(This was inspired by my last few days in England, in which I encountered several culturally confusing moments. I have a great appreciation for British and American culture, but sometimes it is funny to see them interact.)
The Apocryphal Oxford Times
“New College Founded in Oxford! Center for American Studies.”
September 10, 2014
In a shocking turn of events, the University of Oxford has officially founded a New College devoted to the research of American Studies. This field of study will hit the nail on the head of scholarly demand and provide useful information to the British Population who, for centuries, have been plagued with feelings of confusion and condescension regarding the American people.
“Yeah, I don’t understand them at all,” says an anonymous student of classics from Baliol college.
Recent surveys have revealed that many British citizens identify with feelings of dubiety regarding Americans, and are particularly confounded by American’s perplexing enthusiasm about everything.
“Our program aims to be a research institute focusing on three main subjects that have long remained mysteries to the British people: American linguistics, social practice, and fashion,” wrote Winston (aka Winnie), the founder of the College.
Linguistics, the most technical and convoluted of these topics, will study the interpretation and significance of words and phrases like “shucks”, “the bee’s knees”, and “fetch.”
“We’re really glad to be getting to the bottom of some of the great American linguistic questions. If our research is correct, it seems that ‘fetch’ may be an evolved diminutive version of ‘fetching,’ meaning it is used to express an American’s approval and fancy of some thing, activity, or person. Contrary to popular opinion it has nothing to do with dogs.” says Dr. Neville.
This information was discovered in a project devoted to understanding “Mean Girls” which has proved to be a rich and complex source for the study of adolescent teen Americans.
The study of American Social Interaction is, perhaps, the study most desired by the British public. Currently proposed studies include:
“American Eye Contact: Aggressive or Agreeable?”
“Fist Bumps: What are They, How do They Function, and Why do They Exist?”
“The American Voice: Understanding American Verbal Expression Loud and Clear.”
“Waving at Strangers in the Street: Must We?”
Currently seeking new faculty, there is currently only one researcher in the area of American Fashion. Soon to be published, his thesis examines the question: “American Shoes: Why are They So Big?”
The British reception of the Center for American Studies has been very enthusiastic, one Oxford don even going so far as to say it was “very good.”
The researchers are still unsure what the magnitude of the American response will be, saying “American’s mostly reply just by smiling and said ‘awesome.’”
(PS: Apparently there is actually a Center for American Studies…. whudda thunk it?)