Baltimore Sun reader David Crosby shares these observations:
Your piece in the Baltimore Sun a few days ago regarding [an] upsurge of anti-American sentiment in Malvern was of great interest. Having lived in London for nine years and in France for four years, the question of how one’s country is perceived by others, and by one’s self, from afar is a complex issue.
My love of baroque music, theatre, art and, most importantly, the sense of humour make me miss London every day. The general feeling of anti-Americanism was definitely present when we returned to the US in early 2005. There has always been a certain chippiness from some people in England regarding Americans — uncultivated, vulgar, loud — the list goes on. This, I believe, is envy of the purest sort for the vast material wealth America enjoys. It is understandable and, largely, inoffensive to me. What has always amused me is that writers who criticise other nationalities seem to presume that their immediate circle is respresentative of the typical citizen. A.N. Wilson loves to go on in the Evening Standard about how uncouth we Americans are. Clearly he has never been to Thorpe Park or Chessington World of Adventures when every white van man inside the M25 brings their family to cavort and drink masses of lager for the day.
My experience with the French regarding anti-Americanism has been that they usually judge people on their individual merits rather than thinking George Bush is a moron and an American, you are an American ergo you are a moron. It is, nonetheless, unfortunate that America is now so reviled overseas. I first went to France in 1977 and found that people were largely positive about the US. Those who had visited were particularly impressed by the generosity of my countrymen. It is very sad that we have managed to squander most of the goodwill in a few short years.
It is paradoxical that the French are so reviled by the “racaille” of America when in many ways we resemble them far more than we do the British. We certainly share the belief that the sun shines out of our backsides if you will forgive the crudeness.
In any event, there is probably a book to be written on the subject of UK-US relations and perhaps you are the man to write. In the meantime I will anxiously await the arrival of Malvern water in New York’s restaurants and posh grocers at $7 a bottle.