Blue Gal of Blue Gal fame unsubtly forced me into the realm of the liberal blogosphere. In truth, I have always been a lurker and frequent commenter, but I've resisted jumping in with both feet until now.
I must admit that I am a novice to this process, though I do possess some long-neglected skills with HTML. Forgive me while I brush up on them.
I don't have a cutesy title for this blog at the moment, though I will probably develop one over time. Additionally, you will find on this site that leitmotifs such as female undergarments, will be in short supply.
And without further ado, here's today topic.
What IS America?
Recently, I purchased a DVD of Beyond the Fringe. To the uninitiated, BTF was a satirical West London comedy revue which ran from roughly 1960-1964. It was comprised of four highly educated British comedians: Jonathan Miller, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, and Alan Bennett. It is not too much of a stretch to think of this show as the precursor to Monty Python. BTF arguably ushered in the British satire boom of the 1960s and 1970s. The top two talents to emerge from the show were Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. Moore, no doubt, will be more familiar to American audiences than Cook, which is highly regrettable, as he was certainly the lesser of the two talents.
The opening skit, entitled Home Thoughts from Abroad, finds the cast struggling to define America. With typical British stoicism and logic, they come to a conclusion that America is certainly not England.
Moore: I leave for New York in two day's time.
Cook: You must understand that New York isn't America. To go to America, you must visit the South.
Bennett: (disagreeing) The South is charming, but it isn't America.
Miller: Or Washington DC. But then again, DC has a wonderful sort of Parisian atmosphere, but it certainly isn't America.
Cook: You might as well take a trip to Los Angeles, but it's no more American than San Francisco, which certainly isn't America.
Miller: Or you could visit the West, and the West is certainly fascinating, but it isn't America.
Moore: (puzzled ) Where Is America?
I think perhaps we want a sense of literate, enlightened culture that rises above the excesses and the petty superstitions of the masses. But that seems to work at cross purposes to the very idea of America.
What is America, first of all? We are little more than Transients in Acadia, constantly redefining ourselves, and always in a constant state of flux.
I think for culture to take root, there must be some sort of homogeny amongst a people. And America is the antithesis of homogeny. Even now, the dynamics of this country are shifting dramatically.
America in 2006 will likely look nothing like America in 2046.
But I daresay that we'll still be having some variation of this same argument.