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Dr Howells now insults the USA

The Shambles 20 Nov 02 - 05:10 AM
The Shambles 20 Nov 02 - 05:12 AM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Nov 02 - 05:19 AM
The Shambles 20 Nov 02 - 05:24 AM
GUEST 20 Nov 02 - 05:50 AM
GUEST 20 Nov 02 - 05:55 AM
GUEST,Richard Bridge 20 Nov 02 - 06:02 AM
catspaw49 20 Nov 02 - 08:06 AM
Rapparee 20 Nov 02 - 08:27 AM
Peter T. 20 Nov 02 - 08:54 AM
Naemanson 20 Nov 02 - 09:21 AM
Amos 20 Nov 02 - 09:31 AM
Grab 20 Nov 02 - 09:40 AM
kendall 20 Nov 02 - 09:49 AM
Gareth 20 Nov 02 - 10:20 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 20 Nov 02 - 11:00 AM
Bobert 20 Nov 02 - 11:03 AM
denise:^) 20 Nov 02 - 11:35 AM
Wolfgang 20 Nov 02 - 11:58 AM
kendall 20 Nov 02 - 12:15 PM
Peter T. 20 Nov 02 - 12:30 PM
Little Hawk 20 Nov 02 - 12:33 PM
Declan 20 Nov 02 - 12:37 PM
DougR 20 Nov 02 - 12:49 PM
Ebbie 20 Nov 02 - 01:38 PM
The Shambles 20 Nov 02 - 02:03 PM
DougR 20 Nov 02 - 02:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Nov 02 - 02:13 PM
denise:^) 20 Nov 02 - 02:15 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Nov 02 - 02:31 PM
Rapparee 20 Nov 02 - 03:50 PM
The Shambles 20 Nov 02 - 04:00 PM
Fortunato 20 Nov 02 - 04:14 PM
DougR 20 Nov 02 - 04:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Nov 02 - 05:17 PM
Bill D 20 Nov 02 - 05:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Nov 02 - 06:20 PM
Bill D 20 Nov 02 - 06:41 PM
M.Ted 20 Nov 02 - 06:44 PM
Ebbie 20 Nov 02 - 06:46 PM
NicoleC 20 Nov 02 - 06:47 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Nov 02 - 07:42 PM
GUEST 20 Nov 02 - 08:33 PM
Bob Bolton 20 Nov 02 - 09:42 PM
Ebbie 20 Nov 02 - 09:58 PM
denise:^) 21 Nov 02 - 01:51 AM
Roger the Skiffler 21 Nov 02 - 04:34 AM
Wolfgang 21 Nov 02 - 06:59 AM
Mary in Kentucky 21 Nov 02 - 08:26 AM
Grab 21 Nov 02 - 09:05 AM
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Subject: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 05:10 AM

Nicholas Watt, political correspondent
Wednesday November 20, 2002
The Guardian

It is billed as the greatest special relationship on earth; two countries bound together by common bonds stretching back centuries.
But most Americans are so ignorant of their kinsfolk in Britain they believe the UK is a far off country "somewhere" in the Middle East, according to the outspoken tourism minister, Kim Howells.

"Very often people do not understand the title of the country," Dr Howells told MPs of Commons culture select committee yesterday. "In America, people had heard of London, some had heard of England, no one had heard of the United Kingdom - they thought it was somewhere in the Middle East."

A spokesman for the culture department said Dr Howells, who hit the headlines when he dismissed this year's Turner prize shortlisted entries as "conceptual bullshit", was making a light-hearted comment. Americans should not take offence, the department said, because he had been just trying to illustrate the importance of using familiar expressions.

England and Britain are well known brands, they said, but the UK hardly registered. Even high-placed Americans struggle with the title. Foreign Office mandarins had to have a quiet word with American diplomats in 1998 after the CIA world factbox said that 1801 marked the date of the UK's "independence".

Dr Howells' remarks yesterday came as he admitted that UK tourism chiefs had "failed to persuade visitors to venture beyond London. Asked about a multi-million marketing campaign to persuade tourists to visit other parts of Britain, Dr Howells said the tourism boards had "dismally failed".

Meanwhile, the culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, rejected a charge by Ian Reynolds, chief executive of the Association of Travel Agents, that ministers were taking a laissez faire attitude to tourism, applying insufficient focus and resources.


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 05:12 AM

USA Where is Dr Howells?


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 05:19 AM

To be fair, where's the insult?


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 05:24 AM

Well no one in the USA had heard of Dr Howells either. Perhaps he visited the United Arab Emerates, by mistake?


