0850: "World According To Americans"

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manveri
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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby manveri » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:03 pm UTC

I just thought of this, but the "Cape Horn" mistake is probably due to the fact that there IS an area called "the Horn of Africa" or the "African Horn," it's just not at the southern tip of the continent (Cape of Good Hope); it's Somalia, Ethiopia, etc. So it's not THAT ridiculous an error.

Btw, in answer to someone's earlier inquiry about whether geography is taught in American schools--I think it depends largely on the state, district, school, and even individual teacher. I live in Arizona, and I don't know of any high schools that offer a formal geography class. Most of the geography I've learned is piecemeal from various history classes, and from playing geography quiz games online. Then again, Arizona has the worst education system in the country. My younger brother once told me that Egypt was in South America. Of course, he suffers from way more than the usual dose of apathy.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby jules.LT » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:33 pm UTC

Wnderer wrote:For a political structure more important than a US state, the European nation seems to be an ephemeral thing. [...] But don't worry. We'll get around to learning the map of Europe once the paint dries on the thing.


You're not implying that US States are more important political structures than European countries, are you? :shock:
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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby enderverse » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:47 pm UTC

This is the first one in months I haven't really thought was funny.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Dlaten » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:48 pm UTC

I actually found this humorous because I was recently included in a contest about the world and such. One of the sections was a map quiz and my teammate would pretty much put this map to shame in detail.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Isaac » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:53 pm UTC

if this map was drawn up by a typical inbred USian, I'd be impressed.... but for people whos' claim to fame is knowledge of geography, this map really sucks..... I guess we can give them that political boundaries really are not geography, but still pretty sucky.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Ghona » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:55 pm UTC

jules.lt wrote:
Wnderer wrote:For a political structure more important than a US state, the European nation seems to be an ephemeral thing. [...] But don't worry. We'll get around to learning the map of Europe once the paint dries on the thing.


You're not implying that US States are more important political structures than European countries, are you? :shock:


The EU has more power now than the US Federal Government did under the Articles of Confederation.



Anyway, seeing results from surveys, it seems to be more of a case of "teenagers suck at geography" than anything else, since around a quarter of students are unable to ID the pacific ocean regardless of which country they're from.
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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby jules.LT » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:09 am UTC

Ghona wrote:
jules.lt wrote:
Wnderer wrote:For a political structure more important than a US state, the European nation seems to be an ephemeral thing. [...] But don't worry. We'll get around to learning the map of Europe once the paint dries on the thing.


You're not implying that US States are more important political structures than European countries, are you? :shock:


The EU has more power now than the US Federal Government did under the Articles of Confederation.

Anyway, seeing results from surveys, it seems to be more of a case of "teenagers suck at geography" than anything else, since around a quarter of students are unable to ID the pacific ocean regardless of which country they're from.


European countries are distinct because of their peoples, cultures, languages, domestic as well as foreign policy and we could go on and on.
Please tell me: which state border is of greater political significance in the US than that between California and Nevada?

btw, I'd love to know your source for the pacific ocean identification thing. I heard of this one and would like to know the details.
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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Solandri » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:17 am UTC

Superisis wrote:
Solandri wrote:If you expect someone from the U.S. to know where, say, Finland is, I think he's pretty justified in expecting you to know where Tennessee is, considering it has a larger population and GDP than Finland.

People expect you to know where Finland is because of culture and history, not because of how many pairs of trousers can be bought by the population of that area in a year. If economic and demographic (populationwise) was the important factors we should study a whole lot more Japanese, Chinese and Indian cities/provinces than we do.

So you're saying people who live in Tennessee have no unique culture nor history worth knowing? Who's the one being ethnocentric now? Everyone, everywhere has a unique culture and history. You cannot argue that one is more worth knowing than another simply because its distribution happens to coincide more with a national border. If you're going to argue that it's culture which matters most, then the different regions in the larger, more diverse countries like the U.S., China, Japan, Germany, and France, merit greater importance while a homogeneous region like (say) the Netherlands is relatively insignificant. My point was that boundaries like "a country" or "a state" or "a region" tend to be rather arbitrary, and should not automatically qualify nor disqualify it from being something worth knowing as the posts I replied to were claiming.

