03 May Trevanian

It is not Americans I find annoying; it’s Americanism: a social disease that must inevitably affect each of the mercantile nations in turn, and is called ‘American’ only because your nation is the most advanced case of the malady, much as one speaks of the Spanish flu, or Japanese Type-B encephalitis.  Its symptoms are a loss of work ethic, a shrinking of inner resources, and a constant need for external stimulation, followed by spiritual decay and moral narcosis.  You can recognize the victim by his constant effort to get in touch with himself, to believe his spiritual feebleness is an interesting psychological warp, to construe his fleeing from responsibility as evidence that he and his life are uniquely open to new experience.  In the latter stages the sufferer is reduced to seeking that most trivial of human activities: fun.  As for your food, no one denies that the Americans excel in one narrow rubric: the snack.  And I suppose there’s something symbolic in that.