0850: "World According To Americans"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

User avatar
existentialpanda
Posts: 196
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:38 am UTC
Location: ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby existentialpanda » Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:59 am UTC

keppla wrote:Which may be another example of the "not relevant to daily life"-variety. I dont know how it is in spain, but as far as i know the level of independence of the federal states from the union is in general far lower in european nations than in the USA, leading to less significance.

For example: in all german federal states there is the same VAT, the same age of consent, and the same social security. In most US states, these differ (afaik).
The most common relevance for knowing about federal states in germany is to discriminate against the bavarians or east germans ;)



I would argue that the "not relevant to daily life" argument still applies, at least in my experience. I certainly wasn't aware of differences between states of the sort you describe until relatively recently - it has never really mattered to me that another state might have another age of consent or driving age or what have you, and it won't unless I move to another state, which won't happen any time soon if ever. And I certainly didn't realize the existence or importance of social/ideological differences until I took a legitimate US History class, and that wasn't until I was a junior in high school. (Which is far too late, IMO, but that's beside the point.) But I definitely knew how many states there were long before that.

Again, though, this is just my own experience. I'm perfectly aware that this is not universal. I'm just throwing this out there.

sytse
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:56 am UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby sytse » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:00 am UTC

Liechtenstein
(locked between Switserland and Austria, both landlocked, in total between France, Germany, Checquia, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy)

User avatar
filecore
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:01 am UTC
Location: Finland
Contact:

Re: 0850: World According To Americans

Postby filecore » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:02 am UTC

Arakun wrote:
ThemePark wrote:Nope. Scandinavia consists of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, while the Nordic countries is Scandinavia plus Iceland and Finland. And I'd assume that Greenland and the Faeroe Islands are also part of that.


Don't forget the micronation of Ladonia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladonia_(micronation)


If you're going to get picky, the Åland Islands (Ahvenanmaa) are actually part of Finland, even though they're an autonomous nation with their own flag and government (much like Scotland or Wales within the UK).

User avatar
filecore
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:01 am UTC
Location: Finland
Contact:

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby filecore » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:15 am UTC

sytse wrote:Checquia


This is interesting, I've never seen it before. I assume you mean the Czech Republic (Česká republika)?

User avatar
Felstaff
Occam's Taser
Posts: 5175
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:10 pm UTC
Location: ¢ ₪ ¿ ¶ § ∴ ® © ™ ؟ ¡ ‽ æ Þ ° ₰ ₤ ಡಢ

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Felstaff » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:29 am UTC

The very first "World According to America" I ever saw was a political cartoon, which was actually "The World According to Ronald Reagan" from circa 1982, judging by the size of the Falkland Isles.
Spoiler:
Image

I'm wondering if this is the father of all the many, many World According To Americans images that Randall is protesting. Does anyone know of any earlier deliberate/satirical renditions of maps from an American perspective?
Away, you scullion! you rampallion! You fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe.

User avatar
bitwiseshiftleft
Posts: 295
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:07 am UTC
Location: Stanford
Contact:

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby bitwiseshiftleft » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:31 am UTC

Uzbekistan is also the world's only stan-locked country, bordering Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.

User avatar
MarkGyver
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 6:56 am UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby MarkGyver » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:31 am UTC

Looks like Randall decided to do a parody of himself there. Either that or I'm up way too late and am making a fool of myself with this post.
Generation 0: The first time you see this, copy it into your signature and change it so that it looks like you inspired this signature. Social experiment.

diauaehi
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:27 am UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby diauaehi » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:32 am UTC

I think Greece should be labeled as Western Europe. That's the only blatant error I spotted at first sight. Good job, Americans, good job.

junes
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:49 pm UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby junes » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:34 am UTC

superglucose wrote:I actually had a girl from the Netherlands tell me how ethnocentric Americans were, and proceeded to challenge me to name as many countries as she could.

She got a couple of western-european countries I happened to forget, but other than that I got the vast majority of them down. Then I schooled her in Asia, South America and Africa (when I learned there were 54 countries in Africa. We weren't expected to learn them all like we were the other continents, but that's because it had twice as many nations as the next leading brand...).

