Why are many supposedly egalitarian Americans fascinated by the aristocratic privilege of Britain as displayed by Downton Abbey and the royal family? In this illuminating essay, cultural critic Mark Dery explores the attractions that Britain's literature, music, and style present for Americans. From a childhood fascination with the Wonder Books to an adolescent fixation on Jethro Tull and adulthood admiration for Christopher Hitchens, Dery’s take is highly personal, yet also displays larger societal insight. By turns savage and sympathetic, his prose is also wryly funny. Performer Mark Ashby does a good job capturing Dery's tone, and alternating between the British and American accents of the text.
Downton Abbey has brought out the Anglophile in American fans of the hit TV series. But Anglophilia has a long history in America. Why are some native-born residents of our Shining City Upon a Hill, where All Men Are Created Equal, seduced by the fluting tones of manor-born privilege? At last, Anglophilia explained - in American, thank you.