Saturday, 19 August 2017

Goodbye America, thanks for the ride

When it comes to Americans, most Europeans I have met are snobs.
It may be jealousy, but lots of reasons are cited. I have heard that Americans are, among other things, brash, shallow, ignorant, flashy, loud, cultural philistines and gun-toting maniacs.  

The US has some pretty good wines, yet nobody I know buys them. No, they will say, they are not snobs. There are some very good Chilean and Argentinian wines that they do buy. It does not have to be French. It is just they cannot imagine that Coca-Cola drinking Americans can make good wine.

My Dutch acquaintances prefer a French film to an American one. Even though they usually speak good English and hardly any French.
It is a question of style. I think that is the most important reason for the European feeling of superiority: they think Americans have no style.

I used to speak up for Americans. You see, I liked America. I am an old-style social justice warrior weaned on "Shane"  and "The Lone Ranger".
I admired that wonderful constitution, drawn up by some of the greatest minds the world has ever known. I identified with the cowboy, the individual who stood up against evil. I thought American literature, music and art were among the best in the world. 
“Nighthawks” is my favourite painting.

Most of all, I loved American "film noir".
As a teenager I used to watch film noir on British television. I admired everything about the films: the dark and brooding atmosphere, the stories, dialogue, actors, actresses, and music. 
Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson and all those mysterious and seductive leading ladies. I fell in love with Rita Hayworth when I saw her in “Gilda”.
It was one long cultural joyride for me.

I got over Rita Hayworth and I have gotten over America.
It is now the land of psychic epidemics, mob media, zealots, foul-mouthed snowflakes and social justice bigots. It has become an intellectual desert.

Goodbye America, thanks for the ride.

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