All that's going on here is that people aren't using a standard set of factors which merit importance and relevance when deciding which geopolitical boundaries are "worth knowing". They're arbitrarily picking and choosing the factors which are more convenient to support their point of view, regardless of merit.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby jules.LT » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:30 am UTC

Well, the Netherlands are a country, so they would qualify both as a political structure and a people/culture distinct from the ones surrounding it.

As appreciative as I may be of the diversity of French regions, the lack of an independent government also makes a huge difference in how important they are to know about. I don't even feel that guilty about not knowing them all.
Last edited by jules.LT on Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:37 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Monika » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:34 am UTC

Wnderer wrote:The correct answer for the map of Europe is one of those 'Excuse us, Work in Progress' signs. The lower 48 of the US was finished off about 99 years ago in 1912 and a little over 50 years ago Alaska and Hawaii were added. How many times has the map of Europe changed in that time. For a political structure more important than a US state, the European nation seems to be an ephemeral thing. It seems to based on the concept that after the Tower of Babel fell, God gave all the peoples of the world a language, a type of cheese, a soccer team and a plot of land they wouldn't have to share with anyone else. Someone always seems to be being unfairly deprived of one of these things. But don't worry. We'll get around to learning the map of Europe once the paint dries on the thing.

:lol:

You got a point there ... i can barely name the ex-Yugoslavian countries and certainly not name their capitals.
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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Dangermouse » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:37 am UTC

jules.lt wrote:
Ghona wrote:
jules.lt wrote:
Wnderer wrote:For a political structure more important than a US state, the European nation seems to be an ephemeral thing. [...] But don't worry. We'll get around to learning the map of Europe once the paint dries on the thing.


You're not implying that US States are more important political structures than European countries, are you? :shock:


The EU has more power now than the US Federal Government did under the Articles of Confederation.

Anyway, seeing results from surveys, it seems to be more of a case of "teenagers suck at geography" than anything else, since around a quarter of students are unable to ID the pacific ocean regardless of which country they're from.


European countries are distinct because of their peoples, cultures, languages, domestic as well as foreign policy and we could go on and on.
Please tell me: which state border is of greater political significance in the US than that between California and Nevada?

btw, I'd love to know your source for the pacific ocean identification thing. I heard of this one and would like to know the details.


For one, the Washington/Oregon border....managing the columbia basin is a clusterfuck of water rights, pollution, fisheries and shipping issues. Not to mention regulations regarding native american access to surrounding land and the fisheries of the region.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Wnderer » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:00 am UTC

jules.lt wrote:
Wnderer wrote:For a political structure more important than a US state, the European nation seems to be an ephemeral thing. [...] But don't worry. We'll get around to learning the map of Europe once the paint dries on the thing.


You're not implying that US States are more important political structures than European countries, are you? :shock:


As a political structure? Of course. Let me phrase it this way. Do you think the 50 states would be better off as 50 nations? The Union doesn't diminish the States. It empowers, enables and protects them as long as the federal government doesn't usurp the peoples, communities or states rights. Unions are tricky but beneficial things.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Diadem » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:00 am UTC

Andromeda321 wrote:As an American who travels a lot (6 continents so far) this comic is greatly appreciated.

You traveled to more continents then there are? I am impressed? What did you do, visit Atlantis?

Ok, I'm being deliberately obtuse. I know some people divide the world up in 6 continents. But then I still do not understand what the 'so far' is doing at the end of that sentence.
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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby gypkap » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:02 am UTC

My kids didn't get much geography in high school, simply because the state legislature mandates a lot of hours about state history. Something had to give, so the curriculum didn't include world geography.

In my high school (another state years ago), again state history was mandated, and world history was recommended for those planning to go to college, but it was optional. Need I say more?

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Re: 0850: World According To Americans

Postby mstjarna » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:10 am UTC

bcdm wrote:That's the joke, yes. I found it funny. Of course, even the smart Americans apparently think that Finland is part of Scandinavia... :lol:

It is part of Scandinavia.

So is Estonia.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby jules.LT » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:14 am UTC

Wnderer wrote:
jules.lt wrote:
Wnderer wrote:For a political structure more important than a US state, the European nation seems to be an ephemeral thing. [...] But don't worry. We'll get around to learning the map of Europe once the paint dries on the thing.


You're not implying that US States are more important political structures than European countries, are you? :shock:


As a political structure? Of course. Let me phrase it this way. Do you think the 50 states would be better off as 50 nations? The Union doesn't diminish the States. It empowers, enables and protects them as long as the federal government doesn't usurp the peoples, communities or states rights. Unions are tricky but beneficial things.


