Thursday, September 13, 2007

Finding the USA on a Map

The original clip of Miss South Carolina's desperate, inarticulate attempt to answer a question has been all over the Internet.

I must admit, I laughed. But I also felt sorry for her. It was a strange, unexpected question. She is young and was under pressure and obviously completely thrown by it. She does a much better job here on the Today programme.

I don't believe Americans would have more trouble finding the USA on a map than British people would have in finding the UK - and the same goes for any other country.

I mean, Charley from the recent UK series of Big Brother hadn't heard of Gandhi (between 30-60 seconds into the video), and the eventual winner, Brian, genuinely hadn't heard of William Shakespeare, so it's hardly surprising that some people have trouble identifying objects on maps.


Frances said...

Hi Rob

I came across your blog address through the bio you supplied in 'Fourteen'.
I must confess to spinning the globe once or twice myself frantically looking for Europe before I can locate the UK. Very sad.

Thank you for posting the Wallace Stevens poem. It's beautiful.

Cailleach said...

Reminds me of a story I was told about a 'young wan' working in a DHL service centre in Dublin - she asked a colleague where Limerick was: the equivalent of a Londoner asking where Birmingham is... ouch.

Rob said...

Thanks for visiting, Frances. And you have an interesting blog. I'll link up to it.

Barbara, we were on holiday and in a restaurant in Rome a few years ago, at a time when we lived in the north of Italy. A group of Americans were at a neighbouring table. One of them asked us for directions to somewhere in slow, pidgin English. We gave the directions. "Hey, your English good," he replied, still speaking really slowly. "You Italian?" We said, "No, we're from Glasgow in Scotland. But we live in Turin now." The guy turned to his friends, and said to them, at a normal speed, "These guys are from Turin, Scotland."