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Posted Mon Aug 24th, 2009 12:47am Post subject: Now I know Why I Love America

Stephen, your "Stephen Fry in America" is revelatory - just when we thought we knew everything about America, along you come with your brave odyssey. I'm guessing that you did not expect to be as moved by the openness, generosity, honesty, naivete and sophistication awaiting you there. As an Australian, and I can only look through misty eyes at the way Americans love their country so. Thank you for bringing that to us. And you're not afraid to show how affected you've been by some of the people you've met and the spectacles you've witnessed e.g. the football game. It was so over the top, it also brought a tear to my eye.

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Posted Sun Aug 30th, 2009 11:51pm Post subject: Now I know Why I Love America

Dear Stephen, this elderly Aussie is LOVING your American trip! Think of the money, time and temperature extremes you are saving us as we enjoy vicariously viewing all the places we would love to see. Brilliant! We have recently returned from 3 months driving our selves in a similar manner around the UK, enjoying many serendiptious joys, far off the well worn tourist track, so really relate to the "windscreen views" you are bringing us of America, and all your adventures.
Many thanks, and much love to you, too.

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Posted Tue Oct 20th, 2009 2:35pm Post subject: Now I know Why I Love America

Thank you for making this show.
As an ex-pat american, who now lives permantly in Beautiful Britan, it is very nice to watch this with my new friends and family. Being from Detroit, Michigan, Brits ask me often how i like it here. My answer is always: " I love it! I can take my kids to the Dr. without worring when i will get paid. No one ever shoots at us. I can send my kids to school. The weather is PERFECT!"
Of course, this often ends with shocked stares.
But it is so very nice to bring the wonder of america to those who know only my trials in detroit, no matter what i tell them about my ventures in the other 46 states i have been to.
thanks again!

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Posted Sun Nov 1st, 2009 5:39pm Post subject: Now I know Why I Love America

Hello there. I missed most of the TV broadcast of Stephen's adventure in the US in his cab. Why? because I don't always follow what is happening on TV, sometimes I don't watch it at all during weeks on end. So I am _also_ missing some really nice programme, like this one... Anyway, I ordered the book on Amazon. Maybe I want first to read the book and then watch the episodes... haha, let's see if I manage in this order...

Since I am a kid, I love the US. No special reason for that. Well I am from tiny Switzerland (but mind you not living there anymore), so maybe that's why i got so fascinated by the States: infinite space, deserts, skyscrapers, giant trees, long beaches, prairies, wildlife, cowboys, and yes a bit later: jazz. Not really the things that you meet around the corner in the Swiss cheesy landscape...

So: I am really impatient to see the rest of Stephen's journey in the States, and see what were his discoveries.

I discovered the States when I was 19: San Francisco. This was my first long trip on my own, and I loved it (the Loma Prieta was a bit dodgy though). I was then in Houston for work, which I also really liked (ok, I give you that: it was in December), and in Chicago for some jazz. Ha, no doubts that if I would be an American, I would not bother travelling anywhere else...

In advance a big thanks to Stephen for letting us share his journey on the other side of the Atlantic


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Posted Wed Dec 30th, 2009 8:42pm Post subject: Now I know Why I Love America

Amazing how people are still so eager and, indeed, desperate to see of America what they want to see. Stephen's own unflinching look at some of America's present disgraces (and, obliquely, at most Americans' by turns arrogant, ignorant and regressive lack of shame about our national disgraces) is more honest than any of the comments above. The golden age of America is GONE, folks. It left with our manufacturing jobs, the Constitution & Bill of Rights (except for the sacred 2nd amendment), habeas corpus, posse comitatus (google it), selectively jettisoned major treaty obligations (except for the impervious "free trade regime") and the implosion of the $12 Trillion dollar housing bubble.

