National Affairs: The Image of the U.S.

Probably the deepest trouble of the contemporary U.S. is its inability to produce a reasonably accurate image of itself. In plays, movies, novels, it cruelly caricatures its life, parades its vices, mutes its excellences. This tendency, far more than Communist propaganda, is responsible for the repulsive picture of U.S. life in the minds of many Europeans and Asians. Still, the Europeans' image of Chicago is gangsterism; New York is a fat capitalist, Los Angeles is a Hollywood tart, and the land between the cities is drenched in the bitter lees of The Grapes...

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