Thursday, July 04, 2002

I was just sitting in a bookshop cafe yesterday, and I picked up this wretched book. (I think I wasn't thinking clearly, and thought I was picking up this issue of Granta, which is full of thoughtful pieces from foreign writers who have had experiences of going on American book tours, where they have found lots of sophisticated and intelligent people turn up to meet them in places like Boise, Idaho, and where they have received much genuine and kind hospitality). From the bits I read, An unending screed explaining why the people of the rest of the world are exploited because America uses a large portion of the worlds resources and is therefore rich when they are poor, how how the presence of McDonald's everywhere wrecks local cultures, and more yawn inducing stuff. (Actually, the publication date of the books is today. That's right - these scumbags feel the need to have it published on the fourth of July. Presumably they are going to feel the need to publish a second volume on September 11). Guys, the world has no shortage of resources, and America uses more of them than anyone else because it has more uses for them than anyone else. It has more uses for them because of everything that is good about America, which is Americans ingenuity, openness and good sense. McDonald's have stores throughout the world because people want to eat in McDonald's. Nobody makes anyone do so. (Actually, personally I have always found that the more American chain stores (and international chain stores that originate in other countries, too. These are not nearly as uncommon as you think) per square mile, the more culturally interesting and culturaly complicated the place. Go to Camden markets in London or Shibuya/Harajuku in Tokyo some time for an example).

In any event, what I mean by all this, is happy fourth of July, everyone. May all of America have a good party.

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