:  Porn

Obviously we agree with this one, we just wanted to pause and say “they’re using this to plug an exposé they did on some male porn star, and we’re pretty sure every single item on this list is a feeble attempt to link to an article they’ve previously written on the subject, which is really disappointing.”

43:  Hip-Hop-Ese

That’s not a real thing.  Moving on.

42/41:  Weed and Stoner Food, Together at Last

Don’t get excited, it’s another fucking link to a GQ article we didn’t bother to read.  Again, moving on.

40:  Competitive Sports

39:  Meth

Well, we are great at that.

38:  Badass Prepsters

Why does GQ have such a large throbbing erection for people who dress preppy?  It’s like this article was sponsored by a conglomerate of Ralph Lauren and North Face jackets.  And don’t for a second assume we haven’t noticed the glaring lack of alcohol or fatty foods on this list.

37:  Going for the Gold

36:  Freedom!

Okay we’re actually going to read this Nick Offerman article, because Ron Swanson talking to us about Freedom is one of the glorious things about America.

35:  Getting Mad as Hell (Articulately)

34:  Collaboration

33:  Bob Dole:  Great American

We sort of feel like we’re in a scene from Anchorman at this point in things.  “Brick, do you really think that Bob Dole: Great American is one of the 50 things America does better than anyone anywhere else, or are you just saying that because you wrote a profile about him that you’re trying to link to?”

32:  National Colors

31:  T-Shirts

30:  Moving Shit

Not literally, of course, but we suspect American plumbers are far superior than their European counterparts as well.

29:  Fast Cars for Hippies

…You had us until Hippies.  No, nothing done for hippies is worth celebrating.  America does faster cars better than anyone else because fuck nature and also because we actually sort of don’t do faster cars better than other countries.

28:  Bangin’ Bangs


27:  Crime Fiction

26:  Dressing Ourselves

25:  Parking Lots

24:  Bombshells

This is about boobs.  Specifically, Kate Upton’s boobs.  GQ, you’ve done just fine with this one.  We take back two of the snarky things we’ve said about you, so far.

23:  History (at least the past 236 years of it)

We’ll allow it.

22:  Total World Domination

MANIFEST DESTINY!  HELLS YEAH!  Sing it all together now, “This land is your land, your land is our land…no seriously, your land is OUR land.”  This is actually linking to an article about the Dream Team, but we’d rather pretend it’s about a very literal total world domination.  Bow down to us!

21:  Emancipating!

20:  Oysters

We don’t know how “random shellfish you pluck from rocks in the ocean” could be something we “do better than anyone else” but we appreciate the fact that this article’s subtitle is, “Suck it, France.”

19:  Booty

*approving nods*

18:  Uncorrected Liberals

17:  Fast Food

Okay, yes, here’s another one, we wholeheartedly agree.  Yes, Uncorrected Liberals was a lame reach (apparently it was an easier way to hawk an Alec Baldwin interview than just saying “Alec Baldwin: Cell Phone Swearer”) but Fast Food, we wholeheartedly endorse that.

Again, to recap- we do not endorse GQ using this article as a way to just lazily link to articles they’ve written in the past.  But we do endorse their claim that America does Fast Food better than any other nation, especially when you look at how unusual Pizza Huts are outside of America.

16:  Canadians

Wait, what?  Okay, let’s let the GQ blurb explain it.

“Sure, they’re not born here.  But you can’t really become a great Canadian until you’ve spent a little time in the U.S. and we kind of forget where you’re from.”

…  Hmm….  We’re going to ask our resident “Crazy fucking crazy person,” Joaquin Phoenix, what he thinks about that.

15:  Blockbusters

14:  Exceptionalism

13-2:  Small Batch (Plus One Big-Ass Batch)

What?  What the hell, did GQ get so lazy with their list of 49-great-American-things-oh-and-also-Canadians-we-guess that they had to put a slideshow…within their slideshow?  Because that seems to be what they did here, as they list off a knife, grill, surfboard, maple syrup, WhistlePig Rye (finally booze appears on the list), chairs, bug spray, bicycles, shirts, ham, speakers, the fact that we make 650 million bottles of Heinz ketchup every year, and unicorns because you clearly stopped reading this sentence as soon as you saw “shirts” and started feeling bored.

Dammit, when the article that is lazily going through your article with snide remarks is calling you out for being lazy, you know you’re doing something wrong.

1:  We’re Number One at Being Number One

And with that, they give us this handy pie chart, which of course was the result of years of exhaustive study, and not an afternoon where GQ’s interns got to split a pizza and brainstorm funny things to put in a pie chart.

We’re willing to allow it.

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