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bryden42
Hi Guys,

I got sent a funny video today via email

Linky to Video

At first i laughed, then I started to think and I got a little concerned. Is this really the level of knowledge that the average American has about the rest of the world?

I should probably say at this point that I really don't mean to tar the entirety of the country with one brush (I regard the Americans on this page with respect and as intelligent people).

I could almost understand this if they were confusing two countries within the middle east or two countries within Asia, or maybe even Europe. But to confuse any of the countries that they stated for Australia is a heinous display of ignorance. I have only been to America once and I laughed when i was asked if I had met Princess Diana and Benny Hill (and by this he meant met them walking down the street) and figured that the person asking obviously didn't know much about our culture if he thought that i would have met those people like that, after watching this video I'm starting to feel like this wasn't such an isolated example of the self centred and insular view that America seems to have.

So a quick question for you American Matazonians. Is this a fair representation? Is it better than this? Do I really have to worry that the most powerful nation on the face of the planet may get it wrong and invade my country by mistake? please alliviate some of my fears smile.gif
Astarael
Ooh, there was another topic about this awhile ago in Issues, I think. But it was really funny and worth a bit more discussion. I hope that Americans are smarter than this, but I know a few people who are truly this ignorant. My question is whether it's ignorance or stupidity. Do people not know and wish they did, or do they know that they're ignorant and have fun not caring?
"Ignorance is temporary. Stupidity is forever." -Anonymous
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not too sure about the universe." - Albeter Einstein
Calantyr
Yup, I think I posted this earlier in Daft. wink.gif

Some people just don't care about the world. They think it doesn't matter in their daily lives. This may be true... but then you allow these people to vote for leaders with foreign policies.

As the beginning of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars they did some surveys. Only about 20% of people asked could identify those countries on the map, let alone give opinions on them without regurgitating what they had heard on Fox News 5 minutes previously.

Ignorance is a scary thing.
Astarael
See Ast be somwhere in the ballpark with it being posted before... laugh.gif
Ignorance is dangerous, especially when people don't care enough to remedy it with research and thought. When people don't know what's going on, how can they possibly be voting for the leaders of the their countries? I know that this video is from the U.S., but I don't believe that living outside the borders automatically makes people smarter. How long will this ignorance persist? If you want to make informed decisions, then there's more to learning the truth than spitting out whatever the news told you when people ask what you think.
Phyllis
Hmmm. Our education system is a bit crap, to be honest, but it's not as bad as that.

Though sometimes we don't even know stuff about our OWN country. I mean, when I lived in NYC I got asked "Where's Oregon?" quite a lot. I can label all the states to this day because I was forced to memorize them when I was 10. Obviously this wasn't done in all the schools...though really, who cares if I know where Indiana is?

A lot of Americans really don't know much about British culture, no. See, your country is just so ickle in land mass to us, some of us assume you must all know each other tongue.gif Nevermind the fact that there are, what, 8 million people in London alone? And OH GOD I got so tired of the following conversation in the months leading up to my trip to the UK:

Person: So, I hear you're going to London!
Me: Well, I'm flying into Heathrow, but I'll be spending most of my time in Worcestershire.
Person: Oh. *disappointed look on face* How close is that to London?

Then when I got back, the same people who said that asked me how London was...

Anyway! I had equally silly questions from Brits as well, at times. Overall, no, I don't think the country is quite that ignorant. There are some definite flaws in our educational system...and well, our media as well, obviously. There are a lot of things that Americans simply don't know about unless they go to other countries or watch/read the news from other countries. A rather simple example of this is fairtrade anything. I've had to explain what it is to countless Americans, because it's not common knowledge here. There are very few brands that do fairtrade, and they generally have to be ordered online (the exception being one kind of coffee that I can't remember the name of cause I don't drink that vile crap). We have to be pretty diligent in seeking outside sources in order to even find out about simple things like that. *shrug*

I think at least some of it might have to do with the type of people who agree to do random surveys...just a thought. wink.gif They're likely to do it because they have an excess of time on their hands, are bored, and probably won't really think their answers through all that much unless it's a subject that is dear to their hearts.
Mata
Oo oo! I know where Oregon is!

