Welcome to the thoughts that wash up on the sandy beaches on my mind. Paddling is encouraged.. but watch out for the sharks.
Not even a Norden bombsight could hit so small a target these days, reduced as the Constitution has been by an entire century of would-be kings!
I have tried to get my head around the iconic status of the Constitution in American culture. We have nothing like that here - and no written Constitution of course. The only document that comes close is probably Magna Carta and, although its recognised as important, its certainly not revered. Likewise the Founding Fathers have an iconic status that only Winston Churchill can even approach in British history - and his significance (apart from arguably winning WW2 for us!) isn't viewed anywhere like in the same way. I do find it odd though that a late 18th century work of political argument is still seen as relevant in the early 21st century. *Obviously* I need to read up on the whole cultural phenomena so alien to me!
I have heard it analyzed in terms of a religious document, the sacred text of the American experience. I believe, frankly, it's the only thing that can make "America" a term with any validity at all. We're not a distinct ethnic group, there's no predominant supernatural religion, and our "common culture" is a veneer of mass consumption which won't sustain itself. The regional and local cultures that did exist are slowly fading, so the only way we can exist as a country is to share the same basic understanding of the cosmos and political man as contained within the Declaration and Constitution. If we lose that, then all the United States is is a broad area of the planet controlled by a massive infrastructure run from D.C.Functionally I think we've already lost the constitution. But if people everywhere start believing that we are all naked before the Empire in D.C., I don't know what would happen. My hope is that we can rebuild local communities that can give people the meaning they will never stop looking for.
America feels strange - so familiar yet, at the same time, so very different. Sometimes it's really hard to get my head around the place! But I suppose that's the same from 'over there' I would imagine.
For me, England and the United States have always had such a close association -- so much shared literature and history, such easy access to one another's respective shows -- that I wouldn't wonder if America may feel more foreign to someone in England than the other way around. Then again, in my circle of friends British cinema and television are very popular -- whether geeks into Dr. Who or people who have somehow come across Fawlty Towers, Vicar of Dibley, that sort of thing. And there's youtube, which can trap me for hours with Mitchell and Webb, or Miller and Armstrong...
Most of my books (as you can see) are by American authors - if not always about American culture per se. I watch American TV (Fringe Series 4 ATM), American movies, eat and drink American food etc.... Yet the news that comes out of the US still weird's me out! [grin]
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