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What do you know?

How much do you know about America or England or Australia or any other country than you own for that matter? How much do you even know about your own country?

I see a lot of news stories and videos on the internet of people (primarily Americans) being asked questions about Australia. During these interview the participants good naturedly answer random questions about Australia and almost universally have no idea what they are talking about. They often laugh and blush and blunder their way through making some sort of attempt to explain what they think a word means or who is the current Prime Minister of Australia (always good for a laugh).

We all then merrily conclude that Americans are ridiculously uninformed about world politics and/or anything and everything outside their own country. The question I pose is ‘are we any different?’ Confronted on the street by someone with an accent and a microphone asking pointed questions about a country that we have never visited or barely thought of, would we do any better?

Frankly I would be surprised if we did any better at all. I imagine that if most of us were questioned point blank on the street we would be unable to answer questions about our own country much less anyone else’s. As much as we enjoy watching Americans stumbling over questions about our country I think we need to keep in mind how we might perform in the same circumstances. We know what we need to know, we know what we learned at school, we know what our own media exposes us too. We don’t know anything else unless we make the effort to educate ourselves and there are much more pressing things to educate yourself on than ‘what is a chico roll?’ or ‘who is Ned Kelly?’

Trust me, I enjoy these sessions of good natured ribbing as much as anyone does but when it hits my news feed and is considered a news story, I think it just highlights that fact that it is a slow news day.

Anyway I am off to look up random facts about countries that I don’t live in, just to help me be more informed and as prepared as possible should I be confronted by a camera and a microphone next time I leave the house. In fact, I may look up random facts about my own country, I am sure that things that I don’t know far outweigh the things that I do know.