It’s about time Jesus & Mo got their just reward »« Why I am an atheist – Chad Brown

Comments

  1. says

    You could argue that our Revolutionary War was in fact a world war (England, “USA,” France, Spain, and the Netherlands), hence “three” could be the answer–although I seriously doubt the guy saying “three” was thinking on those lines. But then, neither were the makers of the film thinking that “world wars” might include more than just the two named as such.

    Not exactly a scientific study, that. No doubt they got a good many correct answers, but threw them out.

    Glen Davidson

  2. jesus says

    Too unreal… Maybe I lead a sheltered life, but I have never met anyone so dumb. Where did they find these people? Salt Lake City?

  3. says

    I’m going to side with Glen, I’d have to imagine they showed the worst answers they got.

    …and yet that only makes me feel slightly better.

    Only slightly.

  4. shouldbeworking says

    Ann Coulter from Fakes News thought Canada sent troops to Vietnam and didn’t know we sent troops to Afghanistan.

  5. says

    As funny and as sad as these people are, I was have mixed feelings about these videos. First how many other interviewees did they trash because they got the right answers? Also it only test a certain aspect of knowledge. Who knows, the guy who did know what religion buddhist monks are maybe could rebuild a transmission?

    Sasquatch Jesus

  6. slc1 says

    Actually, the Napoleonic Wars might be considered a world war as it included France, Spain, Prussia, Austria, Portugal, Italy, Russia, and later the US and Canada.

  7. shouldbeworking says

    French activity in India and the British takeover in the Cape of Good Hope from the Dutch…

  8. says

    Yes, the film is likely selective for wrong answers or for no answers at all.

    But on a broader perspective, it’s appalling that adults cannot locate Iran on a world map, and place France in the South Pacific. It’s appalling that any American adult thinks that three American states comprise the “axis of evil.” Another respondent was unsure if the US was engaged in the Vietnam War, let alone knowing who “won;” moreover, that struggle was a watershed period in recent American history and affected much of our present public policy. “Korea” is “nuclear” – does the respondent even know that there are two Koreas, North and South, and that we have vastly different relations with each one, and why?

    Most important: It’s this sort of ignorance that facilitates political candidates’ lies, false promises, and dangerous rhetoric – who’s going to call them on their lies? People who think that Kofi Annan is a type of coffee beverage?

  9. dianne says

    It’s appalling that any American adult thinks that three American states comprise the “axis of evil.”

    I’m at work and can’t get video, but now I’m curious. Which 3 states were the axis of evil? Massachusetts, New York, and California? Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi? Oklahoma, Arizona and Utah? So many possibilities…

  10. Denephew Ogvorbis, OM says

    A few years ago, a local weatherman came to our park for a ‘stump the schmuck on camera’ session regarding the summer solstice. He gave up because both visitors and staff would only give him the right answer. I saw the segment that night — he found those without the knowledge at the local mall. Didn’t use one of the park people’s responses. Same shit.

  11. scottrobson says

    So this is from a comedy program from Australia. I went to university with the guys who produce it. I can assure you they would filter a lot of what they recorded and show only the dumbest of answers. It is their MO. Honesty is not. I would not call this “journalism” and it is not even in the same universe as a scientific study. Also, having interacted with these guys personally in the early to mid nineties, I can tell you most of them, at that time, were extremely anti-science and did not understand science at all, especially if it stood in the way of their ideology.

    Yeah its kind of funny to see people look so dumb… but you know, you can hit any street in any country and get this sort of thing. It’s not really any more entertaining than watching some father get hit in the balls by his son on America’s Funniest Home Videos. It’s pretty boring really. I’m actually astonished that PZ would put it up as ‘evidence’ of poor education in the US. This is a trashy post.

  12. says

    dianne @ #10: “Which 3 states were the axis of evil?”

    According to the respondent: California, New York, and Florida.

    ————

    I agree that this film is a gross exaggeration, but the ignorance of history, science, and geography in the general U.S. population is significant.

  13. Gregory Greenwood says

    As other commenters have noted, the makers of the video obviously took only the worst available answers (and non-answers) for comic effect, and then allowed the lazier and less curious of their viewers to assume that such responses are typical of the average level of education across the USA. We often see this type of comedy in the UK – there are always those who will take cheap shots at the US to get even cheaper laughs. Some people seem to find it endlessly funny, but I have never understood why. I see so much wilfull, crass and arrogant ignorance on my own national doorstep that I am not looking to point fingers at anyone else.

  14. chgoliz says

    It’s also clear when they show close-ups of the map that they have deliberately labeled the countries with incorrect names. People aren’t sure where a particular country is so they start searching the map, and conveniently find Australia sitting there in the open with a large font proclaiming that it is North and South Korea (in one instance) or Iran (in another).

