Re: [NTLK] Fwd: [re the next NewtCon] all about Canada

From: Ken Whitcomb <>
Date: Tue Sep 02 2008 - 18:47:07 EDT

Lacking in knowledge about a subject as well documented as geography
is often the result of lack of opportunity to learn (ignorance) or the
lack of desire to learn (apathy). The first of the two can be remedied
with time, money, and effort. In the U.S., the second is the love-
child of a heritage of individualism (not a surprising reaction to a
society who's bed-rock is the principle of "eminent domain") and a
collective distrust and disregard for those in authority (government,
schools, parents) that germinated in the 1950s, took root in the
1960s, flowered in the 1970s, and "went to seed" in the 1980s. (if you
doubt me, see: Joe McCarthy, Vietnam, Nixon, Reagan). This means it is
possible to have such little regard for learning about geography to
either not learn what is expected in school, or forget what is learned
as soon as we are no longer required to prove that we know and
understand it (having spent twenty years teaching the the U.S. public
schools, I believe that this is the more common reason).

Apathy is a choice. Without internal (curiosity about one's world,
desire to acquire new knowledge) or external (being sent to a foreign
country by one's employer, learning where one's child is being sent to
fight in a war, etc.) forces at work, people can choose apathy about
geography without consequence.

To close with an interesting aside, several years ago, my wife decided
that she too frequently found herself reading or hearing about a city,
nation, or country that she was uncertain about. So she marched down
to the local office supply store and bought the largest wall maps they
had of the world and North America, to hang in one of the rooms of our
home. Now we can all refer to these maps any time we are made aware of
an unfamiliar place. She choose a path out of ignorance and apathy
with a little effort and relatively small cost. The important aspect
is that she choose it and acted upon it.

all the best,

On Sep 2, 2008, at 5:45 PM, Ryan Vetter wrote:

> The one thing that reaffirms things for me is when I speak with my
> American clients and more times than I care to remember, they don't
> even know what or where Vancouver is. Sometimes I test them and ask
> them if they at least know where Montreal is and sometimes the
> response is that they have never heard of the city. Yes, sounds
> silly but tis true.

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Received on Tue Sep 2 18:47:16 2008

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