Wednesday, July 8, 2009

We Visit America

I was in a bookstore today, and I saw a book called Stephen Fry In America.

I was piqued by this, certainly, because I love Stephen Fry, and I think he is the Oscar Wilde of my generaton. Also, that he's travelling through the States is so very similar to Wilde!

Sometimes, I get the sense while reading that some people, when talking about "the West", really mean "America". So this book really got my attention. I opened it and flipped through a few pages. In each state, he has a table with digestable info on each state: "Initials" and "capital" and "flower" and other inane stuff like that.

It amused me, seeing America treated like a tourist spot, because it reminded me that America is, after all, just another country on this planet, and for all its cultural imperialism, for all its superpower status, for all its cultual exports - it's still, for many people in the world, a country we visit, and don't live in, a country full of novelty and people who are Not Like Me/Us, even though their media posits them as the default.

My country, too, is a tourist spot for many people who visit. Yet for people like me, it is still home. Same with other countries. It's nice to have this put back into perspective for me.

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