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 05:50 AM

Dr Howells was only telling the truth


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 05:55 AM

I don't who is Dr Howells, and I live in britian
so where is the insult


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 06:02 AM

Guest in Britian (sic) -

You ought to know Dr Howells: know thy enemy!


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: catspaw49
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 08:06 AM

UK? Why hellfire, everybody here knows that!!! Yeah, GO WILDCATS!!! University of Kentucky basketball is tops!!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Rapparee
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 08:27 AM

Isn't the UK that place just off the coast of Ireland? Between Ireland and Luxembourg?

(Spaw, I live in Kentucky and discovered that there is someone here with an IQ of 210: the student body at UK.)


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Peter T.
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 08:54 AM

I had a student last year who asked me where the European Union was. I actually thought it was a fair question. I told her it was in Belgium. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Naemanson
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 09:21 AM

Ah, geographic ignorance and arrogance. Just another example of American exports.


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Amos
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 09:31 AM

Ridiculous generalizations. The UK is well known here is SoCal as being just the other side of the East Coast.

A


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Grab
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 09:40 AM

What insult?


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: kendall
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 09:49 AM

Some years ago, a fisherman from Ellsworth Maine went to NYC (That's New York City, Mr. Howells) on business. He stayed overnight, and in the morning he went to the lobby to get a newspaper. He looked and looked, but couldn't find the one he wanted, so, he went to the desk clerk and asked why there was no ELLSWORTH AMERICAN on the newspaper rack. The clerk said "I don't even know where Ellsworth is."
Fisherman said, "Well, I would admit my ignorance, everyone in Ellsworth knows where New York is."
Geocentricity is not confined to America.


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Gareth
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 10:20 AM

Ahhh ! Yes !!!! - and how often have myself and others had to remind catters the Wales is not England !!!!!!

Please also note that Kim Howells is not English. He does not represent an English Parliamentary Constituencey. He represents Pontypridd.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 11:00 AM

I also fail to see the insult. It's just a matter of terminology. It is probably true that many U.S. citizens fail to recognize the term "United Kingdom", but I don't think it's due to lack of geographical knowledge. It's just that the term is not part of U.S. common parlance and there are other terms which are more or less synonymous with it. (I know they're not really synonymous, but let's not split hairs, please.) I use it on this forum as a courtesy to UK 'Catters (and I avoid using the term "American" to refer to U.S. issues as a courtesy to Canadian 'Catters), but I seriously doubt that I have ever used "United Kingdom" or "UK" in everyday conversation.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Bobert
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 11:03 AM

Well, danged. Everytime I think I got this geography thing down someone goes and moves a few countries on me.

Ahhhh, Amos. Just how far off the Virgina coast is the UK? I have friends there and it'd be nice if to visit 'em if it were no more than an hour's flight in a rented Cesna.

Bobert


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: denise:^)
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 11:35 AM

How can you not see the insult? Were YOU asked if you could identify the UK? I wasn't--but I can do it.

Any time you use a broad, sweeping generality to define or describe people, you are going to be inaccurate--and therefore insulting--to a large part of them.

Hence, to say that, "In America [query: did he intend to include Mexico and Canada?], no one has heard of the United Kingdom..." is an insult to a large portion of the U.S. population--who, I'm sure, have, indeed, heard of the United Kingdom.

For what it's worth, when I was on a month-long concert tour in England, very few people knew where (or what) Michigan was...

denise:^)


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Wolfgang
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 11:58 AM

Michigan?

Nobody over here is able to remember names of Sumo wrestlers.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: kendall
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 12:15 PM

To say that Americans do this or that and Frenchmen vnever do this or that is silly. I'll bet that 99 out of 100 Mudcatters know where the UK is. Generalities usually dont work.


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Peter T.
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 12:30 PM

Sure, the UK is way east of kendall. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 12:33 PM

"Generalities usually don't work!" What a droll statement. :-)

I wish to add my own thought to this, which is...

"Intolerance must NOT be tolerated!"

- LH


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Declan
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 12:37 PM

Yeah I've always hated the type of people who make generalisations !

How many people in the UK know where the UK is and which parts of neighbouring islands it does and doesn't include? No insult intended :#} .


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: DougR
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 12:49 PM

I'm sure most Mudcatters who read BS threads know where the UK is because they would probably have read Spaw's 8:06 A.M. post by now.

Were I a betting man, I would bet, were you to stop ten people on a busy street in New York City and ask them who the president of the United States is, at least three or four of them wouldn't know. Conversely, were you to approach ten people on a busy street in London and ask who Tony Blair is, you would get the same result.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 01:38 PM

DougR, you've been watching- and internalizing- too many Jay Leno-jay-walking segments! Do you have any idea of how many people they have to ask those questions before they get - and air- the lamebrains??

