Skip to main content

Where are we headed, America?

A friend from across the pond just sent me a link to a video on YouTube by Chaser Non-Stop News Network in Australia, a program akin to the Daily Show in the US. The "reporter" is Julian Morrow. Even given the probability (a great one at that) that there were people who answered Morrow intelligently and were edited from the program, there is still too much stupidity on display here for any of us to ignore. In the world we live in today, being stupid is not funny, it's dangerous. And, as an American, I find the sheer embarrassment of this willful ignorance painful. I have been unable to make the link work in my blog, but if you go to youtube and put cnnn in the search box, go to number 5, Are Americans Stupid?

The answers people give to Morrow's questions are unthinkable. "What is the religion of Israel?" "Catholicism." "What is a country whose name starts with U?" "Yugoslavia. Utah." "What country should the US invade next?" "Sri Lanka." Then, when Morrow presents himself as Prime Minister John Howard, no one skips a beat. They have no idea that Morrow is not Howard (the two men look nothing alike), and their naiveté and lack of knowledge rank with that of kindergarteners in their responses to "Prime Minister Howard."

Globalization is not just about buying cheap stuff from China at your local Walmart. (Many of us no longer shop at Walmart in support of a different and more balanced form of a globalized economy, but I digress.) It is also about understanding what happens on and in our globe, and how, why and when it happens. Yes, it takes work to be informed. But it is much less work than welcoming home your children with amputated limbs or severe emotional disturbance from having been sent to battle in a country whose name too many people in our country cannot pronounce or whose location they cannot even find on a map. And being informed is less work (and less trauma) than taking your child to the ER when he suffers lead poisoning from the bargain toys you bought him from that land "over there somewhere."

Knowledge is still power. And the country that "starts with a U" is losing both--fast. We can, should, must reverse this downward spiral. The world depends on it, but more important: our families depend on it. Perhaps the Middle East does not interest you, perhaps you don't care where the cheap merchandise comes from or how it is made, perhaps you don't want to spend time learning where the world's countries are, or knowing what happened in Africa this week. But surely you do care what happens to your children, your brothers and sisters, your parents, your friends, your mate. Guess what? The two are now related, inextricably intertwined for the foreseeable future, if not forever. We can't change that fact, but we can change how we face it, and we can start now.

A great place to start is: World Press which gives you headlines and articles from press sources around the world, in English. The site also features country maps and profiles and information on countries where armed conflicts are taking place. It's not all homework, though. You can even have a little fun there, checking out the international cartoons. Yes, my fellow Americans, we can laugh and be smart at the same time.

Text and image, copyright 2007 Ysabel de la Rosa

Comments

Jurisdebtr said…
I don't know whether to laugh, cry or rage!!! Good grief! Apparently noone told these people that God gave them a brain with the intent that they USE it.
I think the thing that most puzzles me us the mislabled map & no one noticed. (France a large island?)

Popular posts from this blog

Life without Television, Part 2

I began life without television with relief, which was consistent Monday through Friday. The first few weekends, though, felt awkward, anxious, lonely. When PBS has good programming on Saturday nights, it is extraordinarily good. Father Brown, Phryne Fisher, New Tricks... Extraordinary acting, high production values, and I fantasize about the pudgy, brilliant priest just perhaps having an innocent crush on one of his special parishioners, which would be moi. 

I called a friend one Sunday. "Maybe television helped with my anxiety more than I realized," I said. She told me about her aunt who, after her husband's death, kept the television on in his "man cave" 24/7. He has been gone years now. The television goes on, everlasting, in his absence. I don't blame her. Much of my frequent and prolonged television viewing began with grief.

After my sister died, I would watch almost anything, especially late at night when sleep eluded me. I even watched Convoy with …

Our Texas, My Texas: "Memories we carry like scars and diamonds"

This post title includes a quote from Hermine Pinson's poem, "Four Sisters and the Dance." As you read, it will become clear why.

I was 7 when my father earned his Ph.D. from Duke. He then accepted a teaching position at a small private college in a rural Texas town in the 1960s. Population was 5,000, give or take a few. Our Texas roots ran deep, and we saw this return to the Lone Star State as a homecoming. So, I left the lyrical landscape of the Carolinas and the small private school where I had become nearly fluent in French. Then, I entered the hot, dry world of that small town. 

We did not yet have a place to live. Our family of five, including our infant brother, camped out in the girls' dorm for several weeks. Our furniture was stored on the university theater stage while my parents searched for a home. I was riding in the car with my dad and a member of the university administration and overheard their conversation. My father wondered where he could find help …

Thank you, Press Women!

My blog won first place in personal blog writing for 2014 in the Press Women of Texas's Communications Contest. Afterward, my blog placed second in personal blog writing nationwide in the National Federation of Press Women's Communications Contest. I can't adequately tell you what these awards mean to me, but I feel impelled to try.
From the NFPW website:
On May 6, 1937, 39 women from seven states gathered at the Chicago Women's Club to turn their vision into reality. They formed the National Federation of Presswomen (yes, then it was one word) and set forth their goals: "To provide a means of communication between woman writers nationally; make possible the expression of a common voice in matters of national interest to press women, and otherwise advance the professional standards of press women."

It was brave enough for women to found such an organization in any decade prior to 1970, but this group was founded at the height of the Great Depression. It grew to …