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


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 …

Whose day?

Years ago, I made some collages using pages from a desk calendar from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The image that leads this post is one. Inside the hearts and flowers is a picture from the MMA collection of  a Japanese screen made in the 16th century. It is titled Tagasode, which means Whose sleeves?  The title comes from a 10th-century poem:

The fragrance seems even more alluring than the hue, Whose sleeves have brushed past? Or would it be this plum tree blossoming here at home?
Iro yori mo ka koso awaredo omohoyure tagasode fureshi ado no ume zo mo
The word haunts: tagasode. Whose sleeves? The question floats in my mind like a cloud on a still day. The sleeves materialize in my mind's eye. I hear them move through hushed air. I can imagine, though not name, the scent of the person to whom those sleeves belong. It's not unlike smelling the scent of your infant's clothes, or holding the perfume bottle that belonged to your don't need to open it... you know tha…

Glad to Hear It

This past week, Larry Wilmore and company mentioned Rachel Dolezol again on The Nightly Show. I don't remember who made the comment, but either Wilmore or one of the panelists said, "Did Rachel Dolezol do anything bad? No, she really didn't. Why did we get so uptight about that?" I was glad to hear it. Three cheers for being human.

I looked briefly at what's on Google currently about her and the now much-discussed Shaun White. I intend not to enter any of that fray mentally or verbally. I still maintain that humanity trumps color. We have a long way to go until we can leave our "paint by numbers" mentality behind, but we've made progress. Good changes can come, even in the midst of chaos and controversy. Maybe White and Dolezal will help us see that eventually.

As long as I'm here and continuing on the subject of color, I think I'm not alone in the fact that I don't like being called "white." As for my background, it includes …