Surprising places to learn things
First, on Richard Littlejohn, that staunch defender of all things British, a man who stands by his country through thick and thin:
Littlejohn, you need to know, spends a deal of time in a gated community in Florida. Much of his family lives in Detroit. He really thinks America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. If you cut him in half . . . I’d be grateful.
And then, for all those conservatarians who seem to believe that Clarkson is the last defender within the evil BBC of all they believe to be noble and good while standing up to those who want to make us all Europeans:
I, on the other hand, feel more at home in a Zurich tram station than I do in the bar of a Ritz-Carlton hotel. And I have more in common with my dog than I do with the immigration officers at an American airport.
It’s the little things that baffle me most of all. The way every coffee shop plays Pachelbel’s canon in D on the Muzak system, the way the middle classes don’t wear socks, the way they address one another in such loud voices across the hotel swimming pool, the inability they all have to locate themselves, or anyone else, on a map of the world, the love affair with country music, the mullets, the television ad breaks, the way they don’t offer you a cup of coffee or a drink when you go to their houses. I always feel like a civilised human being at a garden party for very rich apes.
Imagine my horror then when my wife casually announced the other day she’d like a pick-up. “What,” I exclaimed, “in the name of all that’s holy, do we want one of those for?” We’re European. We were sipping tea while the Americans were shooting Indians. We’ve had 2,000 years to get used to civilisation, not 20 minutes. We’re advanced, we’re slim, we’re at the cutting edge of evolution. We think that shooting bears is daft. Budweiser gives us a headache and we think George Bush is an arse. So why in God’s name do we want to drive around in a car made from a hen house and two bits of railway track?
This, of course, is the man who started his chat show by removing America from the map of the world and throwing it in the bin, but some people like to forget that.