Finally, I turned around and asked her a fateful question:

"Name as many states as you can."

I missed fewer European nations than she got states.

Americans don't know about European nations because European nations don't matter in our day-to-day life and we don't encounter them regularly. It's not because we're unusually ethnocentric (thinking of the United States as one culture is ethnocentric in and of itself, there are distinct cultural groups within a nation this large, and if you start with "bible belt" you're getting warm), it's just human nature. Most people can't remember calculus from college, but we don't call them "stupid."

This comic really speaks to a pet peeve I have with a great many of my European friends: they choose to believe I am uninformed about politics because I think America is the center of the world. Truth is, I don't follow world politics or events because I've discovered my overall quality of life went way up when I stopped hearing or worrying about the thirty bajillion people in Southern Wherever being massacared by the thirty bajillion other people in Northern Wherever.

As for Africa:
Spoiler:
Egypt, Libia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Zaire (DPR of Congo), Republic of Congo (possibly defunct), Ivory Coast (Cote Devoir with some accents in there, I don't know french), Morocco (love their food), South Africa (Seth Africa), Madacascar, New Guinea (or Papa New Guinea or both, there's two countries with an extreme lack of creativity on their naming), Liberia. I know a few of them but THERE WERE SO MANY AND IT WAS AN EXTRA-CREDIT ASSIGNMENT FROM LIKE TEN YEARS AGOOOOOOOOO... I also used to know all the US Presidents in order but now anywhere after John Quincy Adams and Teddy Roosevelt is a muddled haze of names like Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Buchannon (who, incidentally, was campaigning for the presidential nomination when I was in first grade much to my confusion), Lincoln, Jackson, Jefferson... and some other J name. Fortunately I can list them off SINCE Teddy Roosevelt. Mostly.

Roosevelt
Wilson
Cleavland
William Howard Taft
Hoover
Roosevelt
Truman
Eisenhower
Kennedy
Johnson
Nixon
Ford
Carter
Reagan
Bush
Clinton
Bush
Obama

and I dare you to guess how I'd rank these bastards.


OK, just to be a bloody euro-smartass. Papua new guinea is in oceania, the importance of calling it papua comes from the fact that new guinea refers to the island of wich they only control half. The african guinea's are Guinea itself, guinea-bissau and equatorial guinea... Also I think Taft was before Wilson and Cleveland and the guy who should be in that place was Coolidge

junes
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:49 pm UTC

Re: 0850: World According To Americans

Postby junes » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:41 am UTC

filecore wrote:
Arakun wrote:
ThemePark wrote:Nope. Scandinavia consists of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, while the Nordic countries is Scandinavia plus Iceland and Finland. And I'd assume that Greenland and the Faeroe Islands are also part of that.


Don't forget the micronation of Ladonia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladonia_(micronation)


If you're going to get picky, the Åland Islands (Ahvenanmaa) are actually part of Finland, even though they're an autonomous nation with their own flag and government (much like Scotland or Wales within the UK).


Greenland and the faroe islands are part of that, in that they are parts of the danish realm. Exactly how they're counted in the whole Scandinavia/northern countries confusion I don't know because geographically i suppose they aren't parts of Scandinavia, but they are parts of the northern countries, in that they are parts of one northern country Denmark

Solandri
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:27 am UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Solandri » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:45 am UTC

Sasha S wrote: I spent a year in Canada and got to hear regularly from classmates who felt it was their duty to belittle my homeland and its people. If I had a Loonie for every time I head 'Oh, you're from the United States? Don't you just love it so much better, here?" I was so very happy when they challenged me to name and place every state on a map (I did, successfully) and then was able to name and place Canadian provinces/territories with only one error (and better than half the Canadians in the class). Every nation and nationality has its faults and virtues, and it's kind of nice to see that someone looking (yet again) to expose faults in Americans was humorously disappointed!

Not all stereotypes are wrong. My Canadian friends were more impressed when I (from California) named every NHL team.

