Alex Massie

Americana: A Partial List

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Some things I will miss about America:

Appalachia: music, people, landscape

The Wire

American libertarianism: not an entirely lost cause

Thanksgiving: America's best, most civilised, holiday

Amtrak sleeping cars and trans-America travel in general (except by air)

The classic American diner - especially in small towns where the waitress will always call you "Hon".

Skipping work for afternoon baseball (even in RFK!)


Commercials for "not available in stores" products such as "Miracle Putty" or "Magic Bag" or anything else that will change your life forever.

The American West: idea and landscape alike

Confirmation hearings (theory)

Proper country music: Cash, Jennings, Haggard et al. Also Graham Parsons and Emmylou Harris.

College football Saturdays in the fall (Go Blue!)

Cheap consumer durables. (Thanks China).

The Kirov Opera's annual visit to Washington.

But above all I'll miss the Idea of America: an idea that, however scuffed, endures and retains it's extraordinary power: an idea that every man is endowed with the right to pursue his own idea of happiness (every woman too, of course) provided that quest does not impinge upon the rights of others. That remains a revolutionary concept worth defending against enemies domestic and foreign. So too the notion that, with hard work and a dollop of luck, we may make some headway in the struggle to be true to the better parts of our better selves.

And some things I won't miss:

To Catch a Predator

Tim Russert

The United States Congress

Immigration at JFK


Factory farming of livestock

People who bore on about Europe's future under Sharia Law

Mitt Romney


John Edwards

Martha Stewart


Confirmation hearings (practice)

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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