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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?)

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