In my very limited experience of conversing with Americans about such things, cross-referenced with my slim amount of knowledge of where those people come from in the US, it seems that people on/near the coast will care far more about the rest of the world than your average person from South Dakota or Missouri will. As Cand says, it's probably partially about landmass. Those people have got a lump of land the size of a fair chunk of Europe between them and anyone else, so events across entire oceans seem to be literally a world away.

I've often said that most people shouldn't be allowed to vote, following the Scott Adams principle that even most smart people don't have time to really work out, or can't agree on, who is going to be best for the country and the world, let alone a person whose previous two weeks were spent chasing a bear that stole their dungarees.
sjbbandgeek
Its a little scary to see the responses in the video, but I'm sure that they left out many Americans who know where Australia and France are.
Many smart Americans are connected to computers as if it where life support, so we don't get out much. Well, at least I don't.
Kitty
Theres also the "No Child Left Behind" act. Which limits teachers severly. They place the kids that could possibly need alot more help in school in the same classes as the kids that will do fine with a regular work load. I think the law also says that the vast majority of these students need to PASS the class. This results in teachers teaching so that the lazier, and potentially LD kids, will pass their class. So basically all us smart ones sit there bored out of our minds tongue.gif

I dont think my chemistry teacher knows about this law though. All of his kids except a very select few got a D on a test he just gave out.... Still hasnt dawned on him that maybe he needs to be teaching differently.
pgrmdave
Let's not forget that the video is made for comedy, not for serious study. It is possible that the whole thing was staged.
bryden42
QUOTE
Let's not forget that the video is made for comedy, not for serious study. It is possible that the whole thing was staged.


Good point, but it didn't have that feel to me. Whils it was comedy I think that the people involved were real, not saying that there wasn't a lot of footage of people calling them on it that didn't get cut however.
Mata
I certainly hope that there were a lot of people who did know the answers, but it does appear that the people involved were real, just that they were (hopefully) in the minority!

I guess it's a kind of snobbery, but the people sound relatively educated and look reasonably well off, so I would hope that they would, for instance, recognise when Australia is mislabelled on a map. I'm a little scared by the possibility that people can succeed in life but not be able to recognise continents.
oobunnie
This slightley reminds me of a segment we had on a Canadian tv show called This Hour Has 22 minutes. The segment was called Talking To Americans and it real was quite funny.
Astarael
My sides hurt from laughing at that so much! I know that there's stupid people out there, but how dumb do you have to be to not give any thought to whether something so ridiculous and impractical is true? *is scared for the future of humanity*
MrRandomQuotes
Bush - "our most important neighbour to the north"

WTF??? How many neighbours are america keeping hidden up there? You cant really blame the people when their leader is as well documentedly dim witted. Or maybe you should blame the people and not the leader...
Phyllis
QUOTE (MrRandomQuotes @ Nov 23 2005, 07:23 PM)
Bush - "our most important neighbour to the north"

WTF??? How many neighbours are america keeping hidden up there? You cant really blame the people when their leader is as well documentedly dim witted. Or maybe you should blame the people and not the leader...
*

Not when only 51% actually voted for him. That's a lot of people who don't want him in power...

Anyway, there are stupid, ignorant people everywhere. Apparently...in the past 3 years, 19 people in the UK have died from eating Christmas decorations they believed to be chocolate. A whopping 537 Brits also went to the emergency room last year for attempting to open beer bottles with their teeth. Those statistics were both listed in an article that was meant to be funny. Do I know whether or not it's true? No. Am I going to bother finding out? Nope, I cannot be bothered because it really doesn't matter that much to me. Am I going to giggle anyway? It's not very nice of me...but yes. Am I going to judge an entire country based on what some people may or may not have done according to something done for comedy? Obviously not. Heh, I said there were stupid people everywhere...not that I was one of them. wink.gif
Witless
Problem as I see it.. the only americans i meet in person, are annoying tourists.. and quite dense people that asked me "are you british.. from like.. britain" in florida when they heard my accent.