They wouldn't be better off, but they would definitely be more significant in that they would make much more decisions on their own and their relationships would be one between independent governments rather than same-country regions with local concerns. I mean, the State Governors have a 50% chance of being in the same party...

@Dangermouse: Sorry about the California/Nevada bit, that was an exageration.
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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby supersonicdrink » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:16 am UTC

I don't know any Americans who would forget Hawaii :P

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby JHobbs » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:44 am UTC

Diadem wrote:
Andromeda321 wrote:As an American who travels a lot (6 continents so far) this comic is greatly appreciated.

You traveled to more continents then there are? I am impressed? What did you do, visit Atlantis?

Ok, I'm being deliberately obtuse. I know some people divide the world up in 6 continents. But then I still do not understand what the 'so far' is doing at the end of that sentence.


North America
South America
Europe
Africa
Asia
Oceania

I figure 6 is the minimum people use and in school we were taught the Antarctic was the 7th. I don't see a problem with "so far" perhaps Andromeda intends to head off on a polar expedition for completion's sake.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby komako » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:52 am UTC

I teach 7th grade World History. My students not only know the world's geography, we regularly play a map game where they challenge each other to find countries (including the little island ones) for points. They're so good at finding countries that I'm thinking of starting them on geography features such as mountains and rivers. They are all Americans. Likewise, I learned world geography in middle school back in the 1980s. It wasn't difficult, it didn't take long, and it stuck with me.

In my experience most Americans have about as good a geographic understanding of the world as most other people. We're not idiots. I'd wager a German student has about as much as chance as an American student of knowing (or caring) where Bhutan is.

As for Finland, it is and is not a part of Scandinavia. It certainly is geographically in Scandinavia. Linguistically, it's not, though Swedish is also an official language. Politically it has at varying points been allied/"allied" with either Russia (or the USSR) or with Sweden. But as long as a person can correctly pick it out of a crowd of countries, does it matter?

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Diadem » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:56 am UTC

Solandri wrote:a homogeneous region like (say) the Netherlands

I lolled.

The Netherlands is not a homogenous region. For a start, we have three different languages, Dutch, Frisian and Limburgish. Granted, most people who speak one of the latter two also speaks Dutch as a second language, but not all. And they really are different languages, I can not understand a word of either Frisian or Limburgish. We have two major religions (Protestantism and Catholicism), with a very clear geographical divide, north vs. south, and very clear cultural differences. Then there's the Frisians up north who do their own thing and the Zealand has a pretty unique culture too.

Which brings me to my next point:
Solandri wrote:So you're saying people who live in Tennessee have no unique culture nor history worth knowing? Who's the one being ethnocentric now? Everyone, everywhere has a unique culture and history. You cannot argue that one is more worth knowing than another simply because its distribution happens to coincide more with a national border. If you're going to argue that it's culture which matters most, then the different regions in the larger, more diverse countries like the U.S., China, Japan, Germany, and France, merit greater importance while a homogeneous region like (say) the Netherlands is relatively insignificant. My point was that boundaries like "a country" or "a state" or "a region" tend to be rather arbitrary, and should not automatically qualify nor disqualify it from being something worth knowing as the posts I replied to were claiming.

A country border is more than just an arbritrary line. It represents a historical and political divide much more than a state border does.

When New York goes to war, so does Tennessee, or Utah. When France goes to war, it doesn't mean The Netherlands is also going to war. When Alabama plays in the world cup, so does California. When France plays in the world cup, it doesn't mean Italy is. And if they both are, you can be damn sure people from those nations are not cheering for the same team. Americans watch the same tv networks, they read the same newspapers, which largely contains the same news. Ok sure there's regional stations and regionals papers too, but their prominance is much smaller than in Europe. You all watch the same movies, and, well, granted, so do we, but each country has their own movie industry as well, with varying degrees of succes.

If you want to treat Europe and the US on a single footing, well, how many civil wars has the US had? One. Easy. How many civil wars has Europe had? Hundreds, maybe even thousands.

Divides between countries are more important than those between states.

