The title of this article really should be "Why people think Americans are stupid," but I already used that title back in March.
I'm guessing by now you've probably seen the video of Miss South Carolina Teen USA Lauren Caitlin Upton blathering inanely about maps last weekend. If not, it's below, for your endless amusement.
Judging from her high school background, you'd think besides having Barbie Doll good looks she's something of a brain. She graduated high school with a 3.5 (out of 4.0) grade point average. Not bad. Pretty and supposedly "smart." But then, our educational system ain't what it used to be.
Of course, it wasn't even what it used to be when I was in high school. I graduated in the top three percent of my class of over 700 students, with a GPA of 3.8. But I was only allowed to be proud of being a "genius" for a very short time, because when I went off to college three months later, I found out I was dumb as an ox. I had to spend the first two quarters taking remedial EVERYTHING except English. Like I said, our public high schools aren't the best.
But I digress.
I'm not making fun of her — the world has already done enough of that. And I believe her when she told interviewers later that she was nervous and didn't properly hear the question. [ahem]
I'm more amused at how people responded to her gaffe. YouTube and elsewhere is ripe with hilarious (as if it could get any funnier) edited versions of her answer to why one-fifth of Americans can't find the USA on a map.
One new website has really cracked me up, though the content itself isn't necessarily what's funny. Taking their cue from Miss Upton's comment that too many Americans don't actually have maps, the folks at MapsForUs.org have answered the call by trying to collect maps "for the children" of America, South Africa, and the Iraq.
I contributed by sending them the only map I had on my hard drive, the one to Halcyon Lodge in Cleveland where the surrounding streets look like a Masonic square and compasses. MapsForUs.org has already posted it.
You can send your favorite maps — of anything — to them at firstname.lastname@example.org. The world, or at least the children of America, South Africa and the Iraq, will be smarter for your generosity.
Watch it here or on YouTube.
Image: The Baker States, from mapsforus.org
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