Thursday, April 10, 2003

"The Geography of Ignorance"

OFTEN, YOUR AMBASSADOR is asked, "where exactly is Horsmanistan?". On these occasions I hem and haw and make vague upwardly pointing gestures. Then I change the subject.

Now, it's common knowledge that most Americans are terrible when it comes to geography. They can't find Canada on a map, let alone countries on other continents. But they pale in comparison to Horsmanistanians, and our terrible, terrible secret:

We can't find our own country on the map.

In fact, we're not entirely clear on what maps are for.

We know they represent the ground beneath our feet in some vague sense, the way oil paintings represent bowls of fruit and men in feathery hats. But those little blobby pictures are just a little too abstract for us. Someone showed me the blob that is supposed to be Australia on one of these maps once. From what I made out, it could just as well have been a liver. And who wants to call a liver home? No one, excepting the common liver fluke. And they're scum.

Vile, parasitic, scum.

Is that really an image that Australians want people to associate with them? Is that how Australians would like to see themselves? I think not. So, to avoid similar self-image problems, we have taken a stand against maps. Some so-called educators have called our stand an overweening glorification of ignorance, but we think that's just because they probably come from some country shaped like a bucktoothed spinster surrounded by geriatric cats. It's rather pitiful really.

Anyway, we're not sure where our country is. But nothing's on fire at the moment, so it's probably somewhere safe.

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