What you adore about America is fading Hollywood and TV images of the past--a combined cultural Antiques & Minstrel Show. Sure, you can visit the security monitored driveway gates of the golden utopias of the super-rich for a fee, but America is a nation so puerile as to have gentrified itself beyond the means of its own dying middle-class. It was that middle-class and its aspirations, neighborhoods, sense of community and national pride that was the heart of America. Now Americans are sickeningly desperate themselves for something to be proud of--something to feel TRULY patriotic about--and all they have are the WMD lies, overblown terrorist attempts that should have been treated as federal and international police problems and not as excuses for unprovoked, unaffordable, open-ended wars (Pakistan and Yemen next), and the biggest, fastest transfer of wealth from the lower- & middle-classes to the banking class in world history.

As conditions in America get uglier and uglier as they can only do at this point one wonders how long the rest of the world will continue to deceive itself about "Amurka" as the golden land of opportunity.
Opportunities always exist for the already affluent, folks. But upward mobility in America is going, going, all but gone. For tens of millions it has already become a cruel economic trap.

A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths are a statistic. - Joseph Stalin

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Posted Mon Jan 18th, 2010 9:40am Post subject: Now I know Why I Love America

Cianistarle, I am also originally from the Detroit area, Royal Oak, Michigan. I found your comments very interesting and Im sure Britain is a wonderful place to live.

Stephen's portrayals of American life are very respectful and I like his work a lot. Even though I have lived in the US all my life, he is showing me places that I now want to visit!

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Posted Fri Aug 27th, 2010 12:53am Post subject: Now I know Why I Love America

America is going right now through EXACTLY what England went through at the End of Empire - the ex-Colonial set, refusing to see that the glory days were last behind them. The rest, capitalising on history and antiques that epitomise the best of the glory days - I mean look at the traffic in Levi's and old Harleys. Same as England dealing in the trappings of Victoriana. Pining for malt shop days- same as England glorifying the best of the Empire period in the quaint setting of Hogwart's.

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Posted Fri Nov 26th, 2010 7:10pm Post subject: Now I know Why I Love America

Alex, you could also make the comparison, as has been done multitudes of times, between the descent of the British Empire to the Roman. Spreading foreign 'interests' too thinly around the globe, factional political plots in the Senate, the destruction of the middle class etc etc. I guess the Romans 'terrorists' were the Barbarians

I agree with some of twentytwo's comments on where we're at now as a country, economically. Most of the discontent and all is due to that. I think revolts and protests will be on the rise in both the states and the UK as time goes on and the money fails to flow fairly.

However, some good things are born of desperation, sacrifice, and hard work. The poor economy and a general interest in 'renewable energy' and the 'grow local/buy local' movements show promise. Some communities promote internal resources and sharing. You get a dairy cow, I get a bread oven, Jane gets some chickens, Harry grows some veggies etc. Instead of driving around looking for these things, we build them ourselves. Sometimes money exchanges hands, sometimes work favors..that sort of stuff. Even people with very small yards in Los Angeles are using the yard space to grow their own food, or learn how to, instead of just having some nice green grass and a few flowers.

Continually evolving technologies are marketed by companies in such a way as to make the consumer feel out of the loop if they don't jump on or feel they need to be in constant motion. Well, becoming self-resourceful often results in a simpler life and I think that sort of life, and god forbid ENJOYING it, is very threatening to tech builders in general. Imagine people leaving their cubicles for the forest, ranch, farm and instead using tech to help them do that instead of tech using them. I'm sorry, but when I see people who quite literally CANNOT stop themselves tapping away on a cell phone, who can't make the break in favor of talking to others, I don't see that as any kind of progress at all.

Anyway, I love this country and being a citizen of it. Whatever the government does, or does not do, they can't own my joy in open vistas, mind boggling arrays of Fall colors in the mountains that stretch on and on for hundreds of miles, the pleasure in a hike through the woods, or a beautiful blue sky overhead. They can't own the sunsets, the stars et al and they most certainly cannot take our enjoyment in these things. I would encourage anyone who can come visit us, to please do so. Americans are humans, and so some of us have as much potential to disappoint you as any other group of people. I would avoid, if you are pleasure seeking, any section of any city that is poor and violent, for obvious reasons. You can find that anywhere, but we have a high concentration of people in the cities. I would more recommend exploring the West, New England in Spring or Fall, the Pacific Coast at any time of year, the South West in Spring, early summer, or even Winter ( some of the national and state parks are actually pretty during those seasons ), and the South, particularly the Smokies/Blue Ridge. In fact, the oldest, NOT the biggest, mountains in the country are located there.