    There are a lot of stupid people in this country…there’s no need to take sneaky shortcuts like this.

  15. says

    Americans might seem like illiterate, dumbfounded, media-addled, shit-for-branes, trained monkey sit up and beg for treats, porn addicted dead ends. But they would never fall for another war in the Middle East to spread democracy in a not for oil place like Iran.

  16. Matt Penfold says

    It’s also clear when they show close-ups of the map that they have deliberately labeled the countries with incorrect names. People aren’t sure where a particular country is so they start searching the map, and conveniently find Australia sitting there in the open with a large font proclaiming that it is North and South Korea (in one instance) or Iran (in another).

    None the countries people were asked to identify can be considered obscure in anyway. It is not as though they were one of the former republics of the USSR, especially ones ending in ‘stan. Iran and North Korea have been in the news a lot. They were in the news a lot 2 years ago as well. There is no excuse for not knowing where they are.

  17. carlie says

    Also it only test a certain aspect of knowledge.

    LIKE WHAT COUNTRY THEY LIVE IN.

    As for the maps, check out this story on maps and geography (courtesy of pixelfish). It mentions how the ubiquity of GPS hasn’t helped our geography much, because now people know only small chunks of maps rather than the big picture.

  18. chgoliz says

    “There is no excuse for not knowing where they are.”

    My point exactly. The show didn’t need to trick them to get them to show their ignorance.

  19. dianne says

    According to the respondent: California, New York, and Florida.

    Florida? Huh? California and NY I get*, but Florida? Did the respondent mistake it for N Korea (well, Korea) since both are peninsulas of sorts?

    *Looking at the world from the “conservative” point of view.

  20. says

    Fuck all those countries, who cares what their names are? Shut the fuck up, and get off the natural resources or we’ll make your country look like we did to West Virginia only with less people so shut the fuck up and die, bitches.

    God Bless America

  21. otranreg says

    @1 Glen Davidson

    There is a whole bunch of ‘world wars’, then: apart from the aforementioned Napoleonic Wars (plural, and therefore not entirely eligible), Seven Years’ Was, Thirty Years’ War, War of the Spanish Succession, War of the Austrian Succession, War of the League of Cambrai, Great Northern War, Crimean War just come to mind.

  22. Matt Penfold says

    My point exactly. The show didn’t need to trick them to get them to show their ignorance.

    Do you seriously think they would have found them if they had been correctly labelled ? Well, if they checked every label on the map they would eventually have found them, but surely they should have been able to point directly at the country. If they had done that, and then shown surprise, because the country was mis-labelled you would have a point.

  23. says

    It’s also clear when they show close-ups of the map that they have deliberately labeled the countries with incorrect names. People aren’t sure where a particular country is so they start searching the map, and conveniently find Australia sitting there in the open with a large font proclaiming that it is North and South Korea (in one instance) or Iran (in another).

    And… one would hope that if Australia were labeled “Iran” then the respondent might say, “Hey, that’s Australia! Iran is here, in the Middle East.”

  24. helenaconstantine says

    Actually, Saudi Arabia is the correct answer to which country we ought to invade next in the war on terror.

  25. coldthinker says

    Yes, this is taken from a comedy show, it’s not a proper poll and much less a scientific study. And it is a fact that you can find such idiotic answers anywhere and of course they threw out the correct answers for a cheap comic effect.

    But still, in any other developed country, would you find street people so eagerly naming countries they want their army to invade? That’s what’s outrageous about this, not just ignorance. It implies that war is a pretty light thing for some Americans to digest. And therefore, a pretty easy idea for American politicians to sell their voters.

  26. dianne says

    But the ‘freedom fries’ thing—that really happened, right?

    It happened. If it does anything for your faith in humanity, most US residents mocked it mercilessly as well. Also, I think at least one the congresscritters who came up with the “freedom fries” thing eventually became an opponent of the Iraq war, suggesting that US-Americans are dumb but teachable.

  27. consciousness razor says

    But still, in any other developed country, would you find street people so eagerly naming countries they want their army to invade?

    I don’t know, would you?

    That’s what’s outrageous about this, not just ignorance.

    Oh, you already know the answer. Right.

  28. jollywahlstrom says

    Watch the Republican debates and you will see much more stupid than that and more dangerous too.

  29. Matt Penfold says

    When that Freedom Fries business came about, because of the French opposition to the invasion of Iraq, I asked some people who were virulent in their condemnation of France if they thought the US should return the Statue of Liberty. One was so ignorant he was not aware of the connection between the Statue and France. The others just stayed quiet.

