Lest night (this morning?) one of the ways I rung in the new year was by debating world geography. One of my friends of more international flava was on my case for not knowing the capitals of such major international players as Bolivia and Ghana (I did, however, know the capital of Djibouti). I think he was trying to argue that I was indicative of Americans at large, insofar as I had less geographical awareness of the rest of the world as I do of the Western one. Of course, I'm not sure he knew what he was trying to argue, since he kept claiming my lack of knowledge made me an imbecile, when I had to keep explaining to him that my lack of knowledge actually makes me an ignoramus. I hate when I have to make people's arguments for them.
There is, naturally, a West Wing quote on point here, which I would have been able to offerif I hadn't been so drunk or tired:
BARTLET: What body of water in South America is formed by the confluence...?
TOBY: Excuse me, Wink Martindale? Do you really think this is the time?
BARTLET: Not quite up on your South American geography, are you, my friend?
TOBY: The Federated States of Micronesia.
SAM: Toby says it’s a country.
BARTLET: It is a country. You know where?
TOBY: I assume it’s a small island in the South Pacific.
BARTLET:It’s actually 607 small islands in the South Pacific. Interestingly, while its total land mass is only 270 square miles, it occupies more than a million square miles of the Pacific Ocean. Population is 127,000 and the U.S. Embassy is located in the state of Pohnpei and not, as many people believe, on the island of Yap.
TOBY: Why would a person have that information at their disposal?
Exactly. Who gives a shit about Micronesia? I bet Micronesians don't even give a shit about Micronesia. Ditto on Bolivia and Ghana.
To be honest, I don't even know the capitals of some U.S. states. Idaho. Wyoming. I don't think I could even name a city in Wyoming. (Do they even have cities in Wyoming?) You know why? Because nobody cares about Wyoming. I read the news every day, I don't think Wyoming's ever come up in the headlines.
If you want me to know the capital of your country, you should either contribute something meaningful to the world or else be ravaged by natural or political disaster. Otherwise, I just don't care.