If you like Jazz, check out Ken Burns recent series on that. And check out New Orleans and/or NYC jazz scenes.

There are many, many, many 'quaint' areas of the States. Even when impacted financially, Americans have a history of giving to 'less fortunate', even when they themselves don't have a pot to piss in. And I think that's cool

Or fly in to one coast and drive to the other.

Really? Wow.

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Posted Mon Jan 3rd, 2011 11:24am Post subject: Now I know Why I Love America

Alex, I am not so sure it is our time to go yet: I sure as hell don't crave malt shops as I am too young to have ever enjoyed them, and I am still too young to have ever cared much about love beads or going buck naked in a field listening to the Who. (I barely was able to join elder siblings in the mosh pit..but it was fun.) I leave the pining for that era to mainly right wing politicians like the Bush family, men who for whatever reason do not wish to acknowledge that time has passed, blacks and minorities are part of the new regimen, gays should be incorporated fully into society as June and Ward Cleaver ever were, sex is about freedom AND resposibility, and that a new century has dawned.

What I am sure about is generations. Currently, the Baby Boomers are growing old and refuse to acknowledge their constant bickering has hurt America badly: while they were throwing a fit over Rodney King, they forgot to make key investments in infrastructure. While they screamed and wrung their hands over affirmative action, they allowed so many jobs to be exported overseas without a single protest. While they throw tantrums about Julian Assange and how he should be prosecuted, they do not ever consider that 1) some things the government does SHOULD be told to the people even at the risk of exposing ourselves to enemies 2) that they don't even know how much of this hacker stuff works and don't bother to educate themselves on how it could be a powerful tool in keeping men honest (most don't even know how to use BitTorrent) and 3) Julian Assange may be a little looney (his manifesto suggests anarchic tendencies) but he is an Australian national that committed a cybercrime on foreign soil and that it is not our place to bully others into doing what we want in this case. (With Watergate 40 years ago Boomers had a thrombone over Nixon and appear to be hypocritically following in his footsteps.)

As I said, the good news is that the Boomers are retiring and that there is a GIANT generation quietly coming out of the woodwork. They are civic minded. They really do not care about the culture war crap. They are not likely to vote in the same patterns as have been prevalent for the past thirty years and it was them that voted in the first black president (Boomers screamed about it back and forth for thirty years while getting nothing done, their CHILDREN actually went ahead and made it happen.) They are better traveled than their parents (with the advent of the internet they do not even have to travel to meet people of foreign cultures) and are achieving better marks in school. They are the most diverse generation in the history of America (many are the children of immigrants or are immigrants themselves.) They are clearly not stupid enough to get dragged into their parents bullhorn tactics. This is why I say America is down, but not out just yet.

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Posted Sat Nov 19th, 2011 8:06am Post subject: Now I know Why I Love America

Americans: It's interesting to read about ourselves in the writings of others. Some opinions I feel are utterly absurd, and others can be sickening, and quite unjust. This can be frustrating, in that the world always expects us to come in and rescue whomever is in trouble or is being oppressed, or mass-murdered, or whatever. And we usually send our youngest,and bravest,and best to wherever these things are taking place, and our youngest, and bravest, and best bleed and die for the sake of those who are not even American.Yet the rest of the world, with a few magnificent exceptions (beloved Mr. Fry is one) spews venom at us, and condemns us, and hates us, and makes it clear that we, Americans all, should hate ourselves. I'm going to be 58 years old in a couple of weeks, so I've been hearing this sort of thing for a pretty long time now...about 50 of my years. I refuse to hate myself, however. I refuse to hate this my country. I will not hate or be ashamed of my country's founders. I love this land, and I would lay down my life to defend it. We are not really what much of the media tries to make us out to be. There are some real criminals loose in Washington D.C. and others of their kind in high positions in my country that are causing much damage in the short run, but I believe we will restore ourselves to a bit more rationality after a time. No, we are not Marxists, and would fight like tigers if one truly tried to take us over. We are merely people, human beings, most of whom do our best to get through each day as best we can, make the best of our lives as we can, and try for the best that we can accomplish, whatever that might be. Me? I'm just an artist, an unknown painter of portraits and figures, working quietly away in my tiny studio, studying and making the best paintings I can.....and nobody dictates to me what I can or cannot paint.For the most part, we cherish our freedoms, try to have both a personal and public conscience, and try for just a bit of the beautiful that can be achieved through our work and our dreams.We help when other lands demand it of us, and provide all that we are capable as a people and a part of the world, of providing to ease hunger, hurt, cold, and disease. We give so very, very much, often our very lifeblood, when other countries scream out to us for help. We are mostly good people, slow to anger, generous and giving, and dedicated to giving our best however we can. We are, yes,......artists, writers, doctors, garbage collectors, nurses, cooks, janitors, professors, housekeepers, teachers, moms, dads, singers, dancers, heavy equipment drivers, truckers, surgeons, babysitters, park rangers.....and the list goes on. This is who we are, and we are no more than we appear to be. We're just like everyone else. Allow us to have our own identity...and yes, it's okay for us, for the better part, to be proud of being Americans.