  30. dianne says

    But still, in any other developed country, would you find street people so eagerly naming countries they want their army to invade?

    Well, non-US-Americans on the Pharyngula “street”, what about it? Which country would you like to see your country invade? “Are you NUTS? Why would I want my country to start an aggressive war?” is, of course, an entirely acceptable option.

  31. sambarge says

    Um… Wait a minute. Are you people suggesting that the makers of the video edited the results to only show the hilariously wrong ones?! Do you mean to tell me that not all Americans don’t realize their country’s name starts with U, that the UK doesn’t use “Queen Elizabeth money” or that Kofi Annan is not a caffeinated beverage?!

    Well, I for one am shocked and appalled. SHOCKED. APPALLED. Did they think we would laugh at ignorance of basic knowledge of the world among the the very citizens who will elect the government that fucking invades us? Did they think we wouldn’t recognize that the same experiment in any country would result in some incorrect answers, even though those countries lack the military and economic might of the world’s only (although diminishing) super-power?

    Fuck it. Let’s invade Australia. Or New Zealand. Wherever these fuckers are from.

  32. heavymetalyogi says

    This reminds me of the “debates” that Ray Comfort has about evolution, and it’s not just the Australian accent. Cherry picking for people who are ignorant on the subject at hand is a trick that has been done to death. It’s such a hackneyed bit that Jay Leno has been doing it for what seems like forever (I’m sure it only seems like forever). I think it is overused to pander to the audience to make them feel smart.

    I ask myself who watches the ignorance glorifying “reality television” that is thrust upon us, and I need to realize the sad reality that there are so many who don’t want to know what is happening in the world around them. It’s sad, but it’s probably easier to create a segment like this than I imagine it to be.

  33. itkovian says

    Obviously there is a selection going on here, showing only the dumbest answers… however that does not negate the fact that there ARE people out there who are that ignorant.

    I mean, ok, the trick with the map is silly, and I can accept some people not caring about geography… but not knowing about the Vietnam War? Not knowing a country that starts with “U”?

    The USA is a Republic where the populace elects representatives… and believe me, people that dumb DO get representatives elected. Congress is particularly rampant with them (in both parties, in all fairness), as the demographics of ignorance dovetail quite well with district distribution (basically, if you have a district of rednecks, you’re going to get a redneck representative).

    Of course, the solution to this problem is education… but right now we have AT LEAST one major national party devoted to crippling proper education… AND a state (Texas) that allows deluded activist to have undue influence over their academic program, which then has disproportionate influence on the nation’s textbooks.

    So… yeah, while this is obviously a joke and biased, it remains quite distressing.

    Itkovian

  34. chigau (同じ) says

    The Canadian TV comedy news show This Hour has 22 Minutes used to have a segment called Talking to Americans.
    They did this all the time.
    They stopped after 9/11.

  35. says

    OK, perhaps this carries more weight:

    The info is quoted directly from the report of a survey of American adults between the ages of 18 and 24, done by Roper/National Geographic in 2006
    http://www.nationalgeographic.com/roper2006/pdf/FINALReport2006GeogLitsurvey.pdf

    [these questions reflect 2006 events and issues]

    Six in ten (63%) cannot find Iraq or Saudi Arabia on a map of the Middle East, while three-quarters (75%) cannot find Iran or Israel. In fact, 44% cannot find even one of these four countries.

    Nine in ten (88%) cannot find Afghanistan on a map of Asia.

    Sizeable percentages do not know that Sudan and Rwanda are in Africa (54% and 40% answer incorrectly, respectively). In fact, 20% place Sudan in Asia and 10% put it in Europe.

    Seven in ten (70%) cannot find North Korea on a map, and two-thirds (63%) do not know its border with South Korea is the most heavily fortified in the world.

    Three-quarters (75%) of young men and women do not know that a majority of Indonesia’s population is Muslim (making it the largest Muslim country in the world), despite the prominence of this religion in global news today.

    Three-quarters (74%) believe English is the most commonly spoken native language in the world, rather than Mandarin Chinese.

    Half or fewer of young men and women 18-24 can identify the states of New York or Ohio on a map (50% and 43%, respectively).

    Two-thirds (67%) can find Louisiana on a U.S. map and half (52%) can find Mississippi, leaving a third or more who cannot find these states, in spite of months of intensive media coverage of the 2005 hurricanes and their aftermath.

  36. anteprepro says

    I agree that this film is a gross exaggeration, but the ignorance of history, science, and geography in the general U.S. population is significant.

