AMERICANS AS AN INVASIVE SPECIES (COMMENT). Lee Bryant posted a wonderfully apt comment on my post about Matt Ridley’s argument that gray squirrels, which have been displacing the native red squirrels in Britain, are better suited to the English environment and constitute an example of an invasive species enriching an ecosystem. Lee linked to a passage from HITCH-22 in which Christopher Hitchens used the invasion of Britain by the gray squirrel— “riffraff, once imported from America by some kind of regrettable accident”—as a metaphor for the threat that Americanism posed to the British way of life after the war. The passage begins: “Americanism in all its forms seemed to be trashy and wasteful and crude, even brutal.” It concludes that the replacement of the red squirrel by the gray squirrel “…seemed to be emblematic, for the anxious lower middle class, of a more general massification and de-gentrification and, well, Americanization of everything.”

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