Diary

Frank Kermode

All the signs, we are continually told, point to rapid economic recovery in the US, and the Stock Market, perhaps because of this iteration, moves almost daily to new record highs. But unofficial individuals seem cautious or sceptical. Friendly foreigners, especially if they knew this country a generation back, are likely to note the discrepancy between the adman bullishness of government spokesmen and a certain dour disenchantment that has persisted as an ingredient of the American mood during the post-Camelot, post-Watergate, post-Vietnam years. Perhaps this is most noticeable in New York, a city now too notorious for its filth, brutality and cynical manners; the two notions that you need to be pretty tough to live there, and that things can only get worse, cause people to act tough and do a lot of complaining, especially about the economic situation.

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