    Not to mention current events (though, admittedly, many of those questions are obscure and, oddly, Republicans were better at responding correctly). Also, to a degree, Americans are rather ignorant on average even of religion (which, I feel, is a survey that is much more easy to answer. Actually, in the full list of questions here , they give some questions that have to do with general questions before the main questions. 60% know the vice president, know lasers aren’t sound waves, know antibiotics don’t work on viruses, know that The New Deal was called The New Deal. The main survey begins on page 68, and I feel the only actual ones that might be hard are 44, 45, maybe the one about Joseph Smith [name is forgettable], definitely Maimonides, using the Bible as literature, the religion of Indonesia, 62, and 63. Which leaves 24 of 32 questions that are very easy, yet the average score was 8 less than that. It’s amazing how many people can’t answer these simple questions about religion in a society that is so religious.)

    People aren’t sure where a particular country is so they start searching the map, and conveniently find Australia sitting there in the open with a large font proclaiming that it is North and South Korea (in one instance) or Iran (in another).

    You did note that the “country” that they labeled was always Australia, right? They didn’t so much “trick” them as give them twice the number of opportunities to realize their errors: They either actually know where the country is supposed to be on the map (e.g. Middle East, Asia, etc.), or at very least know that the place labeled “North Korea/Iran/Iraq/Whatever” is actually Australia. Those who were tricked did double duty of not knowing where their Country to Attack Next was supposed to be, and not knowing what one of the seven continents looks like.

  37. efp says

    I used to wonder where all the geocentrists (supposedly 40% of the population) were. Then I moved to Indiana.

  38. Francisco Bacopa says

    Mostly shot in Venice Beach. These people were high on drugs. Drugs, I tell you!

    Thanks. I recognized San Antonio, New York, and DC. Didn’t know what the fourth location was, but knew it was a beach community because of the low levee which looked like an artificially boosted dune line. The DC interviews were being done very near the White House, BTW.

  39. colleentanner says

    Even if the responses were filtered…what on earth is the problem here?! I’ve been defending the American education system diligently, but apparently not for good reason. But is our education system to blame? Or is this ignorance the result of sheer stupidity? I don’t know, but I kind of feel embarrassed to call myself an American after watching this….

  40. says

    I’ve been to Florida. If it doesn’t constitute an axis of evil, I don’t know what does. Epcot is the mouth of hell. Tallahassee is the backwater inbred part of Hell.

  41. petzl20 says

    C’mon. You can do this in any country, on any college campus. You can even find people like this in a bookstore, library, or graduate dorm, let alone Venice Beach. All you have to do is reject all the acceptable people, and accept all the rejects. (And Howard Stern did this way before Jay Leno’s Jaywalking ripped him off.)

    That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if average Americans were statistically more uninformed than their European counterparts. And the level of ignorance in these Man/Woman on the Street interviews is always shocking and appalling.

    My favorite was the guy asked about who first walked on the moon:
    “Well I gotta tell you. Some people don’t even believe that happened. They believe it was reincarnated in Arizona somewhere.” :double facepalm:

  42. Gregory Greenwood says

    Since this is a comedy show we are talking about, rather than any attempt at serious journalism, I suppose it is also possible that not all the resposes were genuine. They could have paid some people off to make some of the more egregiously stupid statements.

    That said, I have long since learned that ‘teh all pervasive stoopid’ is a powerful force that you underestimate at your peril…

    My favorite was the guy asked about who first walked on the moon:
    “Well I gotta tell you. Some people don’t even believe that happened. They believe it was reincarnated in Arizona somewhere.”

    Isn’t it sad when morons can’t even engage in a delusional conspiracy theory properly? It is like hearing someone claim that government trained haddock flew the planes into the Twin Towers.

  43. magistramarla says

    I realize that this was an exaggerated comedy show, but I laughed through it because I recognized the kinds of answers that I saw so often while teaching high school (in Texas, of all places).

    I taught Latin, and no, my classes were not filled with only the top students. The counselors would throw any sort of kid into my classes.

    Every year, as I began the class explaining the Latin language and where it had been spoken, I always had at least one kid who would complain loudly, “Hey, ain’t this class Latin American studies? I thought we was gonna be studyin’ places that speak Spanish!”

    The ignorance is definitely out there. After teaching in a high school for several years, I’m very cynical about it.

  44. coldthinker says

    consciousness razor,

    Do you think 99% of the people they asked about the next US invasion said “Hell no, starting a war? Invading another country? Are you crazy?”. And then they just cherry picked the few aggressively insane ones out of hundreds of decent answers?

    My point was that in most non-third world countries, it would be very hard to find people on the street to accept the premise of the question. It would be like asking “Who’s the person you’d like to kill next? Can you show us a picture of this person?”. It would take days to find this many happy invaders, probably too long for a cheap comedy bit.

