Things We Love About America, Part VII


"Uncuriosity is one of the reasons I love America. In France, though I speak French well, my accent brands me as an Englishman. In England my accent brands me as – what?  Other Englishmen would tell: accent is the first characteristic by which English people make judgements about each other.  In America my accent means nothing at all... Nothing about me causes comment.  I m one of the crowd, simply another atom in a great, shifting, restless, busy, amiable, almost undifferentiated multitude that is the American people.   

There are other large countries on earth, Russia, China, India. Only the Americans have succeeded in creating a society of complete cultural uniformity ... To an outsider the uniformity of America is profoundly relaxing. America makes no demands on one, imposes no expectations, asks no questions.  It accepts the foreigner as it accepts the native traveller, someone without origins or fixed abode or past or future, a being of the here-and-now, just passing through. I love passing through. A curious, delectable, weightless, free-floating trance possesses me when I stop for a moment in places like Hardin, Montana, or Half Moon Bay, California, or Springfield, Ohio, born of the knowledge that no one will ask me who I am or what I do or whence I come or whither I am going." - John Keegan, "One Englishman’s America."