When the text and title We who loved America [see the article from Orientering] is still remembered today, it is hardly because it is written by Bjørneboe, nor because it is among his best, so what happens here that catches our attention? This essayist book review was far from unique in its message when it was written in 1966, although it did help trigger a landslide of criticism of US world hegemony. The title is rather remembered because it captures the essentials: a feeling of disappointment, a wounded love.
When Bjørneboe talks about his own love affair with America, about how love can turn into bitterness, he talks on behalf of many. Maybe we should not look at this as pictorial twists, but rather try to understand what happens when we fall in love with an entire country – or what lies in the love and essence of love at all.
In his book on love, Stendhal points out that we fall in love with a face because it arouses both admiration and pity. Being in love is also a moral project, it means seeing a potential, seeing something that needs help to be oneself at its best, something that both needs and deserves to be loved. We loved America because this country seemed to carry a promise of happiness in itself, as if it were the future itself, despite all the deep wounds and internal conflicts. It turns out, however, that for many, America's shadowy sides have made infatuation fatal and the relationship destructive: the beloved is in fact a power-hungry tyrant, a troubled partner with addiction problems and personality disorders.
Today's USA is a faded idol, a world power of luck, suffering from petroleum addiction and overconsumption and who has chosen an infantile, corrupt and conflict-oriented. . .