Thursday, May 25, 2006

Laughing at Americans!

I thought that would get people's attention.
There is this little film on the web, where an Australian film crew ask the average american in the street which country should be invaded next! They are then shown a map of the World and asked to put a pin on where they think that country is. The bit about Sri Lanka made me laugh out loud, as did the bit where someone put a pin on where they thought Iran was, but it is frightening on just how ignorant people can be. Not as frighteningly ignorant as 77 year old Richard Smith of Barking, but frightening enough!
Laughing aside I do agree to an extent with Normal Mouth (Hat tip to him for the link BTW) that we can be very smug about people in the US who show such ignorance, and he is right, some of it is down to jealousy. But I think it is more than that, it is a western trait to laugh at those who show ignorance on subjects and issues that a ten year old can grasp. Look at Jade Goody for example! When she showed her feeble grasp of general knowledge the newspapers were horrified and many of us just laughed and sneered at her because we found it hard to cope that someone could be that ignorant! But at least she was honest about her ignorance.
But I do disagree with Normal Mouth that this is simply how the World is, just because I think I can understand it and accept it doesn't mean that I think it should be tolerated! We should challenge it in a way that doesn't savagely belittle others.

4 comments:

Shaun (ed.) said...

people in the US who show such ignorance

That's a very crude generalisation. I won't say it's xenophobic, but the Left's anti-Americanism does irritate me. A lack of general knowledge exists everywhere in the world. I always find it surprising how little many Britons know about our basic history, geography, politics etc. but I hesitate to call all such people ignorant. I view someone as ignorant when he voluntarily mouths off about a subject he does not know anything about, but I don’t charge people with such a lable when they are asked about something which they don’t know much about. The lack of general knowledge and lateral thinking is the product of falling standards at all three education levels (and I don’t equalize standards with how many people pass or obtain high marks – high standards are the toughness of examinations and the quality of the work being teached).

doesn't mean that I think it should be tolerated! We should challenge it in a way that doesn't savagely belittle others
Of course ignorance shouldn’t be accepted, but it’s not something that should or should not be tolerated (i.e. it does not have a tolerance value), because you’re not going to really change someone’s mind that can’t think about arguments. It is typical of the Left’s “totalitolerance” that anyone who holds un-PC views (even if they are clearly wrong) are ignorant extremists who should not be tolerated.

P.s. I've changed to my blogger profile name from that unoriginal name 'torytorytory'

Andrew said...

I've always had my doubts that people in the US are as geographically ignorant as is widely claimed, but let's say they (on average) are - would that be any great surprise? Most people from the UK know the major countries of Europe, but get fuzzy once you get into the Middle East / Africa / Asia. The US is larger than Europe and has fifty states, and I'd bet that most Americans could place the majority of them. The amount of relative knowledge is about the same, surely? The states act, in this case, as different countries, and people will always be more interested in what's closer to them. Just because they're all under the one banner doesn't make the knowledge any less diverse.

James Hamilton said...

"But I think it is more than that, it is a western trait to laugh at those who show ignorance on subjects and issues that a ten year old can grasp." No, just a thoroughly unpleasant one. I'd actually cast doubt on the ability of most Brits to place European countries on a map. But I don't think that says anything about them deserving of much interest, let alone mirth.

Paul Burgin said...

Being a bit quick here, because it is late, am tired, and I want to go to bed.
Tory/Manic Minarchist, I agree about the crudity of the attacks. I am not sure however, about the education as the ability to know, and if not, to find out is there. I have a passion for general knowledge and if I want to know about something I can look it up in a library or on the Net. A lot of people in this video seem to be educated, but they equally appear to be ignorant. Not I said "seem" and "appear".
As I said, I am not altogether impressed about the cruel humour used, but at the same time am equally unimpressed by the said ignorance.

"because you’re not going to really change someone’s mind that can’t think about arguments"

I agree, but people should be encouraged to use their brain and many don't, and I see enough of it around to really irritate me.
Take Jade Goody again, she isn't thick. She isn't a member of Mensa either, but she isn't thick, so why won't she make full use of the brain God has given her! That said, at least she is honest about her ignorance and shouldn't be bullied for it!

Andrew and James. I agree us Brits can be just as bad, as can Aussies ;), which is partly what is unpleasant about this video. The subtext seems to be "We are more highly intelligent than the average american, so why should they be guardians of global affairs?", but ignorance is ignorance is ignorance! Stupidity and lack of access to knowledge is one thing, but ignorance is something to be challenged, within ourselves and in others!