Listening to late night radio the other day, I heard an extract from the American "Celebrity" edition of the show "So you think you're smarter than a fifth-grader" (better known in the UK as "So you think you're smarter than a ten year old"). The celebrity in question, Miss X who had, I understand, recently come third in America's version of "The X factor", was asked the question "Of which country in Budapest the capital?". Her thought process in attempting an answer, ran as follows:
"I think they speak French there. (pause) I'm gonna say France. (pause) Is France a country?"
I may be mistaken, but I believe she is from Iowa.
The following day, again on the radio, was a discussion about Sarah Palin, discussing whether she may re-emerge as a serious future Presidential candidate. In discussing her fitness for office the following facts were revealed:
She had no idea that there was a North Korea and a South Korea.
She thought Africa was a country.
She believes gay people can (and should) be "cured".
She has inspired a country music song........
.... part of which they played and which was such a bag of sychophantic horse-shite that it would have been vomit-inducing even if it had not been presented in the country format.
The first question to arise from all of this: Is geography a subject not particularly valued in the States? I have caught some of series 4 of the Wire which is based around the education system, but I can not recollect seeing a geography class at all. Or in High School Musical.
The second question: Given that America is a super-power and given the fact of globalisation, is it acceptable that, for the purposes of choosing it's leader, it has adopted a system in which a/ Miss X has a vote and b/ Sarah Palin may be a candidate?
Would it not be preferable to adopt a new system to elect American Presidents, one in which all the citizens of the world who can demonstrate they are likely to be affected by decisions made in America had a vote so long as firstly, they can name at least three continents with no mistakes and, secondly, they think broadly the same as I do about all other matters?
The new world order system could be rolled out to all emerging superpowers (China next, I think) in order to maintain stability and good sense.
I have today written to my own Member of Parliament to ask him whether he is aware that Africa is a continent.
Otherwise for the benefit of Miss X:
Budapest is the capital of Hungary and is not to be confused with Bucharest, the capital of Romania.
France is, indeed, a country.
The capital of France is Paris.
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