Robert Ganshorn

Why I Left America

Filed By Robert Ganshorn | July 28, 2008 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Politics
Tags: John Arnone, Thailand

I was in the bookstore in Jomtien, Thailand where I now live. The title of this paperback, "Why I Left America", jumped off the shelf at me as it was against the American Flag. The author had a commendation from the "Bangkok Post" so I took the chance to buy the book.

I had to force my way through it. First of all, you cannot buy this book in America as it is only available in Thailand. The book was sealed in plastic so you could not read an introduction before purchase- or I would not have bothered. I finally made myself read it the way I made myself read William F. Buckley so that I could have an idea of what was going on in the minds of Angry White Men.

The author, John Arnone, had been in several businesses in America and had a long list of things he found wrong with Women, Minority, and Gay issues. I was expecting a book about the positive wonderful things he had discovered after living in Thailand for twelve years as he had said on the outer jacket. Instead I got to hear a list that was about thirty years long condemning his right to smoke wherever he would like, the role of women outside of the home, government regulations, his desire not to associate with minorities in the main, and on and on.

He is the type of person who would consider a good relationship with a nonwhite person to be someone who did not invade his space. Television programs that portray White men as dummies are high on his complaint list as well as the necessity men have of joining sports groups so they have somewhere to hang out where women do not treat them as though they are stupid for breathing.

Then, from nowhere, he talks about the power of "women's lib and homosexuals."

"Oh yeah, aren't we powerful!" I immediately thought. Where does this guy get his stereotypes... I mean "ideas"? The entire book was a collection of his experiences in the magazine publishing business before losing his job due to "sexual harassment." Floundering, and going through his first divorce, he ends up in the adult video business. He made adult videos. Soooo, he finds pornography an acceptable means of making money (and he made a lot) but Minority, Women's and Gay issues are ruining his American life.

Hello?

In the last twenty-five pages (of one hundred and seventy-five), he finally got into the positive aspects of Thailand that I could relate to. He has remarried (a woman 30 years younger than he) and has had three children with her in the twelve years he has lived in here. He frankly admits that he is sure his wife married him for security and not love, but she treats him with "the respect an American woman is incapable of giving a white man."

What struck me square in the eyes was that his experience was the experience I grew up knowing. There was a lot of hard work, mom was at home in my case, we were supervised, my father worked two jobs.
But how did we come out so differently? This is the only time in my life when I saw a direct email to an author in a book and I had to contact him.

I knew there was not going to be any way of getting past his preconceived views of women and I was not going to try. That would have been a hill I could not have tried to scale- but I told him about my life, my partner, his mother and the extended family. I also made the point that the only dishonest people I had ever dealt with were white people in the business world... let's call them weasels!

He emailed me back that he had not really thought about how his book would be perceived by homosexuals, he just did not like anyone "getting in his face." He defended his comments as "fairly accurate" that he really has no problem with gay people. "It really has nothing to do with Gay people, but anyone who feels that they need an inordinate amount of attention," he said, but he would be happy to meet with me and talk it over when next he is in Pattaya in three months time. We have a tentative lunch date.

I am going to ask him: "So why did you include it in the book, and if you dislike anyone who seeks an inordinate amount of attention why did you write one?" Anyone have any other questions you think I should ask?


Recent Entries Filed under Entertainment:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


Well, Bob, if you are willing to spend an afternoon meeting with this guy, you are more of a saint ... or more of a masochist ... than I am. Even so ... Good Luck!

That sounds like one of the most hilarious books ever. Left America because it was too liberal? He's apparently missed out best years.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 28, 2008 10:53 PM

I have always found that I learn the most when I talk with people who have a wide range of opinions. Sort of like here, but with eye contact.

Agreed, Robert. It's why I keep talking to Ryan McCann of the Indiana Family Institute. It's always good to keep an eye on the other side and look for insights.

Ask him about his daughter and his granddaughter in America, and how he feels about them living in a place that he is so against.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | September 18, 2008 1:18 AM

Well Jane,

Assuming that you are his daughter he already covered you in the book too. At length. And your mother. At length. If I may use a book analogy I think he has long ago turned the page on both of you. He has stated in print that he fought with your mother about how permissively you were raised, how he was opposed to your boyfriends, out of wedlock pregnancy and has disowned you because of it. That is pretty factual is it not?

Not at all actually, and no I am not his daughter but I do however have the pleasure of knowing her and I would have to say it is the complete opposite. He has done everything in his power to make sure she has all she needs and never did he "turn the page" on her, nor has he "disowned" her even though she has given him more than enough reason to. You should also know that she is doing great now and her "out of wedlock" pregnancy turned into a beautiful young lady who is now attending college and working quit hard at it. Maybe Mr. Arnone isn't the bad guy you all have made him out to be after all.

And in case you didn't know, his ex-wife died nine years ago and she may not have been the best mother, I'm sorry to say I wouldn't know, but she was the kindest woman I have ever met.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | September 24, 2008 3:17 AM

Thank you Platinum Girl,

I am mystified that you care so much as to comment about a daughter of Mr. Armone who you state is a displeasure to know. I am glad his grand daughter is doing well in school though. I do not care about his family life, only what has made it to the pages of his book and how it bears on his attitudes of women's roles and "proper place."

You might wish to read the review of "Why I Left America" in "The Nation" which is a respected newspaper in Thailand in the English language. I do not think Mr. Armone is a bad or evil person, but his attitudes are an interesting time capsule of what would have been acceptable male behavior in 1955.

I think it is sad that the man that created this blog sent me an e mail after reading my book that was quite complementary. In it he stated that he agreed with a lot of the content. As I remember it, he did want to discuss the book, but we never got together. I would imagine that now that I know his true feelings, it was probably for the best that we never got together. Possibly, his letter to me was meant to be sarcastic, but it is hard to try to read someone's true feelings while talking through an e mail.
I would like Bob to know that I got a total of two negative e mails regarding my book and at least a dozen thanking me for writing it as it seemed to mirror the feelings of quite a few expats living in Thailand. And not just from America. Additionally, it has been on sale for a a couple of years now and was just recently reordered by the stores again.
Bob is entitled to his opinion. I just believe it would be better if he were more honest with the person he is skewering in his personal correspondence with them.
You're a dishonest man Bob.
John Arnone