Today is Independence Day. Twenty-four little hours for every American to take a time-out from the grind of living in the most privileged country on Earth to celebrate what makes them great: no longer being British. But as with every celebration, there runs beneath it an undercurrent of mewling discontent. Here, four of the USA's most famous patriots tell us why they've decided to turn their backs on their country.
It is a seldom remarked upon fact that JFK was killed by an American. So was Martin Luther King. And Abraham Lincoln. America has blood on its hands. Its own blood. Did you know, for instance, that Americans on average kill more Americans every year than they killed in the entire Vietnam war? America is its own worst enemy. As part of the research for my new film, I pretended to be an average American for a year. I went to Cannes premieres as an average American. I had lunch with my agent at The Palm disguised as an average American. And do you know what I discovered? The American Dream is broken. They say America is the land of opportunity, but my career hasn't improved in years. In fact, it's probably gone downhill. How do you explain that? How am I supposed to let my kids dream of a brighter tomorrow when the American public has bought significantly fewer copies of their second singles? How can we say that we're a winning nation when a child can end up on the dumper of musical history before their 12th birthday? In comeback mode by 13. Legacy touring by 15. Is that a nation you want to be a part of, Mr USA? America is like a friend to me. Like a friend you really, really hate. Some asshole who keeps on eating everything in your fridge and eyeing up your wife's butt. And you know how it is with that friend. You tolerate it. And you tolerate it. But one day you reach boiling point. You just flip and you get your bodyguards and you take him out back and you give him hell. USA: Watch out.
I was born in the USA. But that doesn't mean it's not a horrible place. Jesus was born in a stable. Alright, so he turned out OK – but that was in spite of the circumstances of his birth, not because of them. I know I've sort of romanticised the place in the past. Hey, I'm a fairly romantic kinda guy. I get a little carried away sometimes. But maybe I should just come clean and say that, in point of fact, your average blue collar American is not a hero. He is a total asshole. He wants a union, and he wants a lunch break, and he wants safety equipment so that he doesn't cut his precious hands off. Well no wonder all our jobs are going to the Far East, buddy, you know? You think the Chinese want ten bucks an hour just to turn a lathe? No. They're hungry for anything they can get. They're earning it. Your average American worker just wants to sit there on his ass playing Solitaire on his phone. Punch out at five-to-five, and go home and watch Monday Night Football with a box of Oreos the size of his head and enough beer to drown his three fat kids. And they wonder why this country doesn't make anything any more. The fact is, if everything was still made in America, the iPad I'm now writing this on would probably cost three thousand dollars, and if it was made on a Friday, you wouldn't be able to use the letter "J". And now Mr Average American wants his medicare to come out of my taxes? You've got another thing coming, buddy. SALMAN RUSHDIE
I see the whore of Babylon rising in the West. I see Baghdad in flames. I see the rivers of Kosovo running red, tributaries thick with sins of omission. And sawn-off feet. America, you are the policeman stealing doughnuts with the nightstick. You are the stock being leveraged from the inside. America. You are all, and you are nothing. Because nothing is all. And all is nothing. Like a pie of every beast, you have been baked from the peoples of the earth. You have taken the dreams of a hundred fallen superpowers across a thousand eras, and distilled it into one raw, godless god of human desire: the want to want. The brain. Squirming. Like a toad. Into this insatiable cortex go stimulations without number. Fibre optic cables, these neural pathways, firing self-regard into every home. Narcissian pools sat upon the imitation beech wall cabinets from Denver to Des Moines, shockwaving and shock doctrining you in an ECT of righteousness. Here is the news. We are the news. Rome fell from its vanity. But you will not. Undead, you will rot on, alive always, a zombie, veins full of greenbacks even as you owe the world more than the world is worth. You are death, forever, the laughter coming from the open grave. Now give me a fucking green card. Please. LINDSAY LOHAN
Fuck America. I'm emigrating to North Dakota.