Culturally Discombobulated

America Comprehended: Labor Day

LABOR DAY: A national holiday marking the last day of the calendar year that Tom Wolfe (a man who lives in perpetual fear of the splashback) can dress in his trademark suit and not be considered gauche.

Back to school book selections

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There’s some articles I’ve come across recently that state that there’s been 74 school shootings in the US over the last 18 months. With such depressing numbers I’m unsure whether this back to school display at my local Barnes & Noble is intended as darkly satricial or cynically practical.

Seattle

I’d like to claim that my perception of America is borne out of a lifetime’s close reading of the country’s literature and history, but the truth is that the America pottering about in my subconscious has been mostly formed by pop-culture guff (if that isn’t considered too harsh in these days of geek-chic affectation). When my wife (then girlfriend) first mooted that we move to Philadelphia from London my misfiring synapses didn’t spark thoughts of Benjamin Franklin and the Continental Congress, but instead the theme tune to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And when wandering Seattle recently it was shaming to note most of my preconceptions about that city come from a twenty-year-old sitcom about a psychiatrist that was filmed 950 miles away in LA.

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Desultory thoughts #117

Just as I begin to feel America is less foreign, less other, I remind myself that this is a society that considers “Chad” an acceptable name for a man.