Every american I have met that has been not scary like that has been online. The reason is.. (I think) that I don't get the chance to meet the average smarter person you'll meet there. If I lived in the states.. then i'd meet people at work, I'd meet college students, I'd have a friendship circle of people that I respected. I have none of those over there. The little I see of people is basically tourists and terribly arrogant people with silly questions.
I do meet people from the states on occasion that i respect.. but well if I'm honest.. it's not like I really get the chance to have many conversations with these people. It's only if they ask stupid questions like.. "does London have public toilets" (Yes.. I have been asked that), do I really realise I'm speaking to anyone from the states. The trick is just to remember.. they're out there.. they just don't show their intelligence as well as ignorant people show their ignorance.
To be honest that's the truth wherever you go really.. but americans speak the same language as the UK it's easier to see it when they do it wink.gif.
oobunnie
QUOTE (candice @ Nov 24 2005, 04:00 AM)
Not when only 51% actually voted for him.  That's a lot of people who don't want him in power...

Anyway, there are stupid, ignorant people everywhere.  Apparently...in the past 3 years, 19 people in the UK have died from eating Christmas decorations they believed to be chocolate.  A whopping 537 Brits also went to the emergency room last year for attempting to open beer bottles with their teeth.  Those statistics were both listed in an article that was meant to be funny.  Do I know whether or not it's true?  No.  Am I going to bother finding out?  Nope, I cannot be bothered because it really doesn't matter that much to me.  Am I going to giggle anyway?  It's not very nice of me...but yes.  Am I going to judge an entire country based on what some people may or may not have done according to something done for comedy?  Obviously not.  Heh, I said there were stupid people everywhere...not that I was one of them.  wink.gif
*

I agree with you. That was the thing about "Talking to Americans", it was obvious that they edited it so that only ignorant people got showen. That site doesn't have clips from all the shows, but there were segments that had even more absurd stuff then is showen. Like one I can remember was when Rick Mercer (the satire reporter) went around asking if Americans would support lending Canada a big tug boat, because Canada was starting to spilt in two and we only had one tug boat, but we figured if we had two we could just pull the two pieces back together. Or when he went around seeing if Americans would mind having Canadian navel ships docked in their state because Canada is land locked you see, we don't have any coast. Doesn't change the fact that it was worth a good laugh.
I haven't really met many super dense Americans like what they show, except one guy that yelled at me because I had no clue what a piggleywiggleys was, nor could I tell him where one in the city was (later I found out it some southern food change-ish store).
LoLo
Honestly are Americans actually being judged off a skit done by "CNNN" with ticker tape running at the bottom with headlines like, "Commuter celebrates 10 year anniversary of no eye contact"?

It's dangerous ground to generalize anyone based off of anything one might see, especially a comedy skit. Like has been stated you can find stupid people anywhere, and ignorant people anywhere, and it will get exploided for the comedy issues.

I do kind of find this funny though that the Americans you know on here are ok and respectable, but I guess we're just exceptions to the rule then huh?
Calantyr
Most of the Americans I have met ARE dense. I put this down to them simply being more loud-mouthed and so more noticeable. That said, some of my brightest friends are American too.
Oddly enough they complain about living in a country of loud-mouthed idiots too. *shrugs*

I have been asked such wonderful questions from those across the pond as:

"You're from England? What state is that in?" Granted she could have thought I said New England... but we had already established that I was from ANOTHER COUNTRY.

"England's in Europe, right?" No, we're on the moon.

"Where's France?"
to which I replied north of Spain,
"Where's Spain?"
to which I said east of Portugal.
"Where's..." you get the point. No, she wasn't joking. And this is a woman who deals with insurance claims.

"You have phones in Europe, don'tcha?" No, we never clawed our way out of the dark ages. Bring us your marvels of modern witchcraft!
Note that this was online. And before the days of broadband. Now it must have triggered somewhere in her mind that if we have access to the Internet we may just have phones...

"Everyone over there is a commie." Referring to Europe. Yeah, the Iron Curtain was just our overactive imagination.

"You're from England? Have you met Princess Diana?" This is always a good one. Replace Di with any modeately famous celebrity.

And of course the absolute classic!

"You speak English pretty well for a second language." He thought everyone in Europe spoke French. I would have thought the name ENGLAND would have given it away. *shakes head*


Why must the dumb people be the loudest? WHY, DAMNIT! *shouts*

wink.gif

Of course there's more than enough idiots over here, don't think I'm not aware of that too.
elphaba2
We're not all horrible, but I know some fairly idiotic people over here. Take my global teacher for example ("No, really, take her!" /false laughter) She's a doctor of Global History or some such and insists we address her as Dr. constantly. However, during a recent lecture, she referred to Quebec's being in Ontario. Someone corrected her, reminding her that Quebec is a province, and she got all flustered and fluted in a terrible transatlantic flute that she had mixed up her Canadian cities with the provinces. She said that oh she should have remembered, because she visited her sister in Quebec last month ("she lives in Toronto, dontcha know," she confided.) I gaped.

