In Washington, the first thing people tell you is what their job is. In Los Angeles you learn their star sign. In Houston you’re told how rich they are. And in New York they tell you what their rent is.
The formal Washington dinner party has all the spontaneity of a Japanese imperial funeral.
Disney World has acquired by now something of the air of a national shrine. American parents who don’t take their children there sense obscurely that they have failed in some fundamental way, like Muslims who never made it to Mecca.
America loves the representation of its heroes to be not just larger than life, but stupendously, awesomely bigger than anything else. If blue whales built statues to each other they’d be smaller then these.
Living in New York is like being at some terrible late-night party. You’re tired, you’ve had a headache since you arrived, but you can’t leave because then you’d miss the party.
Reagan was a flesh and blood version of any other mute national emblem, say the Statue of Liberty. Everyone knows what she represents, but no one would dream of asking her opinion.
Americans are fascinated by their own love of shopping. This does not make them unique. It’s just that they have more to buy than most other people on the planet. And it’s also an affirmation of faith in their country, its prosperity and limitless bounty. They have shops the way that lesser countries have statues.
Fish have water, the bushmen of the Kalahari have sand, and Houstonians have interior décor.
In Washington, success is just a training course for failure.
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