I liked Boston. There was that nice lawyer TV series with a smug bastard for a main character. Two smug bastards actually. I was there for only less than a week, but I still retain some semblance of directional/geographical memory. I probably can make my way to the train station, lobster place and gyros place…not to mention the apple shop (by apple, I mean, the non-edible and expensive kind) and the list goes on. I amaze myself sometimes…and yet I can’t remember the faces of people I haven’t seen for several months. I probably will visit Boston eventually, when it’s convenient. (I was actually planning to at the end of last year, but unfortunate events, I had no mood by then.) okay, but no one cares that I went to Massachusetts to stuff my face.
Things are more interesting when a British guy goes to USA and writes about each and every state. (or some Kazakh…who was actually British also) But not any British guy…
Drawing comparisons in his introduction:
“There is one phrase I probably heard more than any other on my travels: ‘Only in America!’
If you were to hear a Briton say ‘Tch! Only in Britain, eh?’ it would probably refer to something that was either predictable, miserable,oppressive,dull, bureaucratic, queuey, damp, spoil-sporty or incompetent — or a mixture of all those.”
Commenting on national history:
” The idea that the Puritans came to New England to avoid persecution is lodged firmly in the American psyche. Gore Vidal’s view that they came, ‘not to be free from persecution, but on the contrary, to be free to persecute’….Quakers, for example, were persecuted, suppressed, tortured and discriminated against in much of New England throughout the early years of the colonies. But I suppose the tortuous alteration of real history and the elevation of the Pilgrim Fathers to heroic status was important for America, which needed to create a vision of itself consonant with its lofty aims. I dare say Robin Hood was a greedy cut-throat and Boadicea a cruel tyrant — all nations twist history and cleanse their heroes in order to express an ideal to live up to.”
My newly baked knowledge of US history says thats how Rhode Island and Connecticut (New Haven soon after Hartford) were founded. The names may ring a bell. …dissenter colleges.
In conversation with a Salem witch:
” ‘The Christians went from persecuting us to scorning us for what they call superstition.’
I murmur sympathy, which is genuine. To me all religions are equally nonsensical and the idea that Christians, with their particular invisible friends, virgin births, immaculate conceptions and bread turning into flesh, could have the cheek to mock people like Laurie for being ‘superstitious’ is appalling humbug”
In conversation with a black, gay minister:
” ‘You’re obviously gay,’ I say to him. ‘But some people might be surprised to know that you are also openly black..no, hang on. I’ve got that the wrong way round.’
And that’s just one chapter.
Btw the book “Stephen Fry in America” is supposedly 8.99 pounds. I got it for 7SGD at some supermarket clearance sale, and chanced upon it at my pile of ”i bought at dirt cheap rates on impulse but haven’t had the time to go through” books.
I guess it wasn’t a good idea for supermarkets to sell books. For them, at least.