EnragedHoboOutOfMoFinNowhere
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:32 am UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby EnragedHoboOutOfMoFinNowhere » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:48 am UTC

Ignorant jerkasses! I'LL GIVE THEM "EASTERN EUROPE" GODDAMNIT!!! I mean, Scandinavia gets its own color, but Central Europe and Southern / Southesteastern Europe get lobbed in with (mostly russkie) Eastern Europe? THIS MAKES ME RAGE SO MUCH I WANNA CUT SOMEONE'S FACE! GRAAAH!!!

(but anyway, seriously the geography shown here is wrong :P)

The_Barbarian
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 3:03 am UTC
Location: Seattle, WA, US
Contact:

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby The_Barbarian » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:48 am UTC

keppla wrote:Which may be another example of the "not relevant to daily life"-variety. I dont know how it is in spain, but as far as i know the level of independence of the federal states from the union is in general far lower in european nations than in the USA, leading to less significance.

For example: in all german federal states there is the same VAT, the same age of consent, and the same social security. In most US states, these differ (afaik).
The most common relevance for knowing about federal states in germany is to discriminate against the bavarians or east germans ;)

No VAT in the US, and Soc. Sec. is a federal program. Lots of other stuff is different, though.

existentialpanda wrote:I would argue that the "not relevant to daily life" argument still applies, at least in my experience. I certainly wasn't aware of differences between states of the sort you describe until relatively recently - it has never really mattered to me that another state might have another age of consent or driving age or what have you, and it won't unless I move to another state, which won't happen any time soon if ever. And I certainly didn't realize the existence or importance of social/ideological differences until I took a legitimate US History class,

I didn't expect anyone here to say something like that.

howitzer
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:44 am UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby howitzer » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:50 am UTC

Quicksilver wrote:Hmmm... Not bad, but it wasn't a Boxing Day "quake" it was a Tsunami. Killed 238,000 people :(


Well it was a tsunami caused by a sub-sea quake.

Never mind.

Point is the wording on the map -
Wait, "Boxing Day"? There's no way you're American

So - the map is 80% accurate entirely because it wasn't drawn by an American!!
:!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!:


8)

Technical Ben
Posts: 2986
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 10:42 pm UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Technical Ben » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:54 am UTC

Today, would most people just google a map on their phones?
It's all physics and stamp collecting.
It's not a particle or a wave. It's just an exchange.

Superisis
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:48 am UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Superisis » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:05 am UTC

superglucose wrote:I actually had a girl from the Netherlands tell me how ethnocentric Americans were, and proceeded to challenge me to name as many countries as she could.

She got a couple of western-european countries I happened to forget, but other than that I got the vast majority of them down. Then I schooled her in Asia, South America and Africa (when I learned there were 54 countries in Africa. We weren't expected to learn them all like we were the other continents, but that's because it had twice as many nations as the next leading brand...).

Finally, I turned around and asked her a fateful question:

"Name as many states as you can."

I missed fewer European nations than she got states.

Americans don't know about European nations because European nations don't matter in our day-to-day life and we don't encounter them regularly. It's not because we're unusually ethnocentric (thinking of the United States as one culture is ethnocentric in and of itself, there are distinct cultural groups within a nation this large, and if you start with "bible belt" you're getting warm), it's just human nature. Most people can't remember calculus from college, but we don't call them "stupid."

This comic really speaks to a pet peeve I have with a great many of my European friends: they choose to believe I am uninformed about politics because I think America is the center of the world. Truth is, I don't follow world politics or events because I've discovered my overall quality of life went way up when I stopped hearing or worrying about the thirty bajillion people in Southern Wherever being massacared by the thirty bajillion other people in Northern Wherever.