  45. anchor says

    There’s no question the schools leave much to be desired, but the primary “education system” in the United States (and in the Western World’s “Global Community” for that matter) is delivered by commercial television. And it isn’t just the inane content, although that is truly hideous in its own right. There is nothing that deadens the mind more effectively than “entertainment”. Its an addiction. The constant craving for diversion is not only a waste of precious time but a serious impediment to initiative and an ethic of personal acheivement, not to mention responsibility. Its a mechanism turning the brain into a vestigial lump of jelly that is marginally competent to respond to corporate-commercial and poiltico-religious mass-mental engineering. People are conditioned to think that thinking is not only unnecessary but a pain in the ass. Why should they bother? Its too hard and its no fun. Thinking isn’t their responsibility as long as it is being taken care of by somebody else. Welcome to the consumer society – composed of a public that can boast the minimal competence to keep the wealthy and powerful secure. Meanwhile those powerful corporate and religious political engineers cack up dismal selections of political candidates for the idiot body politic to choose from, have them point radially in every available direction to identify where the problems of society lurk, to get the public all riled and make them think they have an option to supply an input to help fix what’s broke, and the illusion of democratic freedom and liberty merrily dances on.

  46. consciousness razor says

    Do you think 99% of the people they asked about the next US invasion said “Hell no, starting a war? Invading another country? Are you crazy?”.

    Did I claim anything about 99% of any group of people? Or was it you who was willing to generalize about Americans as compared to most people in developed countries?

    My point was that in most non-third world countries, it would be very hard to find people on the street to accept the premise of the question. It would be like asking “Who’s the person you’d like to kill next? Can you show us a picture of this person?”. It would take days to find this many happy invaders, probably too long for a cheap comedy bit.

    Days, eh? I guess that’s supposed to be a long time. I personally don’t think it’s too comforting that, after some unspecified number of days, you would in fact find quite a few people in other developed countries who are violent, xenophobic, willfully ignorant, bigoted, and so on.

    Quite recently on the endless thread, there was a question whether people would kill if they could get away with it (by writing a person’s name on a magical “Death Note”). Many implied they would, distressing as that is to hear from reasonable people like these Pharyngulites. Granted, this was just a hypothetical and (if I’m not mistaken) most who answered in the affirmative are from the U.S., but the consensus seemed to be that violent emotions and the temptation to kill is widespread if not in everyone. But if you’re willing to derive any kind of conclusion from a bullshit, obviously-biased man-on-the-street comedy routine, then I don’t know why you wouldn’t take what they said just as seriously.

  47. says

    The “Countries that begin with ‘U'” thing is technically not accurate. The Articles of Confederation (and other early American documents) refer to the country as “The United States of America”–that is, with the “The” as apparently part of the name. The First article of the Articles reads:

    Article I. The Stile of this Confederacy shall be “The United States of America.”

    (Quote marks in the original.) So if one includes the “The” as part of the name, one could argue that “T” is the first letter in the name of the country. Although I’m not sure if the government has an official position on whether the “The” is part of the official name or not.

  48. littlejohn says

    Sorry folks, but Canada did, in fact, send troops to Vietnam. It was a small group of peacekeepers in 1973. You can Google it. Now who’s stupid? I mean, besides me (I can see that coming).

  49. daniellavine says

    First of all, it’s hilarious how many people seem to think it’s necessary to point out that the comedians in question just collected the clips of the dumbest people. Duh. Yes, that’s how this joke works. Brilliant bit of deduction there.

    Second of all, it’s hilarious how many people are trying to defend American cosmopolitanism. Can we just be honest? Even living in an east coast tech-oriented city with some of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country I’m constantly surprised at how ignorant people are of current events and about the rest of the world. And I try to avoid such people. It’s impossible because they’re everywhere and they vote.

    Even if the responses were filtered…what on earth is the problem here?! I’ve been defending the American education system diligently, but apparently not for good reason. But is our education system to blame? Or is this ignorance the result of sheer stupidity? I don’t know, but I kind of feel embarrassed to call myself an American after watching this….

    It’s not the “education system”, or at least not only. Fact is you can’t force kids to learn anything if they’re not engaged. Instruction is a binary relation, it doesn’t work if the kids aren’t involved. And we have a poisonous culture that tells kids that knowing stuff and being curious and learning stuff are all bad things that only dorks do and that cool people abuse drugs and women and drive like assholes. The anti-intellectualism of political conservatives feeds into this as well.

