The American Ambassador

The American Ambassador came and spoke at the Royal Academy tonight.   I suppose there comes a time when it is not just the policemen, but the Ambassadors who are younger than one.   Suffice it to say that Matthew Barzun is extremely nice, intelligent and highly articulate, the son of Jacques Barzun who pioneered cultural history in the US and was an expert on baseball as well as the history of ideas.   Matthew conducted a very simple and effective exercise which was to ask each of us to draw what we least liked about the US.   Several of us, including me, tried to think of an easy way of drawing its immigration policies, those cold, inhospitable halls by which one is required to enter the US.   As many people drew guns which is easier.   I hadn’t realised that there are as many guns as there are American citizens, whereas in the UK only 6% of the population owns guns.   The non-resident Americans all tried to draw the IRS.   The other thing expressed was a view that Americans are arrogant which I thought was a touch discourteous to someone who was so courtly and unarrogant.

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