Thomas Wictor

An anti-American American school

An anti-American American school

From January of 1975 to June of 1978, I attended the American School of the Hague (ASH) in the Netherlands. Calling it an American school was a misnomer, since only about a quarter of the students came from the United States. Despite its name, it was very anti-American. The US was the source of all the world’s problems.

I was a morass of problems myself at the time.


My middle-aged-Bulgarian-housewife look was not intentional. I simply had no fashion sense, and we moved to the Netherlands in the middle of the school year. I was the new weirdo, completely lost. We kept missing the bus because it picked us up at some bizarre arbitrary point in the middle of the street, so when we finally got to the school, the teachers, principal, and guidance counselor all said exactly the same thing.

“We’ve been looking for you.”

It was said with menace, as though they were hit men. And women.

My orientation was conducted by the guidance counselor, who had white irises.


I was so embarrassed and stressed from being late, new, and weird that I couldn’t follow anything he said.

“After school the buses will take you to the scramble point, where you’ll catch your bus back home.”

In those days I always kept my mouth shut, under all circumstances. Today I’d say, “What in the name of Buluc Chabtan is the ‘scramble point’? Why do people like you always have to use jargon that you know I won’t understand? It’s a power trip, right? I’m supposed to ask, ‘What’s the scramble point’? Well, screw you. I’m not going to ask, and when I miss the scramble point because I don’t know what it is, and then I fall down an elevator shaft and die, it’ll be your fault, and my family will sue you until all you have left is a loincloth. Then maybe you won’t use hipster jargon anymore and try to lord your authority over a thirteen-year-old.”

The hallways and rooms of the school had ceilings that were easily twenty feet (six meters) tall. I felt like I was in a giant’s castle.


For the younger readers, you need to remember that the Vietnam War still had three months to go before it ended. Everyone hated the US, especially my teachers. I didn’t know anything about politics and geopolitics, but I already had my lifelong trait of automatically rejecting the consensus. It wasn’t that I was smarter than everybody; I was—to quote Christopher Walken—naturally foreign.

Walk without rhythm
And it won’t attract the worm

Unlike Walken I couldn’t dance. I still can’t. However, I no longer attract the worm.

You won’t believe me when I tell you this, but I envisioned that video when I was about nine. The music was the same, and so was the setting. I’ve always loved empty hotels.

The American School of the Hague—ASH—was my idea of hell. I had such body dysmorphic disorder that I kept my red jacket on all the time. Those giant rooms were overheated with steam radiators, so I’d sweat, and people made fun of me for my hair and glasses and nose, and every class was a lecture on how the US was the worst thing that had ever happened to the planet. Is the rest of my life going to be like this? I wondered.

Almost daily the teachers raved about the Vietnam War. We were told about the My Lai massacre over and over, but not one teacher mentioned the fact that Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson Jr. landed his helicopter gunship to save Vietnamese civilians and told his gunners to open fire on the American infantrymen if they interfered.


One of my teachers was a sexy Brazilian who teased me because I was in love with her. She was in her early twenties. One day she bit on her ballpoint pen, and her left lateral incisor broke in half. The half-tooth fell out on the table in front of me, rattling like a pebble. She gasped, got a pocket mirror from her purse, and lifted up her lip with her finger to examine the damage. I could see a perfect cross section of tooth.


There’s her enamel, I thought. There’s her dentin, and there’s her pulp.

“I knew this would happen,” she said morosely.

Why?” I asked, even though I was sure that what I was seeing was the result of a brain aneurysm that had finally let go.

“I never drink milk,” she said. “I hate the sh*t.”

For the rest of the day she smiled with her broken-in-half tooth and then had it fixed over the weekend.

She hated America as much as she hated milk. Since I was Venezuelan, she gave me a pass. She obviously also felt sorry for me, which was better than feeling the urge to murder me, which most of the other students and teachers did.

Oh: The scramble point was where all the buses gathered after school. They picked up the students from the elementary, middle, and high schools; nobody told me that you just got on any bus, so I was sure I’d end up in another city.

The buses took us to a huge parking lot—the scramble point. Each bus parked in its numbered space, and you’d get off the shuttle and run to the bus that would take you home. I think we rode bus Number Three. The driver was a young hoodlum with bell-bottomed jeans, a jeans jacket, shoulder-length hair, and full dentures. Sometimes he’d pop out both plates with his tongue. When he did that, he looked like the xenomorph from the movie Alien.


There are a few famous alumni from ASH. Brendan Fraser is one.


I didn’t know him, because he’s six years younger. Another is Michael Linton, CEO of Sony Entertainment.


He was the leader of my Model United Nations delegation. I won’t say which country it was, and I won’t take cheap shots at him the way I could. He was just a kid.

But look how Sony trains its employees, as revealed by a North Korean hacking. LANGUAGE WARNING.

Here’s a Power Point for Captain Phillips.


And here’s the one for White House Down.


Captain Phillips is based on the real-life story of the Maersk Alabama hijacking by Somali pirates. Captain Richard Phillips was saved by three US Navy SEAL snipers who killed the hijackers by shooting them from the fantail of the destroyer USS Bainbridge. This is Phillips (right) with Navy Commander Frank Castellano after the rescue.


How can you “avoid American themes” when making a movie about an American sea captain rescued by incredibly skilled US Navy special operators? More importantly, why would you?

As for White House Down, it was a stillbirth. Jamie Foxx as America’s first black president, with lunatic militiamen attacking the White House because they oppose the president’s agenda of world peace. A vacuous political rant for morons.

Again, the order from the top of Sony was to avoid “American-centrism.” Just as we were taught at ASH almost forty years ago, America is awful. At the end of White House Down, Iran and Russia recognize the need for world peace, so they sign President Sawyer’s treaty. The only way that would happen would be if we gave Putin $500 billion and if we launched a joint American-Iranian attack on Israel.

When I was thirteen and attending ASH, I never would’ve guessed that at fifty-two, I’d be the one who’d junked all the nonfunctional craziness.

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