Novelist Morris comments on the American scene in a series of eminently readable, eminently quotable essays. They deal with the nature of life and art (the artist ""is how things are""); senior citizenship and childhood; Susan Sontag, Norman Mailer, Marshall McLuhan, LBJ, Beatniks and Hippies and squares (they stand around holding things up). He feels for Grandmother going crazy in Miami--""the price of character,"" but is most bemused by Mrs. Gay Spiegelman, mother of eight, who has opted for a topless career. He is anti-McLuhan--""a skillful cop-out"" and pro Charles Lindbergh, whose solo performance has gone out of style in a land where records of attendance are solemnly announced. In a country which equates life with art, Miss Teenage America is the real triumph. He comments on the human nature of life, the future of the redoubtable youngster who lives next door and has ""good chances for being loved, better for being shot,"" and also gets off a parting riposte re the fire next time. Morris writes in an engaging fashion that is at once a put-down and a come-on.