Don't know much 'bout geography
Published: Sunday, October 10th, 2004
I was just reading a study about how young people today have no concept of geography. The study done by the National Geographic and Roper polling group found that 30 percent of young people between the age of 18 and 24 could not find the Pacific Ocean on a map. Another 56 percent could not find India on a map. Roughly 20 percent could not name four countries that officially have nuclear weapons. The one that got me though, was that just over 11 percent could not find the U.S. on a map. I just don’t see how that is possible. I mean the colors alone should give it away. I mean everybody knows that New Mexico is a tan state, Colorado is a blue state, Texas is a red state and....(my wife is shaking her head in the way she does when I have proved my IQ is akin to a kumquat She is claiming that those are just the colors on my map.) The states really aren’t that color? Ok, that does make it harder. Well, I’m not too good at geography anyway. When I joined the army and they told me I would be stopping briefly in Austria, I asked if I would be there long enough to see any kangaroos. They laughed at me. They said “not Australia. Austria! That’s where Arnold Swartzenagger is from.” “Austria is in California?” I asked confusedly. “Not where he is from now, where he was from originally,” they said frustrated. “I didn’t know Arnold was from where Crocodile Dundee was made,” I said. They just shook there heads - a surprising number of people do that around me. I cannot speak for the rest of the population that are bad at geography, but I think part of my problem is that I may watch too much television. I suppose if I watched the Travel Channel, the Learning Channel or even the Weather Channel which discuss real places, it would be OK, but I don’t. I watch action movies and action programs, and they keep talking about countries like: San Remo and Periguela in South America, or Giftragistan and Reman in the middle East, or the Republic of Brukan and Kangbot in the Far East and it turns out these places don’t really exist. After I watch Bruce Willis or Pierce Brosnan take out about 5,000 terrorists in one of those countries. I believe it really exists. I mean, why did all those people die if it isn’t a real country? I should point out it doesn’t help that so many actual countries have really silly names either. What kind of name is Myanmar, Yap, Benin, Botswana or The Seyshelles. For heaven’s sake, I thought Seyshelles were things you picked up on beach (my wife now points out that those are “sea shells” - sure, that’s easy to say now), and I thought the others were types of tea. And for the longest time I thought that Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan were just countries made up to use in the old Rocky and Bulwinkle cartoons, so Fearless Leader could threaten to blow someplace up. Who knew? That’s another problem. So many of the places have similar names. Look at all the “istans” and There’s Guinea and New Guinea and Guyana and French Guiana. How are people supposed to keep them straight! We might as well just give them numbers. I mean, just look at Iraq and Iran. Only one letter separates them. And look, Iran supports terrorists a lot more than Iraq ever did. And Iran has weapons of mass destruction and is even pursuing a nuclear weapons program which it turns out Iraq wasn’t, and they are over there in the same region, and... You don’t suppose somebody...? And that’s why we’re in....? No... That couldn’t be possible... Could it?
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