My cousin's roommate at Quinnipiac University believes that you can get sick from computer viruses and that the USA is part of the United Kingdom.

I know a sixteen-year-old boy who is building a biodegradable medical tool out of DNA that will be able to repair function in paralyzed limbs and then be absorbed into the body when complete. I know three published authors under the age of twenty. I know a piano scholar and four 4.0 GPA holders. The US is a mixed bag, and I bet Tibet and Brazil and France are, too. The one thing that gets pounded into American heads from birth is that we are diverse (which is why we're better than those snobby Brits.)

We sort of also just happen to have the single most noisy and grating bunch of ignorants. Coincidence?
pgrmdave
Americans are loud mouthed idiots

French people don't shower, are snobby, and will surrender under any circumstances.

Brits have no sense of humor, and greet everybody with a friendly "Cheerio!" every day.

Germans are constantly drunk, and warlike.

Koreans/Japanese/[insert east asian country here] are incredibly smart, play the violin, and hold tradition as the most sacred thing in exsistance, to the point of being willing to kill themselves for their family's honor.

Middle Easterners are either violent Jihadists or Oil Barons.

Mexicans are dumb and lazy, and the only work they do is menial labor.

Stereotypes aren't true.
Phyllis
QUOTE (Witless @ Nov 24 2005, 06:35 AM)
It's only if they ask stupid questions like.. "does London have public toilets" (Yes.. I have been asked that), do I really realise I'm speaking to anyone from the states.
*

Perhaps they meant ones that you don't have to pay 20p to use. rolleyes.gif

I'm sure if you were in a foreign country, you'd ask some questions that locals would see as incredibly stupid.

The people who asked if you were British when they heard your accent were probably trying to determine whether you were from the UK or Australia. Many Americans find it difficult to tell the difference, simply because we're not used to hearing either of them. I was asked by someone while I was in the UK if I was Australian...which I thought was funny because I made a conscious effort to keep my incredibly generic American accent the same so I wouldn't sound like Madonna, trying to feign a British one. unsure.gif
Moosh
QUOTE (pgrmdave @ Nov 26 2005, 06:16 PM)
Brits have no sense of humor, and greet everybody with a friendly "Cheerio!" every day.
*


No sense of humour? Is that really the steroetype of Brits in the US? 'Cos we actually steroetype Americans as not being able to understand our subtle humour.

/Kinda' Spam
Astarael
I may have to agree with the subtle humor point a little. Most of the stupid people at my school have no respect for Monty Python or anything else British. The smart ones (nearly all of my friends... I'll ignore the stupid one) think it's hilarious and quote it until the teachers scream at us to shut up with the quotes already. biggrin.gif Only the fun teachers will quote it along with us.

My church hosted a few people from Ireland last year. We had so much fun talking just to hear their awesome accents. Ah, we must have looked like such easily amused Americans.
Witless
QUOTE
The people who asked if you were British when they heard your accent were probably trying to determine whether you were from the UK or Australia.


The entire conversation went like this:

Guy: Is your accent british?

Me: Yup

Guy: Why are you speaking in a british accent?

Me: Because I'm from Britain.

Guy: Really?

Me: Yeah...

Guy: Never realised they had black people in britain, that's neat.


Actually remembering that conversation has finally reminded me why I started using the word "neat"
Calantyr
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Astarael
People like that make me worry about the future of humanity. How stupid do you have to be? laugh.gif I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, given some of the idiocy running rampant throughout my school.
Conversation in my Latin class last week:
*music that we can all hear, sounds like it's from an iPod*
Teacher: Morgan, do you have your iPod on again?
Morgan: *definitely wearing an iPod and nodding to the music* No, I don't.
Teacher: *rolls eyes* So, what song are you listening to?
Morgan: "Ice, Ice-"
Teacher: Give the iPod to me NOW!
Morgan: That ain't right, you trickin' me like that! *hands over iPod and stomps off*
Me: *dies of laughter*
Stupidity is universal. It's just more obvious when people get out of their knowledge zone in conversation.
arachnidoc17
Oh, come on, the video is from friggin' CNN. Besides, do you really think they would get any shock value from "We don't need to invade any other countries?" Any comments like that would be edited out.

