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I think you get the distrust of LA and the West coast a bit wrong. It's not a distrust or even an envy, but a radical incomprehension. What you term Atlantic cultures just don't getit. It seems to fall outside our radar and the things that turn that culture upside down with tension, the things that move it, make it tick, are so alien to us that it seems somtimes like a kind of stage or TV set (this, if you like, is our collective parochialism). Having said that, of course, most of us have never even BEEN there - so it takes on a kind of mythical, larger han life status. he Euopean love afaiar with it, thouh is large and extended. So we we don't 'like' it is unfair. I guess we consume it an exotic other...


Understood. I'm probably thinking more of the sharp, usually fairly vicious dismissals of LA that occur in contemporary British novels (by such as Self, Amis, etc.); or the frequent dismissals of Hollywood aesthetics; or the casual 'we all know Angelenos are horrible' comments one sees on, for instance, Amazon reviews or IMDB comments. All of which usually bug me... which is perhaps a pointless reaction.


no, of course - it is a kind of knee-jerk reaction. But I really don't think it's about jealousy. I do find that analysis a little arrogant, and not always helpful in this context. Whilst the US fascinates me for its massiveness, it differentiatedness and its fabulous incomprehensible fragmentary nature, there is a remarkable continuity in US citizens' understanding of 'our' anxiety about US hegemony (be that political, cultural or whatever). To dismiss it as mere jealousy closes down any possibility of dialogue and holds in place the very kinds of knee-jerk generalisations you seem to want to destabilise. In both directions, I think there is an unhelpful tendency to over-articulate the differences (an I am by no means immune to that tendency). This, then, is my new resolution: to be more differentiated and nuanced in my engagement with US culture. I hope you'll try to reciprocate, but don't expect me to start liking country music - that is a gesture too far. :-)

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