Ever had to endure a rant by your old man about the alarming state of today’s youth – a tirade that typically includes, at some point, the dismissive “they couldn’t find their ass with a map!”?
Well, turns out the old coot might have had a point.
Memorial University professor Judith Adler gave her students in St. John’s a pop geography quiz that entailed a blank map of the world and the identification of some tricky stuff such as continents and oceans.
“The results were really mind-opening to me,” she says. And not “mind-opening” in a good way. More like “mind-opening” in an LSD-induced kind of way.
Her students — high school grads all, it should be noted — turned in abysmal results. “They should not be confusing Antarctica and the Arctic, and they should know that they live on the Atlantic Ocean … and they should be able to know where North America is,” Adler laments.
Hard to argue that. Even her students would have to agree. If they could find their way back to the classroom to get the test results, that is.
But let’s not jump too quickly on the “all young people are idiots” bandwagon (which, by the way, drives with its turn signal blinking the whole time, can’t program its own cellphone, and keeps forgetting that is glasses are on its head).
Perhaps we should first test our own geography knowledge. Ready? Here goes: Is St. John’s in New Brunswick, or Newfoundland and Labrador?
(Good luck with that one. Canada has both a St. John’s and a Saint John on the East Coast, and not because it makes for a Googlewhacking stumper. This, remember, is the same country that used to have a nine-team football league in which one team was the Roughriders, and another was the Rough Riders. See why Europeans smile kindly when we tell them where we’re from?).
Time’s up. Did you figure it out? Or did you turn to your phone to get the answer? If so, let’s hope you downloaded the Google Maps app for your iPhone; Apple’s own mapping software performed like, well, a Canadian university student, and may be headed for the software scrapyard (undoubtedly getting lost along the way).
The point here is that our kids may not be quite as dumb as we seem to think. Intellectually lazy? Probably. But dumb? Nah.
At least they are smart enough to learn their geography now from their university professor. Our generation took its lessons from Bugs Bunny, who showed us we could tunnel straight down into the Earth and come out on the other side, in China. (Note to students: Do not try this at home. Just go here.)
Given that, maybe we should be the ones asking for directions – though we could easily find an ass simply by looking in the mirror.