I also believe that Europe is more culturally diverse than the US, mainly because Europe consists of so many countries. But that's not even something i need to argue to make my case.
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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby thearbiter » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:09 am UTC

Completely unfunny, and often innacurate. If Randall is doing one of his "look at me I'm so great" strips it's completely unimpressive. Surely most Americans know the world in a similar amount of detail (or at least those with a similar education to R?!) Then again maybe I'm just annoyed because I'm Greek and WE'RE NOT EVEN ON THE MAP.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Monika » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:11 am UTC

I heard you are financially a bit under water ...
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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Ezzthetic » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:31 am UTC

So listing Tasmania as if it's a country like New Zealand, when it's actually part of Australia, is part of the joke?

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Dienstag » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:39 am UTC

jonbobbly wrote:
Lazar wrote:For pedantry's sake, let me point out some errors I notice:

- ... (snip)


The subversion joke regarding ignorance would have gone farther without all the mistakes the artist made. Misspellings include Philippines, Papua, Scandinavia, Hispaniola ... and there's a parenthesis missing. Mind you, this is coming from a pedant who can look down on some Americans and I have to admit that I learned something geopolitical from the map.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby GenovaHeightsGhost » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:52 am UTC

Lazar wrote:For my part, I have a photographic memory with maps, and I've got all the countries of the world memorized, except for some of the smaller Caribbean and Pacific islands.


This.
I feel less alone now! :mrgreen: (I'll admit I *squee*'d a tad inside at the mention of doubly landlocked countries as well.)


I found the comic itself and the alt-text as two separate jokes, personally. The former being both a nod to an ancient internet meme and a comical jab against the perception that all Americans are ignorant, while the latter...well, maybe I found it funny because I'm a former Geography Bee-ite.
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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby BioTube » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:09 am UTC

manverl wrote:Btw, in answer to someone's earlier inquiry about whether geography is taught in American schools--I think it depends largely on the state, district, school, and even individual teacher. I live in Arizona, and I don't know of any high schools that offer a formal geography class. Most of the geography I've learned is piecemeal from various history classes, and from playing geography quiz games online. Then again, Arizona has the worst education system in the country. My younger brother once told me that Egypt was in South America. Of course, he suffers from way more than the usual dose of apathy.
I've had a formal geography course or two, but they were really history classes under a different name(Texas here; it varies more due to the school districts being separate political units).
JHobbs wrote:North America
South America
Europe
Africa
Asia
Oceania
Oceania's mainly used as a sociological term, isn't it? I've never heard anyone seriously call it a continent.
Diadem wrote:If you want to treat Europe and the US on a single footing, well, how many civil wars has the US had? One. Easy. How many civil wars has Europe had? Hundreds, maybe even thousands.
Actually, the US has never had a civil war(Kansas did, but not the whole thing), unless you want to count the American Revolution as one, in which case the term's lost all meaning. Remember that, despite his God-fearing rhetoric, Lincoln was not a nice man(or Christian, for that matter) and he claimed it a civil war in a bid to confuse the issue(the fact that Maryland, and thus DC, would've fallen into Confederate hands doesn't count). Remember that Britain and France wanted a counterweight to growing Union power, not a puppet government. And your count's off for Europe, considering how few states throughout history have had the ability or desire to conquer a significant amount of the place,
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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Osprei » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:18 am UTC

I live in Maryland, and we learned about world geography in 6th and 7th grades in middle school. I can't speak for everybody, but I think I have a fairly good knowledge of the world. I'm pretty sure I could have divided up some of the larger areas of the map better (such as most of South America), but I think the point here was mainly just to identify major regions. With that viewpoint, this is actually quite a good map with the exception of Africa and a few details.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby dysprog » Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:25 am UTC

Diadem wrote:I also believe that Europe is more culturally diverse than the US, mainly because Europe consists of so many countries. But that's not even something i need to argue to make my case.


But the US has every single one of those European cultures. In fact, we probably have them all in New York.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Skydiver » Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:44 am UTC

filecore wrote:But the biggest confusion for most people is the distinction between the geographical Europe, the European Union, the European Economic Community, the Eurozone currency area, and the Schengen Agreement area. You can be a member of Schengen but not the EU or vice versa, and countries like Norway are part of the EEC (iirc) without being either in the EU or Schengen (although there are then sub-areas like the Nordic Agreement zone), and countries like the UK, which only follow the EU regulations they feel like but don't accept the euro as currency, and are only partial signatories to the Schengen Agreement (the bits about criminals and Interpol, for example, but not the bits about open passport-free borders). Then there's the European Council, EC, which oversees the EEC from within the EU... kaboom.


