The British enjoy eccentricity. Americans do not, because it is a quieter state, and to be quiet is to set oneself on the road to anonymity--arguably the condition from which Americans shrink most sharply. A good place to note this difference is in literature. I can think of no memorable eccentric character in American literature; yet from Ahab to Huck Finn, from the Cat in the Hat to Tom Wolfe's Rev. Bacon, there is no dearth of exhibitionists.
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