I have no idea where Calantyr went in America, but wherever it may be, someone had a bit too much to drink. "Do they have phones in Europe?" Aagh!

In short, I'm angry for no particular reason, and am starting to blather.

P.S. "Stereotypes aren't true" is a stereotype. (wait- wah? huh.gif )
Phyllis
QUOTE (arachnidoc17 @ Nov 28 2005, 06:45 PM)
Oh, come on, the video is from friggin' CNN.
*

No. It's from "CNNN"
bryden42
Ok so I am going to agree that there have been times when i have had to dispair for the shockingly uninformed opinions of some of the people that I have met, I have only been abroad twice (once to France and once to America) so my pool of people is limited and I therefore have to concur that we Brits are equally capable of dimwittery! what disturbs me about this (questions of authenticity aside, as I believe that whilst this was a skit it was done with real people and real reactions) is that this is a representation of a percentage of a society, in a society as large as America any percentage is going to represent a large number of people, a Large number of people with the right to vote in the leader of ,arguably, the most powerful nation on the planet. How far fetched is it that this countries uninformed (or plain stupid) percentage votes in someone that is not the brightest tool in the box? Someone who is more than happy to get very gun-ho with the rest of the planet! Someone who is not really capable of leading a country in a responsible way. Sound like anyone we know? could there be a less suitable candidate in the future? again voted in by the uninformed percentage. This is what worries me.
Phyllis
Sorry, bryden, but I have a hard time believing that a comedy sketch done with 10-15 people in an incredibly large city is really representative of any significant portion of the population. It may well be a large number due to the sheer volume of people who live in the US, but when you compare it with the actual size of the population...it's probably not a big percentage.

I would say that yes, we probably have far more people who are a bit insular...almost to the point of naivete, for the reasons I mentioned before. I do think a lot of intelligent people are a bit misled in their opinions...*cough* But I don't think the percentage of ignorant, stupid people is necessarily any larger here than anywhere else.

There are huge problems with this country (like the media and education system only further contributing to the insularity), but people are people no matter where you go. Yeah there are peculiar national mannerisms that are more prevalent in each place...but overall people are basically the same everywhere. Some are intelligent, some are stupid, most are average.

Maybe I'm optimistic, but I really do think the insularity thing is changing a bit with the younger generations, due to the prevalence of the Internet. It makes sources from other countries more readily available than they ever were before, so we can get news from sources other than American media without subscribing to special TV channels or foreign newspapers (expensive and generally difficult to do). I really do think that the people who are accustomed to using the Internet are far less insular than their older counterparts. I think it is getting better...but unfortunately quite slowly.

(As an aside, about the British humor thing. We tend to get all of the really crap British shows on TV, like that stupid thing with that Bucket lady who insists on being called Bouquet. We don't get any of the good ones, at least in my area. I've always thought that played into the whole "Americans don't get British humor" stereotype)
Moosh
QUOTE (candice @ Nov 29 2005, 07:10 PM)
(As an aside, about the British humor thing.  We tend to get all of the really crap British shows on TV, like that stupid thing with that Bucket lady who insists on being called Bouquet.  We don't get any of the good ones, at least in my area.  I've always thought that played into the whole "Americans don't get British humor" stereotype)
*


That was 'Keeping Up Appearances' and is considered by many (including Tigersong) to be in (at least) the top ten of sitcoms ever produced. That aside, I have found from talking to Americans, that you often get edited versions of our comedies and sit-coms, (eg. Red Dwarf, Harry Enfield and Chums, Two Ronnies, and even Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em) which means that you may be excused for not finding them funny. 'Cos the ones you get aren't.
Angel the Samurai Princess
QUOTE (bryden42 @ Nov 15 2005, 06:44 PM)
Hi Guys,

I got sent a funny video today via email

Linky to Video

At first i laughed, then I started to think and I got a little concerned. Is this really the level of knowledge that the average American has about the rest of the world?

I should probably say at this point that I really don't mean to tar the entirety of the country with one brush (I regard the Americans on this page with respect and as intelligent people).

