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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 269 > America! Hell Yeah Hell No

America! Hell Yeah Hell No

Is the USA a force for good in the world?


I first went to the United States in the summer of 1987 and it’s been a love affair ever since. I fell in love for the country’s vastness, its variety and its people. I admire what it stands for, I admire its history and, yes, I admire its culture. You see, America may be a relatively young country but it does have a history and it does have an astonishing cultural heritage.

Ignore the lazy thinking that portrays America as a cartoon country devoid of any cultural seriousness. It is the country of Ernest Hemingway, Harper Lee, Tennessee Williams, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, Mark Twain and Edgar Allan Poe. I could go on.

Its hundreds of TV channels give the impression of a country happiest with the lowest common denominator, but imagine a TV world without such classics as Breaking Bad, 24, The X-Files, Mad Men, The Simpsons, The West Wing, Twin Peaks, Golden Girls — well, where do I stop? OK, at Dallas.

It’s a country which embraces immigrants from all over the world, a country that truly believes in aspiration — something called The American Dream — where you really do have an opportunity to rise to the top. Of course, there are massive social divisions, but there’s no class structure, of the type that still bedevils our country. You really can be a black boy from a poor background and grow up to be president.

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About Attitude

Out gay NFL player Michael Sam leads our All American issue. Inside, there’s an exclusive extract from the book everyone’s talking about What Belongs To You, gay singer Parson James on growing up in the homophobic and racist Deep South, and an interview with the guys behind the excellent new Robert Mapplethorpe documentary. Elsewhere, there’s our Gay Guide to America, we look at Hollywood’s history of closeted movie stars, and celebrating the icons that made queer USA great. Plus, FREE with this issue our guide to best of Thailand.