According to a recent AP story in USA Today, a significant portion of young adult Americans, aged 18 - 24 (prime Hollywood target demographics), cannot find Iraq on a map of the Middle East. They are also incapable of finding the states of Louisiana or Mississippi on a map of America -- thereby perfectly equipping them for a career in federal emergency relief.
This means, of course, that the average high school and college grad couldn't find Tonga, New Zealand, or -- dare I say it? -- the South Pacific on a map. So hearing about Thursday's earthquake that registered 8.0 on the Richter scale wouldn't affect them in any way.
The purpose of this post is not to poke fun at all those "poor, uneducated kids." I, myself, as a product of our public educational system, am geographically challenged. No, I'm more concerned with the system that routinely encounters statistics like these (a significantly horrifying percentage of this segment of society can't even find India or Israel on a map, for cryin' out loud! I'll take "Countries Beginning With 'I,'" for 400, Alex...) without making it a priority to rectify the situation.
When I was in the 18-23 year old age group, I remember reading some of these same stats. An entire generation has gone to school since then and nothing has changed.
As my mother is so fond of saying, "No education is ever wasted." Could it be that we do not teach our children the geography of the world we all share because we fear that we will expose them to different ideas, broaden their horizons, or cause them to grapple with the knowledge that we are not alone on this planet? Our actions here affect everyone -- whether we can find them on a map or not.
Back Book Update
I finished the next chapter of Dr. Warson's Back Book yesterday and sent it off for his approval. The book is now officially half written. Rah! I'm right on track for finishing it by the end of the month.
Geoff Teall Hunter / Jumper Book Update
Geoff's book is doing well on Amazon.com rankings. Yesterday, the paperback was ranked 34,400. Not bad for a title that's not yet released.
I heard from Trafalgar Square -- we should have our authors' copies soon. Can't wait, as there are several people who helped with the book, who are eager to see the fruits of their labor.
And, in Other News
Persistence pays off. I'd like to send out a huge, personal CONGRATULATIONS to my friend, screenwriter John Alarid, for receiving the Bronze Remi Award at the 39th Annual Worldfest Houston International Film Festival.
John and I met a few years ago at the Austin Film Festival. He's quite talented -- this is just the most recent in a string of solid contest results. It's a tough business. Congratulations, John!