I hate the new passports. I’m not just talking about the truly horrendous digitized photograph of me that makes me look like a shiny, blubbery, 450-pound rubberized simulacrum of myself. That’s to be expected (though how, in the digital age, passport photos are getting worse rather than better is beyond me).

I hate the treacly, jingoistic “America the Beautiful” theme that makes every page scream USA! USA! USA! I VOTED FOR GEORGE W. BUSH!

Also why, in a document designed expressly for the purposes of visiting other countries, does every page serve as an ad to stay home and see the wonders of this country? OK, so sure, the first photo/engraving page sports my own hometown sights of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Clearly, they’re trying to butter me up. Won’t work.

After Philly’s contributions, we get Cape Cod, Mt. Rushmore, and the Statue of Liberty. We get a Mississippi riverboat, places in the west where buffalo roam beneath Teton-y peaks and men in cowboy hats wrangle longhorns, some flat place in the Midwest where wheat and handplows rule, a train in Utah, and a grizzly eating salmon in the shade of a totem pole in the Pacific Northwest, saguaro in Arizona, and a palm tree in Hawaii. This patriotic march of images culminates in a final photo which implies, by extension, that the U.S. also owns the moon and outer space in general. Nice. And we wonder why the rest of the world finds us to arrogant and self-important.

I also hate the instructions that the document is never to be folded, spindled, or mutilated for fear of damaging the Big Brother microchip embedded inside so anyone with a receiver can steal all my personal data. Don’t they know what travel does to a passport? The one I sent in to have replaced resembled nothing so much as a wad of damp cardboard with a mash-up of some exotic stamps barely visible in it.

Finally: I hate the fact that I have to memorize a whole new passport number. What was wrong with the old one?