  50. stonyground says

    In the UK we have a satirical magazine called ‘Private Eye’ which has a regular feature called ‘Dumb Briain’ which contains daft answers that quiz contestants have given on TV and radio. I haven’t bought it for a while, I had a quick search of the house to see if I could find a copy so that I could quote some examples but I couldn’t find one. It is a little unfair because the contestants may be nervous and are sometimes competing against the clock. History, geography and science subjects seem to be many people’s weak spot.

    Having mentioned that, and taking into account that those featured in this clip are obviously cherry picked, that is some industrial strength idiocy that you have there. Not knowing that Buddhist monks are Buddhists for instance. Not knowing that Kentucky Fried Chicken originated in Kentucky. Thinking that the first man on the moon might have been Russian, presumably confusing him with the first man in space. So much trouble in the Middle East could have been avoided had everyone realised that Isreal was populated by Muslims.

  51. jblilie says

    It’s not the “education system”, or at least not only. Fact is you can’t force kids to learn anything if they’re not engaged. Instruction is a binary relation, it doesn’t work if the kids aren’t involved. And we have a poisonous culture that tells kids that knowing stuff and being curious and learning stuff are all bad things that only dorks do and that cool people abuse drugs and women and drive like assholes. The anti-intellectualism of political conservatives feeds into this as well.

    Bullseye.

    Just this morning I heard on the local “news” the moron-banter that takes up most of the broadcast time these days: “Yeah, I was terrible in science, it was so boring” from nominally educated people in public positions.

    The teacher cannot make the kids engage and learn. It’s particularly hard when the parents: Believe Johnny when he lies about school and his homework, etc., never show up for anything school related in cluding conferences, don’t feed Johnny, don’t put him to bed, don’t clothe him or bathe him, don’t do any work with him at home on school work, don’t socialize him, have QTY=0 books in the home, spend all night getting high, etc. (These are all real conditions, personally witnessed.)

    My wife is a teacher in an urban district and it’s insane how bad many parents are (many are great too; dog bites man …) and how they refuse to take any responsibility for their kids’ work, attendance, or behavior.

    One exemplary gem from a middle class mom: “Do you know why my daughter isn’t doing her homework?”

    [Why no, ma’am, I DON’T LIVE IN YOUR (effing) HOME!]

  52. shouldbeworking says

    Yeah we sent peacekeepers, but batshit Coulter said our troops were engaged in combat operations along side of US troops. I can’t find the link right now, but when I do, I’ll post it. I realize that to some Americans the Canadian accent sounds very much like the Australian accent.

  53. chigau (同じ) says

    Some Canadian individuals joined the USAian armed forces in order to fight in Vietnam.
    Is that what she meant?

  54. scottrobson says

    First of all, it’s hilarious how many people seem to think it’s necessary to point out that the comedians in question just collected the clips of the dumbest people. Duh. Yes, that’s how this joke works. Brilliant bit of deduction there.

    Well the post is titled “Assessing the American education system” followed by the video. Those of us who pointed out the selectivity of the clips did so to challenge the idea that this video has anything to do with assessing the American education system. Fatuous jokes don’t prove any point. That’s what makes this post trashy. What’s next? Shall we let the Kardashian’s reality show indicate what fourth generation Armenian’s feel about genocide in Turkey?

    There are studies – I believe – that do show the poor standards of education amongst US citizens when compared to other countries. Lets quote them when ‘assessing the American education system’ shall we? When I want to have a giggle, I will watch the Chasers… but I will do so knowing that they themselves probably don’t know or care about the difference between their ‘poll’ and a properly conducted piece of research.

  55. daniellavine says

    @scottrobson:

    Deep breaths, buddy.

    Fatuous jokes don’t prove any point.

    And taking fatuous jokes way too seriously is somehow better?

  56. alektorophile says

    While European myself, my wife’s family is from the Western US (AZ, CO, WY, and MT), and I keep a list of all the silly questions I have been asked over the years by people I meet when visiting friends and family out there. My favorites are: “Do you have French fries in Europe?”, “Do you have Indian reservations in Europe?”, and “Do you have television in Europe?”. I am not joking…

    I have spent ten years of my life in the US, and, take my word for it, ignorance of the world is rather more widespread on your side of the pond. But then, my wife’s family is too religious for their own good, and ignorance and religiosity often seem to go hand in hand.

  57. scottrobson says

    And taking fatuous jokes way too seriously is somehow better?

    Taking fatuous jokes as proof of something is at the bottom. I’ve never taken anything the Chasers have done very seriously… until their antics are used to ‘prove’ a point.

    No need for me to take deep breathes here. Just defending my point.

  58. daniellavine says

    Taking fatuous jokes as proof of something is at the bottom

    Yeah, but no one is actually doing that.

