Tuesday, May 02, 2006

News Flash?

Our kids are dumb. No kidding.

I've always liked geography. When I was younger, I really wanted to be on Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? I watched it religiously, and I studied maps of Africa, because when kids didn't win on the map portion at the end, it was usually because they got a map of Africa and didn't know where anything was. So, I was damn sure going to be ready when my time came.

It never did, but at least I can locate African countries on a map.

I also wanted to go to the National Geography Bee, but that was more about my bizarre obsession with meeting Alex Trebek than anything else, I think.

In high school, I realized that other kids were not very well-versed in geography, and even more disturbing to me: they didn't mind.

I remember one girl in our World Cultures class made it her goal to get 2 right on a map test of the Middle East. So, when the test was handed out, she wrote the following:

1. Iran
2. Iraq
3. Iran
4. Iraq
5. Iran
6. Iraq
7. Iran
8. Iraq

Etc., thinking this would guarantee her 2 correct answers. Not surprisingly, she actually got Iran and Iraq switched around and got a zero. The best laid plans of mice and men......

So, this isn't really a new phenomenon. Most kids hate geography. I don' t know why. Whenever I make the kids I tutor study maps and practice geography facts, anyone listening outside the door would think I was shoving bamboo shoots under their fingernails. For them, maps are a fate worse than long division.

I'm saddened, but I'm not surprised by this young generations' inability to find Iraq or Louisiana* on a map. I'll continue bribing kids with Laffy Taffies to study geography to try to remedy the situation for future generations, but there's only so much one flamingo can do.

I'm glad that I'm old enough to no longer be included in that 18-24 demographic, but just to be on the safe side, I took the MSNBC geography quiz anyway. I got one wrong, without cheating or googling. If you take the quiz too, I'll tell you which one. It was a stupid mistake on my part, and I'll be kicking myself all day, I'm sure.

I didn't get any wrong about Africa though.

Thank you Carmen Sandiego.

*A small part of me is jealous of these tykes, I must say. I can only imagine that my life would be much different now if I hadn't been able to find Louisiana on a map either.


Blogger Kate said...

I got two wrong. One I'm not so ashamed about the the other... well, let's hope I did better on my Products exam this morning.

May 02, 2006 4:21 PM  
Blogger HappyFunBall said...

I'm going to point out that it's bamboo 'shoots' instead of 'chutes' in a desperate attempt to make myself feel better about the fact that I couldn't find my way out of a paper bag with a map and a flashlight.

Carmen Sandiego is the devil.

May 02, 2006 4:25 PM  
Blogger Flamingo Jones said...

CMB, I got the first one wrong because I thought it was a trick question, sort of. So then I felt doubly stupid.

HFB, you're absolutely right. How embarrassing. THIS is why I had aspirations for the Geography Bee rather than the Spelling Bee. Well, this, and the whole Alex Trebek thing.

May 02, 2006 5:32 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I live in GA and am moving to FL in 2 weeks. I really should have gotten the first one right... I think my problem is that I've driven I-95 through to NC so much and FL takes 5 hours, whereas GA takes 1 hour. Skews with perception... Plus, it totally seems that if you rolled FL up like a snail, it would be bigger than GA. But that's probably my native-Floridian ego speaking.

May 02, 2006 8:06 PM  
Blogger Flamingo Jones said...

I thought the same way. I thought that there must be some trick and Florida is actually bigger...but no. I won't make that mistake again, though. Oh no.

May 02, 2006 9:38 PM  

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