Can You Locate the U.S. on a Map? Published 2007-08-29 under

Just found this clip on Dean Shareski's blog, Ideas and Thoughts and thought I would share it as a funny (but sad) example of the state of education. I feel that I should offer some additional commentary. My initial thought was to question "what do you expect?" - not as a comment on So. Carolina or on women, but on the true values of beauty contests. Do we really look to our next Miss USA to be able to solve world problems?

The piece begins with the question: "A recent survey suggests that a fifth of Americans cannot locate the United States on a world map. Why do you think this is?" While I don't feel that it has to do with South Africa or Iraq (as suggested - I think - by Miss So. Carolina), I really have no idea. I would offer that the survey has not identified a lack in our education but rather offers a comment about our culture and even our values. While we live in a global world, we cannot appreciate our position in this interconnected and interdependent world. We are insular.

Perhaps this is a problem with our education. Are we not making a good enough effort to teach diversity and inspire appreciation of other cultures (and nations)?

In any case, the clip is funny and does speak to the importance of communication.


takeiteasy said...

its nothing to do with education or culture or ignorance that 20% of americans cannot identify its location on a map... its rather because those americans are either too young or too old to do that! :-)

Dean Shareski said...

There's another issue at play here that I failed to consider when I posted it. The "youtube culture" we live in makes it very difficult to live down a mistake. Without it, this becomes a small blip that few see or remember. No more. We are being watched and have to live with the consequences of that for both good and bad. Youtube can make you a hero or a goat. Sometimes without even wanting it.

rob banning said...


I watched a Today Show clip that pointed out the very thing. The clip had Miss So. Carolina on and they gave her a chance to answer the question again. The answer (while rehearsed) was more acceptable. You can, of course, see the clip on youTube.

I certainly know all about flubs. I record my conference presentations and am constantly noticing total nonsense coming from my mouth. I am just glad my presentations are up on YouTube.

On the Today Show clip, Miss So. Carolina offers her hopes as far as her future: attend college, majoring in graphic design, then off to L.A. to attend a visual effects school.

This left me wondering if she will be remembered as the "Locate the US on a map" girl.

In other words, how long lived is a person's YouTube earn position as goat or hero?