  59. dcg1 says

    If the comments I read regarding “Elevator-gate”, were posted by Americans, then one would have to say that the Claster’s video appears to be a fair representation?.

  60. says

    changeable moniker @70:

    To be fair, some of France is in the South Pacific. ;)

    Yes, I’m sure that the respondent had French Polynesia in mind. ;-)

  61. tgriehl says

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONCrE4IoSsY&feature=iv&src_vid=w_mkwB9ayK4&annotation_id=annotation_396862

    While must say the protester man looked a little addled and rattled, and for what reason we don’t know, the triangle question was particularly sad, given that the German word for triangle is “Dreieck,” literally “three-corner.” How many sides are on a three corner? Lack of reasoning there…

    I went to school in New York, with a woman who grew up in New York, had never visited outside the state, and now, like me, was in school in New York. She couldn’t even give the region(NE, SE, West, NW, Midwest etc) NY was in, much less which amorphous blob was her home state. Sad.

    Then again, she once told me that if Man did not exist, then the rocks, the birds, and the trees would proclaim God’s glory, but to be fair, I’m not sure if there’s a connection…

    Fuck the whales. They’re not allowed to proclaim God’s glory!

  62. stonyground says

    @#66
    I have heard that English people have asked Americans if they have Kellogg’s Cornflakes or McDonalds in America so we do have our share of eejitts here too.

  63. craigore says

    been around the world to find that only stupid people are breeding… the cretins cloning and feeding…

    in all seriousness, what’s really terrifying is that these people can vote.

  64. says

    My favorites are: “Do you have French fries in Europe?”, “Do you have Indian reservations in Europe?”, and “Do you have television in Europe?”. I am not joking…

    pffft.

    I was asked by a fratboy if we have flies in Europe.
    And by a Canadian teenager if we have cows in Europe.

  65. says

    I have spent ten years of my life in the US, and, take my word for it, ignorance of the world is rather more widespread on your side of the pond.

    not entirely true. Ask some Americans and Australians how many Europeans have suggested day-trips to various points halfway across the continent.

  66. davem says

    My favorites are: “Do you have French fries in Europe?”, “Do you have Indian reservations in Europe?”, and “Do you have television in Europe?”. I am not joking…

    My own favourite question: “You speak mighty fine English for a foreigner; what language do you speak in England’?

    ..and he seriously did not believe me when I told him.

  67. says

    Not to mention current events (though, admittedly, many of those questions are obscure and, oddly, Republicans were better at responding correctly).

    That study does not appear to control for age; Republicans are older than Democrats.

    I’d be more impressed if they showed Republicans were better informed than Democrats of the same age.

  68. alektorophile says

    @#73 and 80

    Very true, we do have our fair share of ignorant people. And there are friends of mine in the western US who put me, and the average European, to shame when it comes to a knowledge of world affairs and history. (And they have access to better microbrews, too…).

    Still, my own personal impression is that as far as ignorance of other countries is concerned, it is rather more common in the US than in the 3-4 European countries I am familiar with, particularly in the western and southern states (although I fondly remember having a discussion with a NY grad student who was convinced that Swedish was the national language of Switzerland…). To be fair, Europeans usually fail to appreciate the vastness of the US, and opportunities for somebody, say, in Wyoming to travel to another country or even just be exposed to someone from abroad are often fewer than for the average European. And as far as most of my in-laws are concerned, even New York and California are in most respects foreign countries, and Europe and Asia might as well be on another planet.

  69. Teshi says

    While must say the protester man looked a little addled and rattled, and for what reason we don’t know, the triangle question was particularly sad, given that the German word for triangle is ‘Dreieck,’ literally ‘three-corner.’ How many sides are on a three corner? Lack of reasoning there…

    Well, poke for you may but the English word is pretty close to three-corner to, since we use ‘tri’ for lots of three-related things and most children are pretty quick to figure out what a quadbike and a quadrilateral have in common, with guidance. I would have hoped that most adults have made the connection between triangle and tricycle, even if they’ve forgotten the actual shape somehow.

  70. alektorophile says

    That said, what really bugs me is not ignorance per se, which is fairly easily remedied, but the utter lack of curiosity about the outside world in many of the same people. “Do you have French fries” is usually as far as it goes with the questions.

  71. says

    That said, what really bugs me is not ignorance per se, which is fairly easily remedied, but the utter lack of curiosity about the outside world in many of the same people.

    a trait maybe more predominant in America, but also not even close to unique. My first (and only non-American) boyfriend was like that; an absolutely astounding lack of curiosity about anything at all. It’s as if the idea of questions didn’t ever occur to him.

