Country Number 26
Posted: Jun 4, 2005 12:31:45 PM
Hello everyone! Yes, I'm off on another trip, to a new continent. The United States of America is country number 26. I'm flying out tomorrow, and I'll be around the San Francisco area for the next ten weeks, seeing the sights, lounging around, and of course writing the occasional report. In contrast to my last long trip (the archived reports are here) I'm not going to be travelling intensively, but instead sitting back and trying to find out something about the real America.
Ah yes, America. Everyone has an opinion about the United States, about its politics, its society, its media, and I suppose that's because the States is a huge influence on the rest of the world. We can't avoid it. America is the new Roman Empire, and all roads lead there. Or away from there, if you prefer. America is amazingly large, and amazingly influential, and these facts mean that it is also a large target for criticism. One of the most common criticisms I've heard about America is that it does not look to the outside world, for approval, disapproval, or commentary. That the average American is profoundly ignorant of the rest of the world, and that their perception of the rest of the world is tainted by this ignorance.
It's an interesting criticism, but it occurs to me that most of the people I've heard this from haven't actually been to America. The sheer presumption in this observation is, therefore, fantastic. How can you criticize a nation for being oblivious and prejudging the outside world, without yourself having seen that nation?
Well, I'm heading to America. I'm not aiming to criticize - because every American I've met has delighted me with their bluff honesty and genuine attitude - but I do want to see what all the fuss is about. I want to see America from the inside. I'm going to Rome. My disjointed and undoubtedly biased observations will be recorded here so you can laugh at them, agree with them, disagree with them, or ignore them. If you want you can just skip the words and go straight to the photos - this time I have the capability to upload pictures while I'm travelling, and I plan to.
James T. Farrell once said "America is so vast that almost everything said about it is likely to be true, and the opposite is probably equally true." But then, he also said "There's one good kind of writer - a dead one", so don't pay too much attention to him.
This report has been archived - for new reports go here.