Posted 20 hours ago

If Only They Didn't Speak English: Notes From Trump's America

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I could turn that right around and say the same of some people in the US, of course, but being a Brit myself, with family in the USA, I find our attitude more arrogant, superior and wrong-headed than I'd really like! Anyone who says otherwise is a racist, except for the BBC producers who make shows like The Last Whites of the East End.

Sopel’s most glaring difficulty in writing about American culture is that he hasn’t lived here long enough to really get a handle on America. The book ends rather abruptly and it’s more about Obama’s America than Trump’s, but it’s worth a read if you are interested in seeing America through an outsider’s lens. A wonderfully readable, perceptive account of what America looks like today through the eyes of a seasoned, informed but ultimately sympathetic observer.

At its core this book is about what he has learnt from acting as the BBC's North America Editor for around five years, through turbulent times in US politics including the surfacing of Donald Trump, his campaign and his arrival in the White House as President. Through music, film, literature, TV and even through the food we eat and the clothes that we wear we all have a highly developed sense of what America is and through our shared, tangled history we claim a special relationship.

You see, if only they didn’t speak English in America, then we’d treat it as a foreign country – and probably understand it a lot better’ ‘the sanest man in America’ – Bill Bryson‘Jon Sopel nails it’ – Emily Maitlis**With a brand new chapter, charting Trump's first year in power**As the BBC’s North America Editor, Jon Sopel has had a pretty busy time of it lately. Mr Sopel looks at the various key cultural and social norms that define America and sets it against the rest of the West – especially western Europe – and tries to explain what drives American society, and what its flashpoints are. The US is a place where personal freedom is sacrosanct, yet it has no tolerance whatsoever for drug abuse. Sopel did supply me with some interesting historical background about the NRA (they once supported sensible gun safety laws and didn’t believe in open carry—wow, huh?Why was Hilary Clinton so hated – something that mystified us in the UK – and why, indeed, was there so much hate generally in that ill spirited election?

It's very accessible, relatively concise and well worth your time, even if you're a person who thinks they already know all they need to about the USA (and I say that as someone who regularly reads American papers and follows the news networks and late night shows).Please, do not forget that about 200 years ago allegedly the Founding Fathers of the USA declared that “all men are created equal”. When he asks her if she’s okay, she says yes so he tells her he’ll talk to her later and hangs up so he can go back to listening to the political conversation: “Maybe not my finest hour in concerned parenting…but, hey, the tennis was great. And yet, if your drug of choice is manufactured by one of the big drug companies and advertised on TV, it seems that you can get addicted to it with impunity. The US and England share a language, some history and a long, if not in reality, the ‘special’ often discussed, relationship.

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