10 September 2005

America

Reflection of a statue at Boulder Dam ->
Out of envy, many Europeans harbour distaste for the United States, what it stands for and how it goes about its business but, if there is such a word, I am happy to declare myself an "Americophile".
When I was a university student, I spent two summers in Ohio, working as a camp counsellor at the Red Raider Camp near Chagrin Falls on the outskirts of Cleveland. They were magical summers when I met so many Americans, drank beer at Skip and Ray's bar, watched the Indians, saw Barry Manilow, fell in love, picked up a hitch-hiker who thought that England and New England were synonymous, danced till I literally dropped, ate my first Big Mac, saw a bear swimming across Rainy Lake in Minesotta, saw Bob Dylan's childhood home, cried farewell to love on a Greyhound bus, scaled the Empire State Building. It was all so wonderful.
It took me a long time to go back. I hesitated because back in the seventies I felt I should have stayed and become an American. It felt so much like home to me. I loved it. So going back was hard. In the last three years we have had three fantastic holidays there - all self-designed on the Internet. First it was Georgia and northern Florida, then the north east - returning after almost thirty years to Ohio, then last Easter we flew to Los Angeles - drove to Vegas - then up to San Francisco via the breathtaking Sequoia National Park.
My wife and children have become enamoured - like me - devoted Americophiles. It's difficult to pinpoint where the positive feelings come from. Partly it's like you're a character in a Hollywood film and partly it's the space - then partly it's the fortunate fact that America's language is my own and it's also about the pioneering spirit - like you're entering a country which is still young and such a vibrant mixture of cultures. In America, I never tire of looking and listening. Sleep sometimes seems wasteful. Strangely, I feel I belong there even though I am immensely proud to be English... So to those who scorn America out of envy and misunderstanding, I say "Take a hike buddy!"
<- On Alcatraz

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for the comment. My blog really has the feeling of surgical instruments huh? hehe. Feel free to become blogmates with me. It'll be twice the fun you could only dream of having! hehe.

    So you've been to Ohio, eh? It's kinda boring, but it'll do.

    I'll mosey around your blog, see what you are all about.. but right now I have to get my laundry.

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  2. Americophile? We could always use a few of those. Of course, there are some American things, like Bush, that I wouldn't mind getting rid of.

    I agree with you, the Diva's blog has a potency to it that few can convey.

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  3. Thanks for your American love. You make me feel bad about hating England. I don't really hate England, except that I always feel like we in America are always getting hate from England, and there are many things about England that are easy to make fun of.

    I've always found Euro-hatred of America quite hypocritical since the United States and all of the Americas are the bastard children of European cultures.

    Let's end the hate and start the love. There's good and bad in every culture. Nobody has it entirely right, or entirely wrong.

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  4. Thanks for paying a visit to my blog.

    Like I said, I don't really hate England, I just like to play that I do, because its fun sometimes. I actually am quite an Anglophile in a lot of ways. I love tons of English music and I love English literature. Part of my problem is that I probably got a little bit too much post-colonialism from the professor in a James Joyce seminar I took in college. But I've never been to England. If I ever visit, I'm sure I will like it.

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  5. how refreshing to read your point of view!! I have been to europe on several occasions, and found that most people seemed to have a dislike for americans (at least those with whom I interacted)..
    nice to see another point of view.

    (I have not been to Yorkshire, except in my mind reading the James Herriott books-- aren't those set in Yorkshire?)

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  6. Of course I'm partial to America. Thank you for your comments. I have never been to England or anywhere except Okinawa as a kid. But England is my ancestral home. Plus I'd love to breathe the air Tolkien breathed. Ha! And The Monty Python bunch.

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  7. Glad you enjoy it over here, word to wise, avoide the east coast/gulf coast during hurriane season. I live on the west coast of Florida and have been thru some bad storms here. I was suppose to go to England in 1991 but trip was stopped cause of gulf war. I hope to someday take my son, he's a big HP fan (like mom is). My all time fave actor is from England...Gary Oldman.

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  8. Your all over the blogosphere leaving comments aren't ya. Thanks for the kind words about Ohio (it is "The Heart of it All") as we use to say. I wish I could visit your lovely country. It is a dream of mine to see London and the English countryside before I die.

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  9. Makes me want to tatoo the Stars and Stripes on my ass and run naked through town! Thanks for the props, chap!

    I would have to dissagree on the language, though. I spent a week in your neck of the woods back in '97...couple days in Doublin, couple in London for a school trip...I couldn't understand a WORD of what those folks were saying!

    You can come visit anytime you'd like. Stay as long as you want!

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.