As for Africa:
Spoiler:
Egypt, Libia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Zaire (DPR of Congo), Republic of Congo (possibly defunct), Ivory Coast (Cote Devoir with some accents in there, I don't know french), Morocco (love their food), South Africa (Seth Africa), Madacascar, New Guinea (or Papa New Guinea or both, there's two countries with an extreme lack of creativity on their naming), Liberia. I know a few of them but THERE WERE SO MANY AND IT WAS AN EXTRA-CREDIT ASSIGNMENT FROM LIKE TEN YEARS AGOOOOOOOOO... I also used to know all the US Presidents in order but now anywhere after John Quincy Adams and Teddy Roosevelt is a muddled haze of names like Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Buchannon (who, incidentally, was campaigning for the presidential nomination when I was in first grade much to my confusion), Lincoln, Jackson, Jefferson... and some other J name. Fortunately I can list them off SINCE Teddy Roosevelt. Mostly.

Roosevelt
Wilson
Cleavland
William Howard Taft
Hoover
Roosevelt
Truman
Eisenhower
Kennedy
Johnson
Nixon
Ford
Carter
Reagan
Bush
Clinton
Bush
Obama

and I dare you to guess how I'd rank these bastards.


I did that when I was in the US. Beat americans everytime in naming States. Naming countries wasn't even close (cept for SA, not great with the small ones there). And aren't there around 50 countries in both Asia and Europe? I never figured Africa for have that many more than other continents. As for Africa (of the top of my head and with reservations for spelling):

Spoiler:
Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Mauretania, Western Sahara (disputed), Mali, Chad, Sudan, Liberia, Gabon, Togo, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, CAR, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Congo-Kinshasa, Congo-Brazzaville, Somalia, Ethiopea, Eritrea, Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Djibouti, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, South Africa, Lesotho, Swasiland, Benin, Burundi,

43 (bah that's pretty bad, I used to know them all, cept the Islands, was never good with the islands)

Did a quick map check and I forgot both Angola and Senegal... bha I should hang my head in shame (Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso and the others I can live with)


and oh yeah. Where is Cyprus?

screamingaddabs
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:02 am UTC
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby screamingaddabs » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:10 am UTC

Just a small point, but the fact that some Americans (including a number on here) are very good at geography doesn't mean that Americans in general are good at geography. If you polled people from India say, if they were all from the slums in Mumbai then they would do poorly, however I'm sure there are many who have degrees in geography or world politics who would put us to shame.

In fact, the joke in the comic could also be about poor research and badly choosing your sample population.

I'm NOT saying that Americans in general are good or bad at geography, just pointing out the flaw in some people's reasoning.

Incidentally, I'm sure I read about some kids from inner city London who couldn't tell you where Wales was. I just found that astounding.

User avatar
Felstaff
Occam's Taser
Posts: 5175
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:10 pm UTC
Location: ¢ ₪ ¿ ¶ § ∴ ® © ™ ؟ ¡ ‽ æ Þ ° ₰ ₤ ಡಢ

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Felstaff » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:10 am UTC

There has been a stereotype of Americans not understanding, nor caring about, geography. This dates to back before America was even a country, just, like, a supercontinent filled with sharktopuses or something. Anyway, the point is "a long time ago". Hence why witty quotes like "war is God's way of teaching Americans geography", etc. This gave rise to the advent of the now-ubiquitous parody map, as linked to in my previous post, which plays on the notion that the rest of the world is deemed unimportant enough to remember, with continents divided into "Commies, Negroes and Oil", etc. The stereotype is so reinforced (I personally blame the Bush administration) that the Americans not-knowing-anything-more-about-a-continent-than-its-name trope is generally accepted (search youtube for Stupid Americans, and geography-based general knowledge videos crop up quite a lot, between toothless hicks reminding us that 'Obama' sounds like 'Osama').

Randall, here, has demonstrated that this is not the case, and that the stereotype is unfair, by showing a 'collaborative, annotated effort' on an attempt to recreate the globe from memory, by a group of several (most likely randomly selected) Americans. It's a sort of 'in defence of my people' affair, mocking those who perpetuate the stereotype by trying to prove it with studies.

I reckon my geographical knowledge is on a similar par to the group. I'd be able to differentiate several Eastern European nations from Central European nations, and could probably divide South America and Northern/Central Africa up with a little more accuracy. However my knowledge of much of Asia and Indonesia leaves a lot to be desired. I know Malaysia, but everything around it is like a green paint splatter on a blue wall to me. I tend to think Singapore virtually touches Australia.

