Yeah, yeah, we're turning into a Panopticon police-surveillance state; and we have Blimpish foreign pooh-bahs to point out our flaws; and we are as always going to hell; et cetera,
But in what other country can you go around the corner to the Kwik-E-Mart and come back with the haul shown above, representing breweries on the east coast and the west coast and in the Rockies, on a warm-but-not-sultry early-June afternoon? After a healthful and bracing run, of course, in designed-in-the-USA Vibram Five Fingers shoes.
The out-of-focus bottle at the bottom center is worth noting, alongside the familiar stalwarts in their six-packs. It's the new "Double Agent IPL" from Boston Brewing / Sam Adams. Here is what the label would look like if it were in focus:
Instead of IPA for India Pale Ale, we have IPL for India Pale Lager. Again I say: match this, you ever-rising Chinese with your REEB and Snow, you stylish Koreans with your OB.
James Fallows is a staff writer for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. He and his wife, Deborah Fallows, are the authors of the new book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America, which has been a New York Times best seller and is the basis of a forthcoming HBO documentary.