Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Can a Map Really Make You Ill???

It's 11:56PM, and I am getting sick. Yes, that's physically. A souvenir from France, er, Ben, er, Ben's exhaustion in France.

But, the ill feelings I really want to discuss are my mental ones. My distraught feelings, specifically. Actually, I guess I am 2x physically, 1x mentally, ill. Because, the feeling of unease generated by my mental stress is causing symptoms similar to nausea deep within my stomach. I am not well.

Why? Because I just began my favorite annual read, The Best American Travel Writing! To begin this highly-respected compilation of the 20 plus most well-written, ingenious and timely American travel writing articles, a chosen guest editor offers his or her perspective on the current need for travel writing... and, thus, why he or she selected the articles he or she did. In 2009, this is British travel writer Simon Winchester, and he, he is the source of my mental ill. For on page xxi, he writes: "We all know the statistics-73% of American children can't find France on a map,...".

My fingers are trembling too much to complete that sentence for you, or offer you the most disturbing fact of all: Geography is no longer a class at UN International School. And, I wasn't kidding when I said that I was physically sick. And, I have a really early morning.

For all of these reasons, I can only propose that you pick up the book for yourselves. That's The Best American Travel Writing 2009. And, when you do, I ask you to consider the following questions. Are they right? Do we even need to teach Geography? I mean, according to someone I mentioned my concerns to, why would U.S. citizens need to know of other nations, when we have everything we need for basic survival right within our own borders? Why do we need it? Is it even important that your child can shout, "I know where that is!" and point at a map, when great-grandmother says, "We are Irish"? If it is important, who's to blame for this course's absence? And, should we play the blame game in this situation?

With my head spinning with the French cold remedy, Fervex (French cold, French medicine...wait, I take it for U.S. bred colds too!), I bid you all, good contemplating, wherever on the world map you are! Wait, you know, correct?

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