And everyone knows the correct spelling is the phlipines
Away, you scullion! you rampallion! You fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe.

Lucia
Posts: 95
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 1:35 am UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Lucia » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:12 am UTC

:lol: Yay. No Greece, but still yay.

As for the states vs provinces: I couldn't tell you how many there are in New Zelanad, but I sure know that the US has 50 states. For some reason that's important there. It it's not important anywhere else. There's no real comparison. I can get 20, by the way.arkansas
arizona
ohio
iowa
idaho
california
maine
NY
DC
florida
washington
new england
n carolina
s carolina
n dakota
s dakota
e virginia
w virginia
hawaii
alaska

~~The Large Text Baron disapproves of your size one fonting.
Wildhound wrote:Nobody ever sigs me. I think it's because I never say anything clever.

anabatica
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:32 pm UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby anabatica » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:17 am UTC

Good comic.

The only thing I can't read is whatever it says under the Aral Sea, has anyone figured that out?

Seli
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:01 am UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Seli » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:18 am UTC

Rhazes wrote:...

Can anyone read what is written below Aral Sea, Greenland and Tibet? Wish there was a higher resolution version.


with reservations,
Aral Sea: (Gone)
Greenland: Yeah but the Peters map is awful
Tibet: ?

p1t1o
Posts: 940
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm UTC
Location: London, UK

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby p1t1o » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:22 am UTC

The other one is Lichtenstein!

AwwwwwYeeeeah

Dave
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 4:26 pm UTC
Location: London. Londinium.

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Dave » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:22 am UTC

superglucose wrote:Finally, I turned around and asked her a fateful question:

"Name as many states as you can."

I missed fewer European nations than she got states.

Americans don't know about European nations because European nations don't matter in our day-to-day life and we don't encounter them regularly.


If you justify Americans not knowing European nations because European nations don't matter in your day to day life, why would a European know American states? I mean, they're states, not countries. I'd probably struggle to name that many. I'm sure the countries of Europe come up far more often in your day to day life than the states of USA come up in ours.

The only time I ever need to know American states is when playing trivia games, the same way I don't know Australian states (and theres only 6 of them!)

For the record, I'm not saying Americans are dumb or don't know anything about the world, but I just disagree with the apparent argument that non-Americans are stupid if they don't know the states of the USA.
Last edited by Dave on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:24 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
filecore
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:01 am UTC
Location: Finland
Contact:

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby filecore » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:23 am UTC

Felstaff wrote:And everyone knows the correct spelling is the phlipines


And this just fully demonstrates your small-mindedness. Its proper formal name is Republika ng Pilipinas, so your chosen spelling is wrong. And spelling is simply a function of linguistic, social and cultural background anyway - did you know that the British government doesn't even formally recognise Myanmar? It's Burma, and always will be. Other spellings are purely a local function and to say there's a "correct" way to spell something is usually wrong. To be utterly pedantic, the only "correct" way to spell a country's name is in its own language. That's why there's so little agreement on names of things spelled with different character sets (Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, and so on), up to and including "al Qaeda"/"al-Qaida/"al-Qa'ida" or, if you want to start the whole American thing, "colour"/"color". As the Europeans say, there's no "u" in the American version of honour ;)

anabatica
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:32 pm UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby anabatica » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:24 am UTC

Seli wrote:
Rhazes wrote:...

Can anyone read what is written below Aral Sea, Greenland and Tibet? Wish there was a higher resolution version.


with reservations,
Aral Sea: (Gone)
Greenland: Yeah but the Peters map is awful
Tibet: ?

it's Tibet (contested)

I can't see 'gone' in that scribble under the Aral Sea though

User avatar
jules.LT
Posts: 1539
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 8:20 pm UTC
Location: Paris, France, Europe

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby jules.LT » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:34 am UTC

Joeldi wrote:
superglucose wrote:Finally, I turned around and asked her a fateful question:

"Name as many states as you can."

I missed fewer European nations than she got states.

You see, it's kinda ethno-centric to consider being able to name US states as important as being able to name countries.


