British cynicism is congenial, up to a certain point, cynicism being so commonplace among that nation that any remission of it is perceived as a kindness. It is understood that we are talking here only of stereotypes and preconcieved notions. Americam cynicism is directed exclusively against the government or the corporation; one remembers, or pretends to have remembered, the great days of American cynicism, of wiseacres in snap-brim fedoras, and wonders if they will ever return? Cynicism being so essential a part of the Anglo-Saxon notion of Frenchness that an uncynical French person is an inconceivable contradiction in terms, and allowing that any notion the opposite of which cannot be concieved cannot truly be imagined, we conclude that French cynicism is formally unthinkable. Australian cynicism is a minor relation of British cynicism; it seems to me to have less hope of remission, but perhaps this is because the cynicism one grew up with will, if percieved at all, be felt as harsh, inescapable, without charm.


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