I could almost understand this if they were confusing two countries within the middle east or two countries within Asia, or maybe even Europe. But to confuse any of the countries that they stated for Australia is a heinous display of ignorance. I have only been to America once and I laughed when i was asked if I had met Princess Diana and Benny Hill (and by this he meant met them walking down the street) and figured that the person asking obviously didn't know much about our culture if he thought that i would have met those people like that, after watching this video I'm starting to feel like this wasn't such an isolated example of the self centred and insular view that America seems to have.

So a quick question for you American Matazonians. Is this a fair representation? Is it better than this? Do I really have to worry that the most powerful nation on the face of the planet may get it wrong and invade my country by mistake? please alliviate some of my fears smile.gif
*


*rolls eyes*
Oh, for pity's sake. I may not know that much about your English culture, bryden, but I know enough not to ask such a moronic question like "Have you ever met Princess Diana walking down the street?" I mean, come ON!!!

I'll tell you the truth: Yes. There are a lot of Americans over here that are pre-tty stupid (cough--Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton--COUGH), but we're not all a bunch of neandering knuckledraggers! Especially since I actually know what neandering is! LOL. But the last time I checked, Americans as a whole are just as human and mortal as the rest of the world.

But I will admit, there are many things I don't understand about your English culture that I would love to know: First: What is it with you guys and your tea? Why do the Queen's Guard wear those poofy hats? Why does it rain so much over there, come to think of it?
Phyllis
QUOTE (Angel the Samurai Princess @ Nov 29 2005, 05:13 PM)
Especially since I actually know what neandering is!  LOL. 
*

Did you know that it isn't a word?

QUOTE
What is it with you guys and your tea?

What is it with us and coffee? It's just a beverage. There are even people there who don't like it *gasp!!!*

QUOTE
Why do the Queen's Guard wear those poofy hats?

To confuse tourists. And to be used in stock footage in films to show that they're in England. Cause, y'know whenever anyone goes to England they're clearly in London. rolleyes.gif

QUOTE
Why does it rain so much over there, come to think of it?

...because God hates you and wants you to ask silly questions. tongue.gif Why does it rain so much in the Pacific Northwest? Why is it so dry in the Sahara?

Honestly, no offense meant here, but you aren't really helping our case by asking these questions. wink.gif
Sir Psycho Sexy
QUOTE (Angel the Samurai Princess @ Nov 30 2005, 01:13 AM)
*rolls eyes*
Oh, for pity's sake.  I may not know that much about your English culture, bryden, but I know enough not to ask such a moronic question like "Have you ever met Princess Diana walking down the street?"  I mean, come ON!!!


Of course you do, she's dead....you do know that right? That she's dead....

QUOTE
I'll tell you the truth:  Yes.  There are a lot of Americans over here that are pre-tty stupid (cough--Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton--COUGH), but we're not all a bunch of neandering knuckledraggers!


Now I don't mean to turn this into a political debate, but you managed to pick out three major democratic figure heads. None of which have ever really come across as particularly dense. In fact you missed out the possibly the best example of a "neandering knuckledragger". President with an IQ of 97 anyone?

QUOTE
What is it with you guys and your tea?


We like it, it's good for you, what is it with you guys and guns?

QUOTE
Why do the Queen's Guard wear those poofy hats?


They're called bearskins, it signifies them as the royal guard, status symbol and all that. (Sorta like a gun or a big car.)

QUOTE
Why does it rain so much over there, come to think of it?
*


Something to do with weather systems, atlantic current and our geographical location...being an island and all. It's not a choice, we don't choose to have it rain all the time.
elphaba2
QUOTE (Sir_Psycho_Sexy @ Nov 29 2005, 08:55 PM)
It's not a choice, we don't choose to have it rain all the time.
*


What?
Sir Psycho Sexy
QUOTE (elphaba2 @ Nov 30 2005, 02:06 AM)
QUOTE (Sir_Psycho_Sexy @ Nov 29 2005, 08:55 PM)
It's not a choice, we don't choose to have it rain all the time.
*


What?
*



I know! It comes as a shock to most people when they first find out.

