Another of my wonderful husband’s pieces on the 2013 reading list.

The New Southern Gentleman

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrowmindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain, conclusion, The Innocents Abroad

The French refer to Americans as “les grandes bébés.” This is not done in fondness; the French, whose fried potatoes we liberated from their ignominious freedom hating moniker  in the last decade, are too perspicacious for their own good sometimes. That description of us as “big babies” (as an American, it is, after all, your right not to understand any language that is not American) refers to a sort of perpetual innocence/ignorance of reality that they see in us. But, as I (visiting their country to see how it failed to measure up to the USA) reminded a middle-aged Frenchman who’d barked…

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