Some years ago, I wrote a piece on my experience as a student abroad. This experience had much to do with making a conservative, and a patriot, out of me. It wasn’t the anti-Americanism of the Europeans around me that had an effect. No, that was par for the course, and is. It was the anti-Americanism of the Americans — which was also par for the course, and is. Oh, how they were ashamed! They did everything they could to be disassociated from the boobish land that Reagan ruled.
I’ve heard some of the same stuff over the last couple of weeks: “We’re so fat, we’re so ignorant, we’re so vulgar, we don’t speak any languages, The Sound of Music is stupid.” No it isn’t, baby: If you live till 120, you won’t contribute anything a tenth as good as “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.”
Anyway, you get my drift. I could go on, and on, but there aren’t pixels in space enough . . .
P.P.S. For a piece I did on Americans and foreign languages, go here. Published in August 2008, it was called “Merci beaucoup, Barack.”
P.P.P.S. Here at the Salzburg Festival, the main concern is, not Barack Obama, but Barak the Dyer — a character in Die Frau ohne Schatten, written by Strauss and Hofmannsthal, two of the festival’s fathers.