In Defense of Hot Americans Botching Geography Questions on Television
Travel Blog • Eva Holland • 12.21.07 | 12:29 PM ET
Well, sort of. I’m not going to say that Miss Teen South Carolina’s near-incoherent ramble about education, maps, and “the Iraq” has been misunderstood, or that Kellie Pickler was actually referring to the recent expansion of the Schengen zone when she wondered whether Europe was a country. And I’m certainly not going to claim that I didn’t laugh out loud when I first saw those videos. But something about the vicious glee and satisfaction people around the world have gotten out of the two clips makes me want to go to bat for my fellow blondes in distress.
These two gals could stand to brush up on their geography, clearly. But couldn’t we all? A lot of outsiders have taken this as proof of the widespread ignorance of the good people of America. But how many of the Europeans snickering about Miss Teen South Carolina can even find South Carolina on a map? Or “the Iraq” for that matter? And how many of my fellow Canadians, feeling smug and superior while watching Kellie Pickler flounder around, can name all 13 provincial and territorial capitals in their own country?
My point is, there’s a little Kellie Pickler in all of us. I normally ace the geography section at pub quiz nights, but there are parts of the world that I just pray don’t come up: South America, for one, and the Balkans, West Africa, the South Pacific… So next time you see a hot American botching a geography question on television, by all means have a good laugh. But then use it as motivation to do some studying-up yourself—after all, we could all use a little more quality time with our atlases.