  72. says

    My favourite thing an American tourist asked one of my Irish friends who worked as a barmaid in Bunratty Castle:
    You have a very nice castle here, but why did you build it so close to the motorway?

    Another question directed at me was: Hey, I know you’re German, how do I get by train from Brussels to Amsterdam?

    But, well, I teach adults, I know that people aren’t actually shitting textbooks over here either

  73. ambulocetacean says

    Stonyground #59

    There’s a nice list of gems from Dumb Britain here.

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Dumb_Britain

    Hard to pick a favourite, but how about:

    Anne Robinson: In the 1940s which politician was responsible for the welfare state; William…?
    Contestant: The Conqueror.

    or

    Jamie Theakston: Where do you think Cambridge University is?
    Contestant: Geography isn’t my strong point.
    Jamie Theakston: There’s a clue in the title.
    Contestant: Leicester.

  74. evilDoug says

    One thing I have noticed in the past is how little international news there is in US TV news, relative to what we get here in Canada

    Is this cause or effect of what alektorophile described as “utter lack of curiosity about the outside world”? Now I suspect some of the people in the video have never watched TV news, but I find it hard to believe that the older people haven’t. Perhaps they avoid it because of the appalling liberal bias.

  75. says

    Who knows, the guy who did know what religion buddhist monks are maybe could rebuild a transmission?

    Yeah… Pretty sure their amazing skill at rebuilding transmissions will do them well maintaining tank, during their invasion of Tibet, to save it from Sith terrorists, from Isreal, who are secretly being led by Obama, or what ever the fuck they imagine they are doing one some moron among them decided to invade it, while having no clue there are Buddhists there.

  76. jentokulano says

    “People who think that Kofi Annan is a type of coffee beverage?”

    You mean he’s not? [spits back into mug]

  77. Rumtopf says

    @ambulocetacean

    William G. Stewart: Above the entrance to which place do the words “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” appear?
    Contestant: A church?
    Stewart: Er, sorry, no, hell.

    Ehehehehe!

  78. ambulocetacean says

    Lawl.

    Anne Robinson: In the Lord’s Prayer, what word beginning with ‘H’ meaning ‘blessed’ comes before ‘be thy name’?
    Contestant: (quietly) Howard.
    Anne Robinson: (incredulously) Pardon?
    Contestant: (louder) Howard.

  79. says

    Ysee, Americans are stupid. English people are just… erm… easily flustered by game show hosts.

    (Oh god the only thing i can take from this video is that my geography knowledge outside of Western Europe is awful).

  80. w00dview says

    I remember a friend of mine who started work in London would make ludicrous stories about Ireland to his work colleagues and they accepted everything with no question. One of the best stories he had was that every Christmas every Irish citizen was allowed to make one phone call to any relatives they had overseas. However, the only phone in the country was in Dublin so during the Christmas season people from all over Ireland would travel to Europe to call and wish their relatives a happy Christmas! These people seem to have gotten their image of modern day Ireland from Darby O’ Gill and the Little People. So yeah stupidity and ignorance are common in the UK as well*.

    * Not that Ireland is much better. I am originally from Mayo, the county where people stared at the sun because the virgin Mary was predicted to appear in it by a deluded psychic from Dublin.

  81. McCthulhu's new upbeat 2012 nym. says

    The ‘up with people’ side of me wants to side along with some earlier comments that suggested that these are ‘best of the worst’ answers given and there were probably a few people not making it on the video who did just fine. But the pessimist in me gets the willies at the mental image of the folks in the vid participating on voting day – supposing that they can carry the right date AND place around in their heads at the same time.

  82. pj says

    My favourite idiot question heard from an American was: “You Finnish? But…you’ve red hair!”

    I have no clue what was going on in his mind.

  83. Matrim says

    The people who keep harping about these being cherry picked answers are missing the point. It’s the fact that these people exist at all, the fact that walking among us are people who think that Mississippi is a foreign country that should be invaded, who can’t recognize when Australia is labeled as France on a map, don’t know the significance of Hiroshima, or who DON’T KNOW HOW MANY SIDES A TRIANGLE HAS. I don’t care that these are representative examples of what is most likely a statistically insignificant subsection of the population, what I care about is that a film crew just wandering around Venice Beach (which appears to be where this was filmed) managed to find people like this. It means that they are out there operating with this kind of mind-set. That’s a scary fucking thought.

  84. dcg1 says

    79. they weren’t. now do kindly fuck off.

    Jadehawk

    Yes: That’s a perfect example of how moronic they were!!.
    The use of expletives; demonstrating the posters limited intellect and vocabulary.