Thursday, December 13, 2012

Do you know what this?

The logo pictured is one that I once would have assumed most people would recognize. Turns out I was wrong. We were watching the final episode of "Amazing Race" the other night, and two out the three final teams had to ask other people what it stood for. It was one of those jaw-dropping moments. I've got to admit, though, it was kind of fun to see a person wearing a University of Texas tee shirt asking a New Yorker just what the United Nations logo was. Ditto the Chippendale dancer with the good ol' boy accent -- way to go, guys, in perpetuating stereotypes about Southerners being dumber than the proverbial box of rocks.

In any case, one of the more depressing things to come out during every season of "Amazing Race" is just how appallingly ignorant the typical American is when it comes to anything that exists beyond the small bubble of their own hometowns. They find out they're going to Bangladesh and react by saying, "Great. I've always wanted to visit Africa." They're trying to find a location in Barcelona or Moscow or some other foreign city and get ticked off because no one speaks English. I would love to be able to say it's a generational thing, but the older contestants tend to be just as ignorant about geography as the 20-somethings. Ditto the cultural insensitivity and ugly American behavior traits -- seems like every season there's at least one team that's rude to the locals and then is baffled about why no one wants to help them.

Actually, I shouldn't be surprised at all that contestants on "Amazing Race" don't know much about the world. I'm willing to bet you could do a series that was a race around the United States, and there would be teams who couldn't identify any state other than their own on a map, thought Hawai'i was a foreign country,  and had never before been more than an hour's drive away from their hometowns. Despite being citizens of a country that was settled by pioneers, most Americans are not particularly adventurous nor are they very curious about anything that falls outside their comfort bubble.


  1. I've been in 49 states, many of them many times, and a good share of Canada.

    And I recognized right away the United Nations logo. At at proper level of operating I have no problem with something like the United Nations running every country on this rock, but face it, the citizens of most countries, including us, are not going to allow that.

  2. It's interesting that 'United Nations' keeps rattling their swords at each other.

  3. A friend of mine used to say "Stay home and stay stupid". Canadian comedian Rick Mercer made a good living with his "Talking to America" sketch every week. You could not write the answers he got, including from a campaigning W who though Jean Poutine was a great prime minister. Some bright guy got the idea of fighting fire with fire and tried a "Talking to Canadians" bit. Bombed as most Canadians can find their ass with both hands in the dark.

  4. My husband and I watched and had the same reaction. What the hell do they teach anymore?


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