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American and British ignorance of the world?

Guest touchofsable

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Now let me state clearly before I post this that I am in no way shape or form anti American. In fact; the same observation can be levelled at the UK.


BUT some of you seem surprised that the rest of the world can be stroppy about the US and UK.

This may give you an indication of why.




Now maybe British peopl are just as bad. I had to struggle to answer this that follows. I think we in the English speaking world are swamping and ignoring indigenous cultures with popular global culture which is anglo american and often at our own loss.


1. Name a tv programme

2. Two movies

3. Five tv or movie celebs

4. Name three pieces of music or bands/singers

5. Name a dish of cuisine

6. Name four cities , four towns and four villages

7. Write four language expressions commonly associated with thse nations

8. Name two sports associated with these nations

9. Name ten animals indigenous to these nations

10. Name five geopgraphical features...rivers, mountain ranges etc for each

11. Five politicians from those nations

12. Name a tradition associated with these nations

13. Name five products or firms associated

14. Name three natural resources

15. name an author associated

16. Six historical figures or events associated with that nation


There were four others but I can't remember them. I am not dure of the numbers but they were around that.



Now I struggled to do this...but naturally found it easy with the United States; despite the fact that I have never been there; and been to several of the other countries many times. Naturally do not do the quiz with your own nation.


Here are the countries:




Any Arab country of your choice

Any former Russian state of your choice

Any south east asian country of your choice




The UK

The United States


Of course everyone can answer the question about the US whatever country they live in easily. UK and Americans perform very badly....yet Germans and Ethiopians for example are able to answer all the questions about every country with far more ease.


Now for example when I say it is us losing out I have just been googling some Russian and German female celebs and believe me we are losing out with our special interest here by not knowing about them!

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Q: How many countries have a larger population than the USA?

A: Three.


(Population = over 300 million.)


Q: How many countries have larger land area?

A: Four.


(Land area = 3.5 million sq. miles.)


Including Hawaii, the distance from one end of the USA to the other is over 5,000 miles.


There are NO other countries as large as the US which have a population that speaks one dominant language, has one dominant religion and is as cultrually homogenous.


This makes it easy to think that all Americans are the same. But it is just as easy to forget about the fact that places in the US are just as cultrually diverse as places like India, China and Siberia/Russia.


In a country this large, you are bound to find people who don't know geography and geopolitics. But, in no other country will you find such a population that lives in such a tightly-knit group as the USA.


That makes it hard to understand that, just like any place in the world, there are some REALLY DUMB people!


On the other side of the coin, maybe that means we should be doing a better job of educating our population. However, you must also ask yourself what is the literacy rate of places like China and Siberia and why the people in those areas aren't better educated too.

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You miss my point worker; as Americans nearly always do.


It is not about education. It is about cultural homogenousness produced by transported around the world by global corporations.

America does NOT take foreign movies. Now sadly neither does the UK. But it is impossible in Siberia or Saudi Arabia to escape US tv shows., drinks or products....therfor epople in Siberia ARE much mor informd about the US and UK (they know U2, The Beatles, Coke and The Simpsons) And that isn't because they are good; it is because they are lowest common denominator.


We find it incredible in the UK that the US put subtitles on the movie "Trainspotting" which had scottish accents, or that you remade (appallingly) Nikita.


We do the same now. Three or four times a week we used to have foreign movies on tv. Now they are completely gone; deemed not lowest common denominator enough.


It is NOT just the dumb people it is all of us.


When answering the Norway questions I was able to give to historical events figures...Amundssen and the south pole and the battle of Stamford Bridge. I only knew these because they were related to the UK. Of course I am a bit mor informd now but I still have only seen one Norwegian movie and only know Aha musically.


Now Earendil is Norwegian and he should rightly be appaled at my ignorance of his nation. Yet significantly he will know far more about Scotland or Wales for example with similar polpulations.


Okay it may be an accident of English as a dominant language but then it is no wonder some nations get their backs up and I do not blame them.


Yes it is partly bad education too; but the way in which companies market to lowest common denominator and the media follow suit is the principle reason as far as I can see.


If I want to know what is going on in the world I watch al jazeera in english as it is far more informative and unbiased; and it doesn't assume I am too thick to have complex issues explained to me.


Just on a very practical level in the den look at the kind of thing we are missing out on just bcause we don't know enough about Germany and Austria:


verona feldbsch:




christina lugner:



Anja Kruse:




Now remembering that fabulous contribution by Introlafa a few weeks ago, and hinduds with the polish stuff I would also love to see some more input from other nations. Not just on fur wearing ladies from their countries but also maybe some information re cinema culture world affairs from a more internatioal perspective in the pub too.

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The questions of is mine bigger than yours aside, I think ToS has an excellent point.


Only a select group of folks I know have such knowledge here.


I'm glad you got my point over Disraeli and his buddies ToS


Even with Dish Sattelite TV and all the internet capabilities I'm agast at how ignorant most americans are and I'm sure the Brits aren't a whole lot better.


I do listen to Canadian and BBC a lot however and they are better informed though still seriously lacking.


I get 'news updates' from my Russian friend often to stay aberast there. Not complete by any measure but ...







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Yes it the simplicity of statement that can lead to gross error and political slant.


For example.

A report about 15 British sailors being taken at gunpoint by Iranian trops in Iraqui waters on BBC radio the other day ended up shortened after initial broadcast and stated the Iranian ambassador had been summoned to Downing Street and in light of Iran's nuclear weapons things were tense.




Was this spin intended or accidental due to lean expression for the plebs?


I don't know but immediately checked other tv reports from France and al jazeera when I got home. Of course they said the same BUT without the dreadful inference. They also reported that british troops HAD been seized before IN Iranian territory on SEVERAL occassions and that the people seized were in fact marines who had boarded and Iranian boat armed to the teeth themselves; rather than some sailors having a little patrol minding their own business.


Now I have some balance.

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