It's my theory that people remember the most populous cities/regions of individual countries and don't commit to memory smaller areas. Many Europeans, Africans and U.K.ers (!) and others are familiar with New York (the city, only. Many don't even realize there is a whole state of New York); they know California as a destination and San Francisco and Los Angelos within it (They don't have a clue about Sacramento); they know Alaska, with its mystique- some think it's a country...

OTOH, it's not too surprising. The chances of an American abroad coming from NYC or from LA or San Francisco is fairly great- given the millions of people who live there.


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 02:03 PM

It was only with the fairly recent advent of the web, and its demands to know where I lived and giving me the option of USA or UK, that I really came to use the term.

It is not if what Dr Howells is saying is correct or not - but whether it is really wise for him to express these views.

He is after all the Minister who is responsible for promoting the interests of musicians, artists and tourism.

Describing musicians as 'hellish', artists of creating bullshit and
potential toursts (and war allies) as ignorant, I would suggest, may not prove to be very wise for him.

But these are not the main reason why I don't wish to bear his children.


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: DougR
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 02:05 PM

Not guilty, Ebbie. I NEVER watch Jay Leno. So how many do they have to interview?

DougR


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 02:13 PM

You think Bush has heard of it?

As for the USA strictly speaking to avoid treading on anyones's toes it really ought to be referred to as the USNA. After all, it's not the only United States in America, since the full title of Brazil is the United States of Brazil (but in Portuguese).

I imagine if they asked "Where is the EU?" they'd get even fewer takers.


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: denise:^)
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 02:15 PM

I'm not Ebbie, but, looking at the EXTREME ignorance exhibited by the "jay-walk-ees," I'm hoping they have to interview (at least) hundreds!!

...and, for the record, 16 out of 18 of my kindergarten students could name the president for me today! (just thought I'd check...)

denise:^)


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 02:31 PM

But what name did they give him?

Anyway in kindergarten kids are still pretty bright. It takes years of schooling to eliminate that sufficiently to allow them to take their place in adult society.


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Rapparee
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 03:50 PM

From an Associated Press story of today:


WASHINGTON (AP) — Ask young people to pick out Iraq on a map of the Middle East, and only 13 percent can locate it — despite a barrage of headlines and broadcast reports about a possible war against Saddam Hussein.

Same goes for Israel or Iran, according to a National Geographic study that finds there has been little to no improvement in students' knowledge of geography since 1988.

The society survey released Wednesday found that only about one in seven of Americans between the age of 18 and 24, the prime age for military warriors, could find Iraq. The score was the same for Iran, an Iraqi neighbor.



The survey asked 56 geographic and current events questions of young people in nine countries and scored the results with traditional grades. The surveyed Americans got a ``D,'' with an average of 23 correct answers. Mexico ranked last with an average score of 21, just three points from a failing grade.

Topping the scoring was Sweden, with an average of 40, followed by Germany and Italy, each with 38. None of the countries got an ``A,'' which required average scores of 42 correct answers or better on the 56 questions.



—Only 71 percent of the surveyed Americans could locate on the map the Pacific Ocean, the world's largest body of water. Worldwide, three in 10 of those surveyed could not correctly locate the Pacific Ocean.



The international survey was conducted for the National Geographic by RoperASW. The results are based on face-to-face interviews with at least 300 men and women aged 18 to 24 in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Britain and the United States.


------

I found it interesting that the worldwide percentage of those who could correctly located the Pacific Ocean was effectively the same. It's actually kind of hard to miss if you walk far enough.


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 04:00 PM

I can't help worrying a little, with the forth-comming conflict due.

If those in the US and UK do not know where our two countries are, does this rather add to the existing problem suffering from 'friendly fire'?

I may not know where I am, but I know I'm not lost. G.W. Bush 2002


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Fortunato
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 04:14 PM

The real questions is: Which one of these politicians on either side of the Atlantic (or any other body of water or border) can find their ass with both hands. Minister of Tourism or President or Prime Minister, Republican or Democrat, Labor, Whigs, Torys, Libertarians, Bull Mooses, et al. How they scare me. Is this the same Minister of Tourism who believes that those who live in the UK, England, Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, etc, shouldn't be allow to sing in pubs?

Can't we arrange for his obvious anal retentiveness to suck him back up his own colon?


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: DougR
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 04:20 PM

Rapaire; why am I not surprised?

Denise: right on!

DougR


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 05:17 PM

What puzzles me isn't ignorance as such - it's the lack of curiosity it seems to show.


