Thursday, March 05, 2009
That Europe-America divide crops up again in Roger Cohen's column. The striking sentence is this: 'Nobody in their right mind would give up the manifold sensual, aesthetic and gastronomic pleasures offered by French savoir-vivre for the unrelenting battlefield of American ambition were it not for one thing: possibility.' This is the balanced, liberal, patriotic view. It's not quite American exceptionalism, but it's close. Unremarked by Cohen, it raises a crucial but probably unanswerable question. Does American 'possibility' exclude at least one possibility - a quality of life to equal that of the French? I'm inclined to think it might, but much depends on how tightly you define 'possibility'.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:19 am