SahirneeSSilvermane, The Tiger's Eye Studio, Tacoma, WA, USA

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Posted Fri Dec 2nd, 2011 7:09pm Post subject: Now I know Why I Love America

I sincerely enjoy Stephen's show,it is refreshing for me as an American to see him drive around and see the pretty nice and interesting things and to just actually meet and talk to everyday normal American people.He ignores the politics and doesn't succumb to the cheap shots that could easily get him some free laughs.I had to quit watching ''Top Gear'',Jeremy Clarkson is just plain viscous ,I suppose his constant negative comments helps boost his ego . Stephen understands that everyday American people...are just like everyone else in the world.The U.S does have a bad reputation in this world,perhaps when people see us as we really are,it might change their minds.Yes,I become angry at the basically total tripe and trash spewed about us.Yes I know where other countries are located on an atlas,yes I do own guns,Yes I do wave my flag..yes I have pride in my nation..despite all of its flaws,it can get the job done when it counts!..Mr. Stephen Fry,you are a true gentleman and you are sincerely appreciated and admired for your honest look at us.Thank you

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Posted Mon Dec 5th, 2011 5:31am Post subject: Now I know Why I Love America

OK. I had to register to counter some of the comments on this thread.
First, what do Rodney King and affirmative action have to do with the Neo-liberal Washington Consensus? Not a thing really. And Wouldn't it really be gay marriage, abortion, anti-evolution nonsense, and anti-immigration bigotry that distracted Americans? I mean, people in Kansas used to be supporters of the populists, and they hated the rich. However, people in Kansas probably weren't the most pro-Rodney-King people ever.
And how are Americans supposed to keep up with what is going on with financial derivatives and whatnot anyway? That stuff is very confusing and dry as hell. The smarty pants people in power don't even know what the fuck to do. For real.
Dying empire? Well first, Europe ain't doing that well either. China's doing OK I guess, but this slump is GLOBAL, and if it goes on, everyone is going to suffer.
Too, the wars haven't really been good to the US, no. However, CDOs and naked credit default swaps would have existed regardless. So, it seems like y'all are making up a pattern when there is no pattern.
The fact that the US has messed up with the wars and the torture and whatnot will make it harder for it to conduct international affairs, yes, but that has nothing to do with how the US set up its economy.

Also, Americans don't all think the same. There are a lot of us who didn't support the war in Iraq and even in Afghanistan (this dude did not). There are some of us that don't support Israel. There are some of us that didn't vote for George Bush (Higher than forty percent I think) and there are some us that are angry at Barack Obama because of the drones flying in Pakistan, and the assassination of American citizens and non-citizens alike, and the mass imprisonment of illegal immigrants, etc. etc. Don't paint Americans as a group of people that are holding on to the past. Shit, I for one am liking that the US is becoming more diverse with the amount of immigrants coming forward. I am also liking that gays are getting more rights, and that is one trend that looks like it will continue. So I don't need to hold on to the past to find things about the US that I like.

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