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 05:28 PM

one of my favorite sayings : "It's too bad ignorance doesn't itch"
... this goes for people who CAN'T find other countries, and for those who make wild guesses about how many are actually ignorant.

Dr. Howells obviously leads with his mouth far too often...just like many American politicians.


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 06:20 PM

"It's too bad ignorance doesn't itch" - I like that. It sums up what I find puzzling.

The thing is, for a lot of us it does itch. If I hear a place name I don't know I can't rest till I chase it down, and so forth. (Reach for the Google icon...) And I think most people start off like that. That's why kids are always asking questions. What happens to change that for some and not for others?


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 06:41 PM

yep...I was one of a group of kids in the 6th grade who would come in early, and stay in at recess to play map games. We'd find some strange name on the map or globe, and the others would try to find it..I still remember stumping them with "Alma Ata" ...I can still draw a reasonable map of the USA from memory...and do a decent job with the world in general.......not sure why, but I LIKE knowing....


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 06:44 PM

If only one in seven of our US soldiers is able to find Iraq, we will need to send a much larger army out than has been previously thought--


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 06:46 PM

I wonder just what model they use when they ask people to identify a country/region, etc. Is it a map - without names or titles - that gives just the silhouettes of the various countries? If so, there would be a LOT of countries I could probably not identify. Hey, I could probably identify all the US states by shape alone but I'm sure I'd have to stop and think at times if they were shown me without context.

By the same token, I'd have a lot of trouble with various countries. I know the approximate shape of some countries and/or regions- Germany, France and Italy, for instance, maybe even Iraq and Afghanistan, but Turkey, Siberia, Iceland (Sorry, Skarpi!), Luxembourg, et al- forget it. I'd be on the list of those-who-don't-know-squat.


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: NicoleC
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 06:47 PM

Well, Kevin, what happens to kids (at least here) is that they go to school. In school, you are taught that there is only one answer to every question. You are taught that stupid people have questions and smart people have answers. And you are taught, above all, to avoid looking stupid at all costs.


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 07:42 PM

And you also get taught never to appear smart either.

But how can you not know where Iceland is when you know Skarpi lives there, Ebbie? I mean how can you resist finding out?


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 08:33 PM

I live in Scotland and and I bet that there's quite a lot of people in the UK know this Dr Howells is, I bet that's the same with most Americans don't know most of there politians either.


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 09:42 PM

G'day,

McGrath: "...ought to be referred to as the USNA ..." - US<>otbitmoNA?

Bill D: "It's too bad ignorance doesn't itch" - Doesn't it? It drives me crazy to not know something ... and I think that is true of most Mudcatters - if not the bulk of their compatriots.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 09:58 PM

McGrath of H, I know where Iceland is- I don't think I know its form.

And now I must go consult a map.


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: denise:^)
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 01:51 AM

As for the kind of maps they use when they ask--

I'll admit that I've been stumped by maps on tests, on occasion--just a bunch of black, squiggeldy lines, where you can't tell what's water, what's land, what's a boundary, what's a river...!?! Especially when I had a geography professor that loved to use *hand drawn,* unlabeled, unshaded maps--and only of a small section of a country, so continental outlines were of no use to you...They (her maps)looked like black spaghetti noodles dropped on white paper! (I still managed to pull a 4.0, but those maps made me nutsy!)

So, I guess that there is some room to wonder...

denise:^)


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 04:34 AM

From discussion on the radio & press it seems it was "UK" that stumped some people. They knew where it was when it was expressed as "Britain" or "United Kingdom". Someone in a letter to the press claimed that Geography isn't taught in American schools. Not true surely?
I'd have trouble placing every US state on a blank map myself, but then I failed "O" level Geography back in the Dark Ages.
RtS
(On a bad day I can't find my arse with both hands)


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Wolfgang
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 06:59 AM

Link to National Geographic report which offers a bit more of information than Rapaire's post.

There are differences in knowledge between countries.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 08:26 AM

Spaw and Doug said it all! Go Big Blue!

And Bee-dubya-ell -- I had never used the name United Kingdom until I read Mudcat. Even now, if I had to converse with a friend, I would say England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales...


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Subject: RE: Dr Howells now insults the USA
From: Grab
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 09:05 AM

He is after all the Minister who is responsible for promoting the interests of musicians, artists and tourism.

Yep, and his point is that the government efforts to promote the UK as a tourist destination have been utterly unsuccessful, bcos no bugger knows where the UK is! Britain, yes; England, yes; Scotland, Ireland, yes; some may even know where Wales is ;-) - but no-one had heard of "the UK".

Graham.


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