A few days ago, I was contacted by a writer from Gair Rhydd, Cardiff University's student newspaper, who was doing a story about anti-Americanism in the United Kingdom. She asked me to comment about my experiences and I responded with a rambling e-mail that I later put into a blog post.
The story came out today and I am happy to say that I got a mention. Unfortunately, the story claims I am from Florida and has me saying something I didn't say:
"Chris Cope, a student from Florida, adds: “We are loosely confederated individuals. We share very little commonality aside from our participation in the State. Our social experiences are vast, our heritages unique, and our sense of ‘us’ is predicated on none of ‘us’ being anything particular at all.”"
The quote attributed to me is similar to something I said ("...the United States could be broken into hundreds of different little nations... But the 'melting pot' mentality still holds for us -- we are a single people because we say we are"), but far more eloquent. "Loosely confederated individuals," "commonality," "predicated" -- that's some fancy wordsmithery right there. I would never be able use "predicated" in the right context. Like "obsequious," it's a word I'd like to have in my lexicon, but don't.
When I first read the quote attributed to me, I thought: "Man, the guy who actually said that (presumably he's from Florida?) is going to be pissed."
But perhaps the confidence that comes from being able to use "predicated" off the cuff results in your not really caring whether student newspapers misquote you.
Or perhaps the quote was a logical extension of that British thing of repeating back to me things I've just said. British people seem to think that an American accent makes words wrong, so if, for example, I say that I'm going up to Bangor on the weekend they'll say: "Oh, you mean Bangor."
Yes, of course I mean Bangor. That's why I said "Bangor."
So perhaps the article's writer saw my quote and thought: "Oh, certainly he meant to use fancy words like 'loosely confederated individuals.'"
Or, perhaps there is another Chris Cope studying at Cardiff University and he is hella smart, yo.
I guess it doesn't matter all that much. The day after I wrote about my experiences, I found myself at Kalla Bella -- an Italian restaurant in Llandaf -- with our waiter going on and on about how much he loved America.
"America! I love it! I love it!"
I run into that reaction from time to time here and never really know how to respond. I usually just try to think of something good about that person's country: "Yeah, well, thanks to Italians for, uhm*, really good food and the state of New York, and running booze during prohibition."
*Point to Anthony if he can list 10 things that Americans should be thankful to Italy for.