Though there are theories that the weather is kept rainy by the National Trust, to create a more authentic feel to the country.
craziness
every day in my history class, i am AMAZED by the idiotic things my peers say. literally, my jaw drops. i have a friend in the class, she is from cape verde. she and i just sit there in disbelief. i mean, obviously, being from the other side of the world, she is a little bit more open-minded than the kids who grew up where i live.
for example, today we were discussing imperalism. one girl said that it was fair because anyone who works hard can do well in the world. i said i disagreed with her because not everyone in the world has equal oppurtunities. this fueled half of the class to get angry at me. they just DONT GET IT! they dont understand that where we live is NOTHING like most other places! We are within the top 2% income in the world, I'm sure, and they just dont get it. its disturbing.
so, i would say, YEA, a lot of americans ARE that stupid. maybe not so much stupid as just plain self-centered and arrogant. (but also stupid.) also, i know tons of people who would sarcastically ask any british person "do you know princess diana?" just to amuse themselves. i dont see why its funny either... but i wouldnt be surprised by it, if they were trying to make some kind of a joke.
beccareb
I don't think that we can rightfully call people stupid if it is simply that they are ignorant. If someone grows up in such an environment that they cannot imagine another's plight, then it isn't stupidity, but they are simply a product of their environment. Claiming that they are stupid is akin to calling someone from the third world stupid because they don't understand combustion motors.
bryden42
QUOTE
I don't think that we can rightfully call people stupid if it is simply that they are ignorant. If someone grows up in such an environment that they cannot imagine another's plight, then it isn't stupidity, but they are simply a product of their environment. Claiming that they are stupid is akin to calling someone from the third world stupid because they don't understand combustion motors.


It is, in fact, insularity hence the title of the thread smile.gif
Spacehappy
Had a Friend of a friend, he cycled through the middle of the USA, took him 3 months to go from coast to coast. I'd quote you his top three stupid questions, but i only remember the top two.

Dumbest questions asked:

1. What language do you speak in England?.

2. Do you have telephones in England?.

Now usually this would scare the crap out of me, as July 4th points out that you kicked English arse .....

But then i went backpacking through Europe, and realised that all the Americans i met were not *whiney* or *annoying*, in fact i enjoyed their company ....even bought one guy dinner ..which turned into a candle light dinner ...bloody Amsterdam powergrid ..... *hey stop thinking what i think your thinking*!! cool.gif
Sir Psycho Sexy
QUOTE (Spacehappy @ Dec 3 2005, 02:25 AM)
...even bought one guy dinner ..which turned into a candle light dinner
*


How romantic! I always wondered how you knew Metros used to be a gay bar. tongue.gif
bryden42
Metro's was a gay bar!?!?!?!? is this the metro's in Cardiff?
how can a bar that long, thin and...... well straight, be a gay bar?
craziness
reporting from my history class:

we read an article about nigeria, and had a socratic debate about it the next day. before we started the debate, someone asked
"where is Nigeria?"
Phyllis
Maybe they meant which area of Africa? It does have what, 53 countries?
Spacehappy
QUOTE (bryden42 @ Dec 3 2005, 08:39 PM)
Metro's was a gay bar!?!?!?!? is this the metro's in Cardiff?
how can a bar that long, thin  and...... well straight, be a gay bar?
*


Was called "The Tunnel" before it was Metro's. Basically had a "tunnel" of corrigated iron. But yes before it was the hang out of underage girls, and guys it was a gay bar. wink.gif
believe
Beyond the fact that stupid people are numerous and in every country, I think you British sorts might be overlooking one of the clear positives of this. If you meet someone that dumb, you have the oppertunity to entertain yourself. biggrin.gif

American: *stupid question here, take your pick*

Brit: Actually, cat is a british delicacy. especially with clam sauce. We're still using lamps because we haven't figured out electricity

If they eventually figure it out, it might shut them up. If they don't, you've at least amused yourself. Thats my plan for handling stupid americans I meet anyway
, so far its worked tolerably well. wink.gif
Sir Psycho Sexy
QUOTE (believe @ Dec 6 2005, 07:27 PM)
If you meet someone that dumb, you have the oppertunity to entertain yourself.  biggrin.gif
*


I have to admit, when I was asked the question

"So where are you from?" I rather faithfully answered, with only a slightly hint of sarcasm

"uhh....England".

I think I might have said Kent once, under the impression they'd actually figured out I was English and were curious where in England I was from...but the blank look I got told me otherwise.