Well, I was going to make a map or a Euler diagram to clear that up, but unsurprisingly someone had beat me to it: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/Supranational_European_Bodies.

Also, I registered just to post this. "Supranational European Bodies" is such a fascinating topic, after all. :roll:

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby thezeus18 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:16 am UTC

<AOL> I liked this. </AOL>

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby JHobbs » Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:17 am UTC

BioTube wrote:Oceania's mainly used as a sociological term, isn't it? I've never heard anyone seriously call it a continent.


I was educated throughout high school (geography is mandatory until age 16 in the UK) that Oceania/Australasia is a continent and have never heard it not considered one before now. If Australia/New Zealand aren't a part of their own continent which do you think they belong to? The only rational answer I can think of would be Asia but they're both very geographically and culturally dissimilar to Asia so even that I can't see much logic behind.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby RebeccaRGB » Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:20 am UTC

I was taught that the continent Australia was on was called... Australia.

Is this another one of those "everything my teacher taught me is wrong" things?
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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby rpgamer » Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:32 am UTC

It's got its own tectonic plate*, seems logical that it would be a continent. The Oceania term wasn't widely taught while I was learning, though. But more useful, since "Australia" kinda excludes the other islands out there.

*shared with India, but being shoved into another plate/land mass, gets included over there.
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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Jyrki » Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:36 am UTC

I quite liked Randall's touch here. The pitfalls of stereotypical thinking always provide material for humor.

I honestly do not know, whether the US population is less knowledgeable about world geography than the European. May be it is, may be it isn't? It might be interesting to know how much of this impression is due to non-representative sampling. A pet theory of mine is that tourists/travellers are largely at fault. The Europeans visiting North America form a rather different cross section of the population than the North Americans visiting Europe. At least two factors enter here: the former group contains a lot of visiting students (yours truly included), the latter includes a larger fraction of retired middle class folks. Partly because the standard of living in the US reached a high enough level (enabling middle class to visit another continent) earlier than it did in post WWII Europe. Anyway, consequently the Europeans visiting NA are simply more likely to be interested in geography than those travelling the other way. It is clearly not fair to call the two sample sets equally representative of their respective people.

The cultural background does seem to affect people's expectations. Europeans think in terms of nations. Americans think in terms of (half)continents. Hence Europeans don't really have much desire to learn about the 50 states, but rather tend to lump them together much like the Americans lump together those "tiny" countries. My European heart is bleeding a bit here, but size does matter here, because it correlates with how often you come to contact with that part of the world. Mind you, Americans do this internally, too. My friend from the prairies often wanted to pick on the dwellers of Atlantic coast states with comments like "You call that a State? One can drive across it in less than 2 hours!".

Map of Europe changing? The joke's been around for quite some time. A cartoon from the late 1930s targeted Hitler/Mussolini and their cronies. When I lived in the US (late 1980s) I shared housing with two Yugoslavian fellow graduate students. They told that the Yugoslavian joke on the future ofthe map of Europe was that by 2010 there will be 8 countries: a unified Western Europe, a unified Eastern Europe and 6 Yugoslav republics. Well, they got two out of three correctly.

Finland? Obviously I was delighted to see us together with the rest of the Nordic countries. The issue is, of course, not clear. Parts of Finland are in the Scandinavian peninsula (which, BTW, doesn't include Denmark at all!). Politically, culturally and historically we belong together. Ethnically and linguistically there is a clear difference. I once took a flight to Helsinki with an intermediate landing at Gothenburg. It was very easy to predict, which passengers are going to leave the plane at Gothenburg. You don't have to hear them speak. Just look at them.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Jyrki » Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:46 am UTC

ares wrote:The ironic part (at least for me) is that yesterday we were discussing world maps according to brasilians:
http://img211.imageshack.us/img211/6522 ... litico.jpg


I'm now going to reveal my own prejudices, but I rather expected that any Brasilian map of the world would only have countries shaped like hexagons and pentagons as in a (pre WC-2010) football (=soccer ball to our North American readers).

