"Go to Saudi Arabia, and it’s the first country to the left."

Simple directions to Iraq…if you’re flying east from North America, and if you know where Saudi Arabia is.

A common refrain by everyone living outside America is that Americans know very little about the outside world. Even here in neighbouring Accordion Country — often referred to by its nickname, “Canada” — the apocryphal story about American tourists coming in the middle of July with their skis and parkas to Toronto or Montreal still makes the rounds.

Of course we wouldn’t be telling these jokes if our American friends didn’t keep providing us with the material. A recent National Geographic survey found that 6 out 7 Americans in the 18-to-24 age group couldn’t locate Iraq on a world map, and an equal percentage couldn’t locate Iran. Only 17 percent could locate Afghanistan.

Closer to home, 1 in 10 couldn’t locate the US on a world map. Even when asked to locate places within the U.S., the results were pathetic: half of them couldn’t locate the state of New York.

Less flag-waving and more atlas reading, people!

[Thanks to Metafilter for the link.]

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