On a slightly irrelevant note, George Bush asked Charlotte Church which state Wales is in. I really didn't think there'd be anyone she could out smart.... (an opera singer who smokes? clever!).
mooooooooooopo
QUOTE (beccareb @ Nov 30 2005, 04:26 AM)
I don't think that we can rightfully call people stupid if it is simply that they are ignorant.  If someone grows up in such an environment that they cannot imagine another's plight, then it isn't stupidity, but they are simply a product of their environment.  Claiming that they are stupid is akin to calling someone from the third world stupid because they don't understand combustion motors.
*


Ignorance makes sense, but the comparison to third world countries doesn't work.

People in the US have plenty of chance to learn about the rest of the world.
People in the third world are unlikely to have the opportunity to learn about combustion engines (as you said in your example) or a lot of other stuff, it's not really a fair comparison.
Phyllis
QUOTE (moop @ Dec 7 2005, 03:40 AM)
People in the US have plenty of chance to learn about the rest of the world.
*

I agree that yes the comparison to a third world country is blatantly unfair. We do have the resources to learn these things, whereas they do not. However, a person has to know about the resources in order to utilize them. It's only really possible to learn a lot about the rest of the world if the person takes the initiative and looks up foreign news. A lot of our news channels really do tend to be "blah blah America blah blah and oh yeah this happened in the rest of the world, let's discuss it for five seconds because Americans might have been present there when it occured."

Or another way would be if they travel to other countries and learn about them firsthand. Not likely, unless we're talking Canada or Mexico. Less than half of us have passports. Is that because we generally don't want to visit other places and learn about other people? Of course not. The cost is simply too high for most people.

Then there's the whole education system here, which is really not as good as it should be due to lots of budget cuts and a very vocal minority of parents making a fuss over certain things. Sex ed is a good example. 81% of Americans think kids should be given a COMPLETE sex ed curriculum...not abstinence only. But it's this really vocal minority that keeps getting vital things cut out of the sex ed curriculum because they think it'll give kids ideas. I was fortunate enough to have sex ed before a lot of this took place (it really started around 96/97, which is when I had sex ed but the whole thing hadn't reached my school yet), but I was still not allowed to see a real condom in health class. My teacher would literally have been fired if she showed us one. She could only show us pictures and diagrams. It's no wonder we have the highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world...even though most of us oppose the way it's being handled. I guess a lot of it is like the thing in believe's signature from Boondock Saints...."We must always fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil that we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men." In this case, the people who I personally think are clearly in the right aren't exactly indifferent...they just aren't as loud. They don't stand outside with signs and picket at every available opportunity, or generally raise a fuss with the school board. The only occasion they really do raise a fuss is when Christianity appears to invade the schools. They oppose other things, and say so...they just don't act out as aggressively as the other side for whatever reason. At the uni level our education system is quite good...but not everyone can attend that. Elementary and high school level education in this country is severely lacking in many areas...sex ed was just the most vivid example I could think of.

I'm not trying to make excuses...yes there are things that are completely and totally screwed up about this country, but it's obviously up to the people who live here to fix them. I don't have an ounce of patriotism or nationalism in my body...but I do kind of feel the need to stick up for the people, because they're the ones who have been my friends and family almost my whole life. The government is completely screwed up...but the people? Not anymore than anywhere else. A lot of them have beliefs I strongly disagree with, but that doesn't make them stupid.

All I've been saying throughout the entire thread is that people are just basically people no matter where you go. Some smart, some stupid...America is no different. And attempting to apply something on a comedy show to an entire nation of people is just silly. Try getting to know some Americans personally instead of watching something that could have been staged for all you know. Tourists are a weird example, because anyone in a foreign country is probably going to ask silly questions. The cultural differences are just way more vast than I personally expected...and it's weird to be out of your element like that. Especially for Americans, who generally aren't used to leaving the country at all.

Crazi, you're still in high school. Give them time...let them go to university and experience something outside of their own little world. They're still young and inexperienced. Some of the kids I went to high school with had never even left this town. Now they've gone to college, met people from other areas of the country, and have been taught in a setting that does not have to fear parental backlash at every turn. They have overall become much less ignorant, in my experience.

It's not like the Americans on this forum are the exception to the rule, you know. We aren't unique...people like us are quite common. And I assume you all don't find most of us ignorant...or else you're quite good at humoring us in Issues. tongue.gif
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