Inigo Thomas on a Reluctant Repatriate
Justin Webb, the BBC reporter, has returned from the US to assume new responsibilities in London, but it seeems as if he isn't pleased to be in the UK. On his blog, Webb says: 'Now back in the UK I find myself utterly at sea – I say hello to people I pass in the street. They lunge on, muttering insults.'
Then, without offering any examples of what he means, he goes on to write about the 'kindness' of Americans, his affection for American cars, his dislike of Swindon, his sense that Britain may be a more violent country than the US, the peaceableness of Americans and their moral fibre. He makes one of those sweeping pseudo-lyrical observations that sound nice but mean almost nothing: ‘As for America's future – this country is full of space and youth and and hope. The rest of the world can seem so jaded in contrast.'
In an earlier post from San Francisco, Webb makes another remark about the differences between the US and Europe. 'Americans can learn things from Europeans but the essence of America, even if it involves weird notions of Biblical denial of women's rights, is somehow more brutally vivacious than the jaded options over the Atlantic.' There's that word 'jaded' again. If Webb dislikes living in the UK so much why doesn't he find an 'option' in Des Moines? He also has a go at the Europeans he sees in San Francisco. 'So many European tourists here: poor things, they have travelled ten hours to come to the only part of America that isn't American. They'll go home knowing nothing.' Unlike the misanthropic and all-knowing Webb.