Can we laugh a little? I just read this hilarious story from the NY Times about the geographically challenged among us. The article actually discusses an even more pernicious problem–American anti-intellectualism. But let’s agree to have a laugh at our foibles:
Kellie Pickler, the adorable platinum blonde from “American Idol,” appear[ed] on the Fox game show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” during celebrity week. Selected from a third-grade geography curriculum, the $25,000 question asked: “Budapest is the capital of what European country?”
Ms. Pickler threw up both hands and looked at the large blackboard perplexed. “I thought Europe was a country,” she said. Playing it safe, she chose to copy the answer offered by one of the genuine fifth graders: Hungary. “Hungry?” she said, eyes widening in disbelief. “That’s a country? I’ve heard of Turkey. But Hungry? I’ve never heard of it.”
What is, of course, especially sad about this is that almost no Americans would actually see anything wrong with knowing next to nothing about the world outside their living room window. And if we know next to nothing about what is outside ourselves can we know anything at all about what is within ourselves–own heart and mind?
The video is instructive in lots of ways and also has some amazingly offensive banter directed at Clarkson and women in general (though Clarkson isn’t an exemplary representative of her gender by a long shot) by the game show host.