Monday, December 11, 2006

American Gracelessness

Britain, and by extension Europe, had its charms, but it was clear that the United States, in all its gracelessness, was where the future of the West would be determined.

The above is from this fellow, Irving Kristol, former editor (and founder) of the journal The Public Interest. He is discussing his stay in London during the 1950's and I was caught by the word "gracelessness."

American life does have what could be called "gracelessness." We have WalMart, SUVs, cable television, Applebees, and bass boats. Do we have grace, though?

If I'm right and we do lack grace then I think I know the reason: we overvalue sincerity. We like "to tell it like it is" too much. Candor, rather than charm, is our goal. My grandmother will say what's on her mind and then announce, "I have to be honest." But she doesn't have to be honest: she wants to be "honest." She's American.

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