With that said.
One of the most common things that I hear in France about the Americans is that they are geographically challenged -- "Americans don't even know where France is! They think that Paris is over near Berlin!"
This stems from some news broadcast that showed a map of Europe and the cities were all mis-labeled.
Of course, I get sick of hearing this kind of crap, because obviously, since i'm living here, I am not a part of the percentage of people who are geographically challenged.
My usual reply to this statement is, "and do you know where Chicago is?" A big enough city that they should know where it is, in my opinion. New York and LA are too easy. It's the stuff in the middle (of any country) that gets lost and confused. Not that i'm defending the ignorant, by any means.
If I had a euro for every time somebody has made this reflection about Americans, i'd have enough to buy a plane ticket back home. It really is one of the first things that any French person says to me when they find out that i'm American. I get sick of it. I consider myself to be educated, and when I don't know about something, I look it up and I get informed so that I don't come across as an idiot when I meet new people.
So much to my joy and pleasure, I heard such a gaff this morning on the radio that I simply could not help but to make a little reflection about it, and of course let this generalization seep over to the entire French population, as they often do with the entire American population.
During the morning news today, I heard -- and I quote -- (and my comprehension is awesome -- there is no way I misheard this) :
"Al Gore, l'ex president americain..."
(Al Gore, the ex-American president...)
Really? Really?? As much as the French complain about Bush, you would think that they would know that Gore was never actually the president. And no, I am sure that they didn't say the ex-vice president. It was clear as day, "ex-president".
So, the next time some French person wants to say that i'm geographically challenged, I can now accuse his population of not knowing who the leader of the free world was for the last eight years.
The moral of the story is that there are uneducated and poorly informed people on both sides of the ocean, and sometimes those people are, to our chagrin, news presenters and radio presenters.
But now i've got some fuel for the next time somebody dares to tell me that I have no idea where Paris is.