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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Why People Believe Americans Are Stupid
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01/13/2007 08:27:27 AM · #1
We'd probably be less stupid if we had an education system that worked instead of being obsessed with end-of-year testing and statistical improvement. Teachers are much more concerned about keeping their jobs - which is largely based on statistical information that they have no control over - than they are in really educating the kids. That's not because they're bad teachers, it's because that's what the educational system is obsessed with.

Another problem is motivation. At a certain level in America, being intelligent leaves one with no friends. It's a difficult cultural thing to jump. In addition, the power of a drug culture and a "party ALL THE TIME" mentality has really begun to affect the situation.

In my years in America's public and private schools, I was almost a pariah because my grades were higher than normal. None of the "cool" people were my friends. By no means was I "Joe Cool", but I had to really dumb myself down to have friends. If I had concentrated on my education, really concentrated, I could have gone a lot further than I did. However, it's no fun to be "friend-less". So, thus, I devoted some time to being cool and devoted my intelligence to learning how to cheat so that I didn't have to study as hard. Was that right? Heck, no, it wasn't right, but I was 17 years old and hormones drove more than one of my decisions.

My point is that the American system in general - and I suspect some other systems too, but I don't have any evidence at all - downplays intelligence and the importance of education. We're more concerned with cultural direction - should I get piercings? my girlfriend is pregnant! is marijuana really addictive? why are the police always after me? that's racial profiling, man! - than we are knowing how to write good computer programs, design quality machinery, invent alternative fuel automobiles, or create beautiful architecture. That stuff takes WORK, and work isn't "cool".

Calling "us" stupid is unfair generalization. Picking on Texans is also unfair generalization, but it is a natural thing when one wishes to poke a barb at President Bush.

Those people aren't necessarily stupid - they're just highly uneducated according to the standards that some wish to impose. Some of them could possibly break into and steal your $50,000 SUV in about 20 seconds, though, so don't be so quick to discount either their intelligence or their ability to learn.

Let this be a lesson to us all - anybody's kids could wind up this way without proper direction, care, and REAL education.
01/13/2007 08:26:57 AM · #2
I was thinking back to the time when I first moved over to Oz from the UK and a girl I spoke to in the first few days I was there(she was about 16). She said that she could tell that I was Londonish(???)by my accent and what language did we actually speak in London? Well I was at a bit of a loss as to how to answer her as I am a northern lass and had, at that time, never been to London, so I told her that we spoke Chinese, with that she complemented me on my English telling me she understood nearly every word I was saying!!
01/13/2007 08:07:14 AM · #3
Haha, reminds me of the time I visited Boston and a guy asked where I was from, I said Iceland and he thought I had just made that name up on the spot and no such country existed. He actually got very excited and for a while I thought he might have a go at me!

Several people asked the same igloo question and if we used dogsleds to get around and yet another guy (store clerk in a shop I bought something from) asked if I was european. I said yes and he said aha, he could tell from the sunglasses I was wearing, they were very european. The sunglasses were Oakley and the only thing made in America that I was wearing at the time :)

That last part isn´t really stupid, just thought it funny that he picked the only American design clothing/accessory that I was wearing at the time.

These are not the typical americans though in my experience, I have met lot´s of them and they generally seemed pretty well informed of global affairs but I would have to agree that on average they could do better :)

Message edited by author 2007-01-13 08:11:11.
01/13/2007 07:55:51 AM · #4
Originally posted by Manic:

So am I the only one who thought of Uruguay? :o)


It's spelled Youragway...

Hellooooooo!
01/13/2007 07:41:00 AM · #5
I'm not going to get into the debate about how stupid Americans are or are not, but that show, and another that the same guys do is/was very funny. Any here from Oz, if you haven't seen it before, get your hands on the Chaser's War on Everything DVDs. It was on the ABC.

Oh, and I hope they don't start dropping nuclear bombs on that Iran or South Korea country way down south, it might get a bit hot here :)
01/13/2007 06:25:47 AM · #6
Originally posted by MikeOwens:

Dont worry - you would more than likely get the same results in the U.K. !


Only if seriously contrived. The British (as a generalisation) have by far the greatest global general knowledge that I have encountered anywhere, and the greatest wit (and this across all class levels).

I'm still in awe of the pub and television quiz teams in the UK. In the six years that I lived in London I only ever won a quiz when my team was packed with Pommies. Living in Singapore my wife and I haven't lost one yet.

I'm South African BTW.
01/13/2007 05:33:20 AM · #7
Dont worry - you would more than likely get the same results in the U.K. !
01/13/2007 02:49:13 AM · #8
Originally posted by levyj413:

I'd be curious to know how random Europeans and Australians would do.


We had a television show in Holland* couple of years ago, where holiday travellers were asked to point out on a map where they were at that specific time. Some were filmed standing at a beach and pointing out Switzerland** on the map

* Holland: Capital of Denmark
** Switzerland: somewhere in Scandinavia

Message edited by author 2007-01-13 02:51:26.
01/13/2007 02:00:54 AM · #9
Originally posted by cpanaioti:

Reminds me of a story once told to me about a Canadian visiting California.

Californian: Do you live in an igloo?

Canadian: Ya, and you live in a grass hut.

;o)


We got this question from a waitress in Idaho, probably 50 miles farther south than Victoria!!

Then there was the tourist who got very angry and called me very rude names because I couldn't tell him how to get to the bridge off the island, because he certainly drove over a bridge to get onto it, NOT a boat!
(Believe me, there is NO bridge to/from Vancouver Island!!)
01/13/2007 01:27:15 AM · #10
Originally posted by vtruan:

The thing that scares me is they vote.