This. I mean, seriously.
Coming from a European who went to the trouble of learning American states for the sake of culture.

This map is a nice way to say that Americans aren't that oblivious of world geography while still being somewhat lacking in that department.
Randall clearly didn't make an actual survey, because people who can place the Aral Sea and Malaysia would have no trouble placing the biggest European countries, so that was a call made because of the drawing space.

Still, there are pretty scary statistics out there regarding American knowledge of world geography.
There's one I used to somewhat believe and repeat because it was so shocking and almost believable: a third of failure at recognising continents from oceans on a simple outline of the world map. Except that after seeing the failure rate on "which is biggest, the Sun or the Earth?" on okCupid (namely 5% of men and 10% of women; I know: shocking) I'm now having doubts again.
Last edited by jules.LT on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:37 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
Bertrand Russell wrote:Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.
Richard Feynman & many others wrote:Keep an open mind – but not so open that your brain falls out

User avatar
Mazuku
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:48 am UTC
Location: South Australia

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Mazuku » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:36 am UTC

You could almost argue that this map actually proves that Americans as a country sucks at geography because if this is the best that a group of Geography majors (why else would they enter a Geography Bee) could recall, then the average American has little hope...unless these were like 5th graders or something.

Then again this could be the result of this map subverting the ''Americans Suck At Geography'' viewpoint I have held from seeing all those shows where they ask Americans in the streets where countries are by pointing on a map and failing so miserably so often.

Shows like this for example.
Last edited by Mazuku on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:42 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Allmächtige Exzentrikerin3

...................................

User avatar
Diadem
Posts: 5654
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:03 am UTC
Location: The Netherlands

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Diadem » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:39 am UTC

I wonder how many of those errors Randall made deliberately. I really hope misplacing Cape Horn [Fun fact: It should actually be Cape Hoorn. The name doesn't come from the english word 'horn' but from the Dutch city of Hoorn] was deliberate! Because that's a really bad error!


superglucose wrote:I actually had a girl from the Netherlands tell me how ethnocentric Americans were, and proceeded to challenge me to name as many countries as she could.

She got a couple of western-european countries I happened to forget, but other than that I got the vast majority of them down. Then I schooled her in Asia, South America and Africa (when I learned there were 54 countries in Africa. We weren't expected to learn them all like we were the other continents, but that's because it had twice as many nations as the next leading brand...).

Finally, I turned around and asked her a fateful question:

"Name as many states as you can."

I missed fewer European nations than she got states.

Well, one person does not a representative sample make. In high school I actually had to learn all countries (+capitals) in the world, and all US states as well. Not that I remember more than a tiny portion of them, but still. Not sure how representative my high school was, but I think most schools do at least all countries.

You raise a fair point that countries in Europe should be compared to states of the US. Although that's not entirely fair either, since Europe has fewer nations than the US has states, and twice the population. Also most Europeans do not know all the tiny countries (Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, St. Marino) either, you only need to know those if you are rich. And eastern Europe changes every few years, so that's hard to keep track of as well.

Anyway, knowing geography says nothing about intelligence. It might say something about the state of education in a country though. I wonder how Americans actually rate compared to Europeans or Japanese.

The only time I ever need to know American states is when playing trivia games, the same way I don't know Australian states (and theres only 6 of them!)

It's useful when watching The Daily Show!

But yeah, American states are pretty much irrelevant from the other side of the ocean. States do not have individual foreign policies. I do not know how relevant European nations are to the US, but they gotta be more relevant than states are to us. For example some European nations support the US in Afghanistan, some don't. That kind of things should make news headlines in the US, right?
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
- Bernard Woolley in Yes, Prime Minister

User avatar
filecore
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:01 am UTC
Location: Finland
Contact:

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby filecore » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:44 am UTC

Diadem wrote:For example some European nations support the US in Afghanistan, some don't. That kind of things should make news headlines in the US, right?


And some of them failed to support the USA. We won't eat French fries anymore because of those damn French! (Even though "French fries" are in fact a Belgian invention.) Let's call them Freedom Fries instead! USA, fuck yeah!

