Beyond the glitz and shock, the checkout stands and game shows, there’s an American reality that doesn’t much change. This human landscape is actually a place in our heart.
Is there still such a thing as “national character” — in a world becoming ever more homogenized? Or is there, even, “regional character” — in a nation ever more urbanized?
Yes, Virginia, there is still an American character. It may no longer be as obvious (to us) as Mount Rushmore or the Marlboro man or Babe Ruth or Marilyn Monroe, but it’s there, lingering below the surface. It derives from our unique history.
These are not your media-made icons, but out-of-the-way people in out-of-the-way places. Our character seems to survive in the unnoticed interstices of our lives.