“American literature had always been concerned with the cultural hegemony of “what is America, what is American”, [A S] Byatt continued, often unconcerned with what went on in the rest of the world.”
As noted by Richard Slotkin and Walter Benn Michaels, the obsession with defining the “American” or “America” can be found in the sermons of Cotton Mather; in the low brow westerns of Fenimore Cooper and the high brow travelogues of Melville; in the rumination on slavery by Twain; in Cather’s archbishops and professors; in Fitzgerald’s and Hemingway’s fixation on “breeding”; in Faulkner’s family romances of real or imagined incest and miscegenation. Even the idea of America as a “melting pot” derives from the title of a play by Israel Zangwill.
Don’t expect pop singers to display a coherent intellect. Unless they’re Morrissey.
Religious terrorism isn’t pretty, no matter what the reason was for it (vis-a-vis Giordano Bruno).
Flight MH370 is a distraction from Benghazi.