And people wonder how the USA gets its reputation.

NotAllThere
Posts: 145
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:54 pm UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby NotAllThere » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:48 am UTC

I've been to Liechtenstein. It has customs and monetary union with Switzerland.

It can be summed up in a single phrase: "Move along, nothing to see".
yangosplat wrote:So many amazing quotes, so little room in 300 characters!

corasan
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:47 am UTC

Re: 0850: World According To Americans

Postby corasan » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:51 am UTC

ThemePark wrote:Nope. Scandinavia consists of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, while the Nordic countries is Scandinavia plus Iceland and Finland. And I'd assume that Greenland and the Faeroe Islands are also part of that.

junes wrote:Greenland and the faroe islands are part of that, in that they are parts of the danish realm. Exactly how they're counted in the whole Scandinavia/northern countries confusion I don't know because geographically i suppose they aren't parts of Scandinavia, but they are parts of the northern countries, in that they are parts of one northern country Denmark


http://satwcomic.com/how-the-north-works

User avatar
Diadem
Posts: 5654
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:03 am UTC
Location: The Netherlands

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Diadem » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:52 am UTC

jules.lt wrote:Still, there are pretty scary statistics out there regarding American knowledge of world geography.
There's one I used to somewhat believe and repeat because it was so shocking and almost believable: a third of failure at recognising continents from oceans on a simple outline of the world map. Except that after seeing the failure rate on "which is biggest, the Sun or the Earth?" on okCupid (namely 5% of men and 10% of women; I know: shocking) I'm now having doubts again.

Every country has people who fail horribly at geography.

A popular summer holiday's destination for Dutch tourists is the Spanish Mediterranean coast. I remember seeing a tv program once where they asked Dutch tourists to point out on a map where they were. Most managed to get the country right, though some were hundreds of kilometers off on their location along the cost. So far nothing unexpected. But a few managed to point to the Spain's West Coast (quite stupid), some pointed somewhere along the East Sea coast (very stupid) and one person incredibly enough managed to point to Switzerland. You're lying on a beach, and you think you're in Switzerland! Seriously, do you see that huge blue thingie in front of you? That's called a sea. Switzerland does not have one of those!

I don't know how long the writers of that show had to search to find people that stupid. But I hope it took a while!

There's of course the famous video on youtube where they ask American really really simple questions and they get them wrong. Again I mainly wonder how long they had to look to find people that stupid. If it's 1 in a 100 people, there's nothing to worry about. If 1 in 3 give answers like that though, it's time to take a hard look at your educational system.
Last edited by Diadem on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:53 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
- Bernard Woolley in Yes, Prime Minister

anabatica
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:32 pm UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby anabatica » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:52 am UTC

Diadem wrote: I really hope misplacing Cape Horn [Fun fact: It should actually be Cape Hoorn. The name doesn't come from the english word 'horn' but from the Dutch city of Hoorn] was deliberate!

Well, no, its name in English is 'Cape Horn'. English (and other languages, I mean you don't think the French call Paris Parijs, do you?) often change the spelling/pronunciation of a place name when adopting it. That'd be like someone mentioning the Netherlands in a conversation in English and you saying that it should actually be 'Nederland'. No, that's not what it's called in English.
Last edited by anabatica on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:52 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Qeu
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2008 1:58 am UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Qeu » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:52 am UTC

existentialpanda wrote:
BlitzGirl wrote:Isn't world geography a mandatory part of the curriculum these days in the U.S.?


Not at any school I went to....we did have to memorize a map of Europe in seventh grade, but that's the extent of it. And my teacher was the only one who did that.



A couple of summers ago I attended a summer school program in Spain, which was about 50% American students and 50% Spanish students. The instructors did a trivia competition one day, and one of the questions was the number of provinces in Spain. The Spanish guys in my group spent a long time on it, scratching their heads and writing down the ones they knew so they wouldn't count them twice. I don't think they ever agreed on a number. The instructor, highly amused, then asked how many states there were in the US and the rest of us yelled out the answer in unison.

Glass houses, and all that.


Also, my 42nd post. Huh.


