About 'Letter to America'


For almost 50 years the highly individualistic lifestyles, behavioural patterns, characteristics and traits exhibited by the American people - the intriguing attributes that constitute and help identify America's collective psyche - have been the subject of a personal part-time study by a British psychoanalyst and hypnotherapist, Bill Howard. His conclusions are, to say the least, highly controversial. Londoner Howard turns a white-hot spotlight on the unique complexities of American society with the publication of his provocative yet heartfelt 'diagnostic critique' of Uncle Sam's varied lifestyle entitled Letter To America. Destined to become one of the most read, discussed and argued about books of all time, this veritable tour-de-force is set to create a storm of controversy within the USA (not to mention the rest of the globe).


_Bill Howard believes that North Americans, when judged by everything from their interpersonal, family, social and business lifestyles, display a collection of fundamentally outstanding characteristics which differ so widely in comparison to conventional human behaviour as to distinguish them sharply from the rest of humanity. Indeed, so great and atypical are these complex variables from behavioural norms in all other cultures they cannot simply be regarded as national traits or characteristics and have, in fact, a deeper - and darker - psychological significance.


_Howard provides a stark new perspective on American relationships as, with compassion and sensitivity, he dissects and analyses every psychosocial aspect of 'the American experience'. Ultimately, he hopes his assertions will persuade the American people to turn inwards and undertake a long, hard and critical self-examination of what he describes as their 'inherent psychological incongruities and contradictions' and to contemplate their collective navel with an intensity of honest, subjective introspection and self-appraisal unseen before now.


_A passionately pro-American ex-jazz musician and former UK hit recording artiste (who, incidentally, has no qualifications or formal training in psychology but over 30 years' experience as a part-time psychoanalyist and hypnotherapist), Bill takes enormous pains to stress that he is not in any sense 'anti-American' but is, indeed, very much the opposite. Having absolutely no desire to attack or denigrate America in any way, he wishes only to attack the neurosis and help the American people 'break a neurotic cycle' by actively assisting them in removing the 'self-perpetuating malaise' which has wormed its way into every nook and cranny of American life. He explains: "The emotional distortions of this psychologically repressed and desensitised society have led to the well-established, compulsive obsession with sex, violence and sexually-related violence clearly visible throughout American life."


   Whilst craving escapism through a Hollywood-style superficiality, Americans have become "...so lacking in emotional security they have allowed themselves to become bedevilled by a 'fantasy wish-fulfillment' which is, regrettably, nothing more than a living lie, a self-inflicted 'psychosexual delusion' of massive proportions."


_ Howard's broadly based and comprehensive thesis explains how many manifestations of the repression have become inextricably woven into the entire fabric of their national life - in family and business life, literature, politics, films, religion, magazines, TV, music, theatre, the military, guns, 'wild west' mythology, food and drink, transportation, the Law - even their attitudes towards animals. He also explains why Skyscrapers, American motorcycles, 'dumb broads', sunglasses, Playboy and Cosmopolitan magazines, guns, corporate America, street gangs, gangsters, 'stretch limos' and the entire entertainment industry are driven by: "...a number of deeply rooted psychosexual fears lodged in the collective psyche of the American male directly resulting from the erroneous and harmful socio-economic and cultural determinants of male identity in America."


_By concealing the existence of the repression, Howard asserts that: "...the 'glitz and glamour', the materialism and escapism that apparently epitomise American life are intended to support an all-embracing myth, to promote an image of self-confidence, wealth, happiness, peace and contentment, and of a people bound together by a sense of destiny, all of which combine to present a utopian image, the envy of the world. However the reality is, unfortunately, far from the truth. US society secretly conceals a deeply repressed, collective emotional pain resulting from an unending spiral of deeply-rooted sexual fears, conflicts and insecurities from which, by themselves, they are incapable of breaking free."

_Howard even claims that the basis for America's proclaimed Anglophilia and high regard for many things British is an unstated acknowledgement that British society and others have no similar emotional problems, and that America’s psychological establishment is silently observing his and other cultures to seek out a cure for their own. Having isolated and identified the condition he describes, he is now responding to this problem through the pages of his book, declaring that, at present, he believes that he alone has the means to cure it. "The catharsis required to eliminate the American malaise will only be generated through its passionate confrontation and the committed participation of the American population” he says “...and most effectively with my active involvement and guidance." 



_As far as proof of his thesis is concerned Howard claims that, subject to analysis and interpretation, the historical mass of American literary, celluloid and video products - books, film, drama, radio, TV and documentaries - contains literally "millions of important behavioural clues and examples of the repression and thus more than sufficient evidence of the truth of my assertions." Howard explains that 'The American Nightmare' is a direct consequence of long-standing, built-in "imbalances and maladjustments within American interpersonal relationships" which have led to "totally unnecessary concerns in areas of relaxation, self-confidence and satisfaction levels regarding sexual performance capability.”


_According to Howard a new framework is urgently needed. "Because genuine emotional expression is so lacking in America, love has been impaired by undue suspicion, honesty sacrificed for financial and emotional expediency, and trust replaced by insecurity and manipulation. The natural cycle of commitment, understanding and sexual fulfilment that exists throughout the rest of the planet is absent throughout North America, where a vicious circle of never-ending interpersonal conflict, fears, and incompatibilities - all of which can be traced back to originating as a direct consequence of the neurosis - dominates their society at every level. Nothing less than a complete restabilisation of gender relations - including a basic re-definition of masculinity and femininity in America - is needed to effect a lasting cure and eliminate the current, widespread necessity of 'faking it'."



   With the burning conviction of the true revolutionary he urges America to respond to his plea for a hearing and for an opportunity to present his therapy course. Emitting a fervour bordering on missionary zeal he explains: "I have so much to thank America for - for the great many contributions her culture has made to my personal and professional life. I want to 'lance the boil' of the cancer of repression that lies trapped within the collective American subconscious by introducing a new level of emotional reality into the collective psyche. I want to help initiate a cathartic expulsion of America's hidden rage and torment; to get it out into the open and get rid of it - FOR EVER."