Bingo. One of the best political cartoons I've ever seen was a Doonesbury strip from 2000. Over several panels, he set it up by saying things like "if you don't read or watch the news ..." and at the end he said to do your country a favor and stay home on election day.
01/13/2007 12:26:57 AM · #11
Originally posted by TuckerUK:

OK, they don't come much more anti-US foreign policy than me, and if there's an anti-US bandwagon doing the rounds I'll be driving it (despite having many American friends and working for US companies)...

Right, I'll have my congressman consult some nitwit on DPChallenge before voting.

Jealously is not very flattering, Tuck.
01/13/2007 12:15:09 AM · #12
Originally posted by Manic:

So am I the only one who thought of Uruguay? :o)


The first "U" that came to my mind was Ukraine.
01/13/2007 12:07:44 AM · #13
Sean Hanity does this on most Thursdays on his radio show in NYC. So, not really surprising. The thing that scares me is they vote.
01/12/2007 11:52:55 PM · #14
Originally posted by colyla:

Originally posted by Manic:

So am I the only one who thought of Uruguay? :o)


nope..I did :)


Me three (and Uzbekestan, but I don't believe they're a threat).

Message edited by author 2007-01-12 23:54:10.
01/12/2007 10:02:13 PM · #15
Originally posted by Manic:

So am I the only one who thought of Uruguay? :o)


nope..I did :)

01/12/2007 09:51:02 PM · #16
OK, they don't come much more anti-US foreign policy than me, and if there's an anti-US bandwagon doing the rounds I'll be driving it (despite having many American friends and working for US companies)...

..but fairs fair, certainly my fellow average UK citizens would fair as bad if not worse.

Still, great video, if not a bit scarey!
01/12/2007 09:50:51 PM · #17
Originally posted by hyperfocal:

...our 13-year-old son... reads 20 books a month.


That's, roughly, what Shakespeare had on his shelf.
01/12/2007 09:49:42 PM · #18
Originally posted by kirbic:

Just a gentle reminder, this is not a political rant. Let's keep it on the light side.
Anyone who truly believes that the general population of any country is this uninformed is, well, badly uninformed. It's pretty easy to pick off the worst examples of ignorance you come across, but I've never seen someone pick off the best.
FWIW, two thirds of Americans do *not* support the war in Iraq, according to the most recent polls.


When the war started 2/3 rd of American population did support this war (according to the polls that time).
Hindsight is good thing. The most important thing is not to make mistake at the first place.
01/12/2007 09:43:42 PM · #19
My wife & I just asked our 13-year-old son as many of the questions as we could remember from the video, and he didn't miss one. I honestly think the problem with American's knowledge is not intelligence but distraction. I'm proud to say that my son couldn't name an American idol contestant or a single character on a current TV show, but he reads 20 books a month.
01/12/2007 09:27:35 PM · #20
Skeeeeery people. I once worked with a girl (a college graduate, no less) who could have been the star of this show. My favorite was when someone in the office asked if there was such a thing as a fish with no scales. I suggested catfish. This girl piped up from the back, "Swordfish!" I was truly shocked that she could answer the question, but then she continued, "...oh, but that doesn't count because swordfish are mammals, like sharks." Yikes! :-/

Message edited by author 2007-01-12 21:28:20.
01/12/2007 09:03:20 PM · #21
Just a gentle reminder, this is not a political rant. Let's keep it on the light side.
Anyone who truly believes that the general population of any country is this uninformed is, well, badly uninformed. It's pretty easy to pick off the worst examples of ignorance you come across, but I've never seen someone pick off the best.
FWIW, two thirds of Americans do *not* support the war in Iraq, according to the most recent polls.
01/12/2007 08:56:49 PM · #22
Originally posted by Chiqui:

The sad thing is, I do believe this is a pretty accurate representation of the general American population. Exaggerated, yes, but scarily close to reality. Just my humble opinion.

June


I agree with you. By watching CNN for last 2.5 years, my impression about general Americans is exactly what this video says.

Americans support a war so vehemently (that kills thousands of people) without even knowing where that nation is located on map or what threat that nation exactly poses. Most of them just blindly follow their leader.
Bush got to be right. (As shown in the end of the video).

To me the best was how many sides a triangle has. And how many Eiffel Towers Paris has?

01/12/2007 08:13:15 PM · #23
Reminds me of a story once told to me about a Canadian visiting California.

Californian: Do you live in an igloo?

Canadian: Ya, and you live in a grass hut.

;o)
01/12/2007 08:03:39 PM · #24
I am a bad one to ask - When I moved to the US from Oz, I had some of the most ridiculous questions from otherwise seemingly intellegent people => From the "What's it like to live in a city" (Dunno Sydney is about 5 times this size); Complements on my English, since it's a second language (well, ok there is some merit to that but it's really pretty similar to 'merican); What's it like to have 6 months of night then 6 months of day (well, it IS a long way south I guess); How do you deal with the roo's (about the same way as the bears in central park); You have american express cards not australian express (um... yeah backing away slowly)...........
01/12/2007 07:54:10 PM · #25
The sad thing is, I do believe this is a pretty accurate representation of the general American population. Exaggerated, yes, but scarily close to reality. Just my humble opinion.

To support my theory I'll say this, at one point, a couple years ago, I had 5 people, including a very well educated nurse, argue with me about whether insects were animals or not. They were convinced that they weren't. They couldn't tell me WHAT they were, just that they weren't animals. I could not believe what I was hearing. WTF???

June

Message edited by author 2007-01-12 19:55:40.
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