I'll put it simple. If two first world countries can rival each other in terms of poor geography understanding, that may be the USofA and Spain. Here in Spain, geography comes the last. Schools focus much more on History than on Geo as teachers tend to be the same ones. I'd say I have only had two real Geo courses over 6 years of elementary school, 4 of middle and 2 of high school. while having about 6 history courses.

CSS Suxxx
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:51 am UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby CSS Suxxx » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:53 am UTC

diauaehi wrote:I think Greece should be labeled as Western Europe. That's the only blatant error I spotted at first sight. Good job, Americans, good job.


Not really. It was a member of the EU at a time when all the other member states were in Western Europe, but Greece itself has never been in Western Europe.

p1t1o
Posts: 940
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm UTC
Location: London, UK

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby p1t1o » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:54 am UTC

superglucose wrote:I missed fewer European nations than she got states.


Anyone else see my problem here?



In other news: Its pretty easy to find a geographically ignorant person anywhere really, my ex-girlfriend (Im in the UK btw) used to think the Pacific was on land, make sense of that.

purpleriot
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:15 am UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby purpleriot » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:56 am UTC

I'm impressed that they accurately labelled the British Isles as the British Isles, because as others have said in this thread, it is a pretty confusing setup.

A pedantic point not brought up so far is that the yellow bit at the top of South America where they say "French, and I think Dutch and English" only has an area belonging to France these days - French Guiana. Also, after managing to get "British Isles" right, they managed to suggest that there could be "English" land in that area of South America, though England itself has no overseas territories due to its being a part of the UK. Being Scottish, I notice these things. ;)

Anyway, on the whole it's not bad. Quite fun to see a different look at how Americans see the world, since nowadays it's just assumed that they're all terrible at geography just because some are.

User avatar
Diadem
Posts: 5654
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:03 am UTC
Location: The Netherlands

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Diadem » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:56 am UTC

anabatica wrote:
Diadem wrote: I really hope misplacing Cape Horn [Fun fact: It should actually be Cape Hoorn. The name doesn't come from the english word 'horn' but from the Dutch city of Hoorn] was deliberate!

Well, no, its name in English is 'Cape Horn'. English (and other languages, I mean you don't think the French call Paris Parijs, do you?) often change the spelling/pronunciation of a place name when adopting it. That'd be like someone mentioning the Netherlands in a conversation in English and you saying that it should actually be 'Nederland'. No, that's not what it's called in English.

I know Cape Horn is the common spelling. I was just pointing out that this is in fact etymologically incorrect. The Dutch city of Hoorn is still just Hoorn in English, not Horn. So 'Kaap Hoorn' should logically also be 'Cape Hoorn' not 'Cape Horn'.
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
- Bernard Woolley in Yes, Prime Minister

purpleriot
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:15 am UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby purpleriot » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:58 am UTC

p1t1o wrote:
superglucose wrote:I missed fewer European nations than she got states.


Anyone else see my problem here?


Yes. Only after thinking about it for a good few minutes though.

If she got lots of states, superglucose missed lots of European nations. :P

anabatica
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:32 pm UTC

Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby anabatica » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:59 am UTC

Diadem wrote:
anabatica wrote:
Diadem wrote: I really hope misplacing Cape Horn [Fun fact: It should actually be Cape Hoorn. The name doesn't come from the english word 'horn' but from the Dutch city of Hoorn] was deliberate!

Well, no, its name in English is 'Cape Horn'. English (and other languages, I mean you don't think the French call Paris Parijs, do you?) often change the spelling/pronunciation of a place name when adopting it. That'd be like someone mentioning the Netherlands in a conversation in English and you saying that it should actually be 'Nederland'. No, that's not what it's called in English.

I know Cape Horn is the common spelling. I was just pointing out that this is in fact etymologically incorrect. The Dutch city of Hoorn is still just Hoorn in English, not Horn. So 'Kaap Hoorn' should logically also be 'Cape Hoorn' not 'Cape Horn'.

Oh, I see what you're doing wrong. Trying to apply logic to English. ;)


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Feedfetcher and 45 guests