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby collegestudent22 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:47 am UTC

Lazar wrote:- they misidentify the northwestern part of India as being predominately Muslim


The northwestern part of India (near Pakistan) is the predominately Muslim portion. It's merely a bit smaller than the map indicates, and the clear delineation line between the two ignores the ambiguous nature of the territory, which is most evident at the northern tip of India in the Kashmir region (where some areas are 95% Muslim) - still disputed over between the Muslims, who really want to secede and possibly become part of Pakistan, and the Hindus, who most vehemently want to not do that.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Jisaan » Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:52 am UTC

Well, somehow I got logged out before I could post my response to this topic, and there's no way I'm going to rewrite everything, but I'll try to summarize what I was going to say:

Treating Europeans' knowledge of US states as if it were equivalent to Americans' knowledge of European countries isn't completely reasonable, but neither is pretending that Americans should be as familiar with Europe as Europeans. Since there aren't nearly as many countries in North America, some other method must be used to make comparison of geographical knowledge fair, and since it's all pretty much trivia anyway, asking for the names of states is a decent solution. Asking for the names of Asian countries may be better, however.

Anyway, I'm far more concerned with the general state of education in this country than I am with the location of random borders. When they start covering the structure of England's government and the history of the Middle East, then maybe we should start talking about GPS coordinates, but until then I'll settle for what I pick up in the history classes they do teach, and I'll count myself lucky if I find a teacher that actually goes over the structure of our own government.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Jyrki » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:16 am UTC

Jisaan wrote:Anyway, I'm far more concerned with the general state of education in this country than I am with the location of random borders. When they start covering the structure of England's government and the history of the Middle East, then maybe we should start talking about GPS coordinates, but until then I'll settle for what I pick up in the history classes they do teach, and I'll count myself lucky if I find a teacher that actually goes over the structure of our own government.


This. Basic geography is one of the key enablers to understanding history and, consequently, the current political situations around the globe. The real concern is the general state of education (in your country, mine, and others as well). While I plead guilty to having taken a lot of pride in my knowledge of geographical trivia in my youth, learning trivia is not the reason to study this subject.

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby Diadem » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:24 am UTC

BioTube wrote:
Diadem wrote:If you want to treat Europe and the US on a single footing, well, how many civil wars has the US had? One. Easy. How many civil wars has Europe had? Hundreds, maybe even thousands.
Actually, the US has never had a civil war(Kansas did, but not the whole thing), unless you want to count the American Revolution as one, in which case the term's lost all meaning. Remember that, despite his God-fearing rhetoric, Lincoln was not a nice man(or Christian, for that matter) and he claimed it a civil war in a bid to confuse the issue(the fact that Maryland, and thus DC, would've fallen into Confederate hands doesn't count). Remember that Britain and France wanted a counterweight to growing Union power, not a puppet government. And your count's off for Europe, considering how few states throughout history have had the ability or desire to conquer a significant amount of the place,

Wait. The American Civil War was not a Civil War? I have trouble parsing an argument from your post. What does the niceness of Lincoln have to do with anything? It wasn't a war because Lincoln wasn't a nice man?

Ugh why am I even responding to an obvious troll.
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

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Re: 0850: "World According To Americans"

Postby philip1201 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:43 am UTC

dysprog wrote:
Diadem wrote:I also believe that Europe is more culturally diverse than the US, mainly because Europe consists of so many countries. But that's not even something i need to argue to make my case.


But the US has every single one of those European cultures. In fact, we probably have them all in New York.


I doubt many Americans are aware of their European cultural history. There probably are as few Italian Americans who have read Dante as there are French Americans, or not Italian Europeans, who have read the Divine Comedy. I doubt there are many Americans who know how to serve the national dishes of their origin countries. The US is a mixing bowl of cultures, and the end result is far more homogeneous than the original European, Asian and African cultures.
The same goes for European countries - already there's scarcely any difference in the culture of Frisians and Brabantians, or Scotsmen and Londoners, or Tripolitans and Napolitans - or at least about as much as between Californians and Texans. Each of them has been mixed to form a new national culture, and even that has largely joined together with American culture to form some large popular Western cultural blob.
But the US is a single country, while Europe consists of many, each as unique as the US, but each with a history that goes back way further than that of the US.

Let me as a Dutchman say that we Dutch are probably less culturally distinct now than the US. It's tragic, because our history has been far richer, but now most of our "entertainment industry" is dancing to American tunes. This goes for each country in Europe - the US is culturally richer than each country (perhaps possibly France and England) in Europe. But there is no way the US is culturally richer than Europe. And historically there's just no contest, even just in the 234 years that the US has been independent.


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