Monday, February 6, 2012

Americans don't DO geography!

                It’s not outside the realm of possibility that CNN may have a current job opening. The only catch is – you have to know your geography.

            Broadcast in 212 countries, CNN viewers around the world expect their news to be accurate. When London shows up on a map graphic as being located approximately where Norfolk is supposed to be, CNN loses credibility. Adding a dot showing Cornwall as a city doesn’t help matters. (Cornwall is a county.) This is a basic geography fail.

            Apparently, American companies/adults/children don’t do geography. We can’t locate the U.S. on a world map, and we can’t identify New York City on a map of the U.S. Ask us to pinpoint London, and only the exceptional Americans will know that it’s in England somewhere. Asking us to draw it on a map that is then shown to the rest of the world is so not a good idea.

            What is it about geography that Americans find so challenging? Actually, I think we don’t find it challenging so much as we find it irrelevant. Every American knows that the United States is the center of the world. Asking them to identify unimportant little land masses around it (such as Canada) or on the other side of the world (e.g. China) is ridiculous. Why would Americans have to know that stuff? I mean, really.