Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Friday, 11 February 2011

Painful change

Duchess Omnium says put up or shut up. Fearfully, I’m putting up.

John Gunther’s Inside USA, a thick book published in 1947, gave a flavour (political, financial, geographic, cultural) of the country, state by state, and left me fascinated. In late 1965 I contrived to get work as a journalist in Pittsburgh.

Living in the suburbs, in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia then Pittsburgh again, I noticed how life differed from the impressions created by Inside USA, the movies, TV series and reporting in British newspapers. Beneficially in most instances. My family and I enjoyed life. When I returned to Britain in 1972 I found myself defending “real” America against the leftwing views of many journalists I worked with.

Time passed, my suburban experience faded and my view of America was now provided and conditioned by the media. It seemed the country was changing. Evangelical Christianity was becoming intrusive, internal politics (combined alarmingly with religion) less caring, the country’s international stance parochial and that of a bully, the rule of law sullied and the office of president from time to time farcical. I returned four times and merely passing through immigration appeared to confirm these impressions.

I am now less attracted to long-distance holidays. This disinclination, plus my admittedly second-hand views of the USA, has brought me to the point where I doubt I would ever willingly go back.

And yet, and yet… I am aware of the gap between my expectations in 1965 and the eventual, comforting reality. Friends live there and I have made American friends of great value through blogging. I feel I am betraying something or someone. Or simply putting myself out to grass.