Bring back our “prickly scepticism” towards America
As America ascended to “geopolitical pre-eminence” last century, says James Marriott in The Times, we Brits reassured ourselves that although we were an “inferior power”, we were “wiser and more civilised” than the brash upstarts across the Atlantic. For all the “excitement of blue jeans and rock’n’roll”, students surveyed in the 1960s described Americans as “adolescent, materialistic and slightly hysterical”. As a child in the 1990s and 2000s, I remember a general perception of Americans as “overweight consumerists”, addicted to guns and susceptible to wacko religious enthusiasms. We laughed at headlines about them not being able to “find anywhere outside the US on the map”, and at sitcoms starring moronic tourists “ordering obscene quantities of food”.