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Oh, my poor country-men and women. Nothing seems to change.

by Rob_Boyter / April 1, 2014 5:48 AM PDT

I wrote a moderately whiny piece about how Americans don't know anything about anything outside the national borders of the US. I was feeling mildly apologetic for it until this afternoon when I watched an old episode of NCIS a programme which I really like because it's smart usually, and clever and makes good word-based jokes and has a remarkably good cast dynamic.

So, Pamela Rinosa, the head of the Rinosa Drug Cartel begun (maybe) by her father who killed Gibbs wife and child, and whom he killed in turn, is on the hunt for Gibbs' father and anyone else close to Gibbs ending up finally with Gibbs himself.

The gloriously dishy Cote de Pablo as Ziva is in Miami. Tony, Abby, Ducky, Palmer and Vance are with Gibbs in the Washington environs along with his father who is confined to Gibbs home with guards outside. McGee is on the Canadian Border, is backed up by Royal Canadian Mounted Police in their red dress tunics and Stetson hats, display uniforms which are never worn on duty unless they're a ceremonial guard for the Queen or a visiting Head of State, and those are only for show. They're also accompanied by horses, the way any 21st Century police force would be. McGee is wearing a profoundly stupid fur hat (not even the Mountie's winter fur gear).

It's September. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say it's the 30th of September. So, the border is being guarded by the RCMP, which means it's the Maine Border with New Brunswick or possibly the Quebec border with Vermont and New Hampshire or the Border with Manitoba, or Saskatchewan or Alberta. If they were the primary Border guards they would be in their normal Navy blue verging on Black uniforms which look like everybody else's police Uniform but with RCMP/GRC on the shoulder patch. GRC is Gendarmerie Royal du Canada. Don't confuse them with the Canadian Border Security folks who are entirely separate.

McGee claims that there is snow on the ground, hence the stupid hat. Now even if you moved the border north from the 49th Parallel to the 60th Parallel (770 miles) where Nunavut and the Yukon start, there wouldn't be snow on the ground at the end of September. If you went another 300 miles north, to the Arctic Ocean or the straits between the mainland and the Islands, there wouldn't be snow on the ground, though a couple of weeks later there probably would be. You'd have to be somewhere 300 miles north of that, on Ellesmere Island to find snow which had fallen and days which were cold enough to keep it frozen.

So the stupidity continues, as does the remarkable insularity and stolid know-nothing-ism which has characterized the US view of the rest of the world continues unabated.

Do you think Anchorage is buried in snow in September? I'm not saying that they may not have had flurries, I'm saying they haven't had they haven't had snow which stays for more than a day or two.


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by TONI H / April 1, 2014 6:02 AM PDT

rather than blame a writer for not doing research (much like liberal journalists who parrot stories across the wire lines rather than investigate for themselves), you would rather blame the entire population for being a bunch of numb-nuts (much like you blanket Republicans/Conservatives/Tea Party members into one radical group out to destroy the US).

OK......yep....I agree....the stupidity continues unabated.

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I'd say there's more than enough stupidity on both sides of
by Rob_Boyter / April 1, 2014 9:17 AM PDT
In reply to: So....

the political equation and the same repetition of dumb slanted stories, though without FoxNews, John Stewart would be making Woody Allen-esque short man jokes. Stories grate more irritatingly based on one's own predispositions. In other words I essentially agree with you, Toni, nor was I looking for a bun-fight.

I didn't invent the truism that Americans are ignorant of all other countries and cultures but their own. Ambrose Bierce as I noted wrote about it in the late 19th Century, and so did Mark Twain, and so did Charles Dickens and the Comte de Tallyrand, and probably everyone who saw the ignorance which prevailed post Revolution. I expect that many of the Founding Fathers found themselves, shaking their heads at the stupid crass and ignorant beliefs that emerged from that conflict.

The idea isn't that one writer made a mistake, it's that a cliche like the one indicated above is still accepted by Hollywood, Television, and American Pop Culture, despite decades of contrary experience. It's a bit like Henny Youngman. Was he ever funny ??? Was the fiction that Canada was permanently covered in snow ever funny? At least people don't show up at the border in August loaded up with Arctic Gear and snow skis any more. Next time you look at the map, that big snowy blob to the right of Canada is Greenland, not Canada. I know they're easy to confuse. Canada is that very large usually pink mass above the United States which shares a border with it, and Greenland is an island covered in snow. Very confusing.

And just so we're clear, having lived in Michigan for a goodly stretch, I really didn't expect the weather to be much different, but Toronto turned out in the 80's to be milder and less snowy than my experiences in Ann Arbor.

I sure hope Schoolkids Records is still prospering. I did my very best to keep them afloat through the 70's single handed.


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It isn't just Americans
by TONI H / April 1, 2014 8:05 PM PDT

Rob who have predisposed ideas of other literally depends on what information the government allows or the schools teach. Look at the assumptions made in places like China or Iran or Russia or Korea where the government controls what the people hear about us and our culture. Some in American may have some cultural ideas of places like Canada incorrect, but I don't believe it's because we're stupid....especially when it comes to movies....I think it's mainly because 'small' errors seen on the screen aren't important enough to us that it takes away from the actual movie itself and unconsciously accept the errors as a writer or director error. This is done out of laziness on the part of people who take liberties with facts in nearly every movie or tv show I watch all the an example...our stupid juries now expect to have CSI type of evidence where there is no 'wiggle room' for reasonable doubt (which is why we end up with so many criminals like Casey Anthony free to roam the earth).

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Sweeping generalizations based on limited exposure

are the womb that births prejudice and bigotry.

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by drpruner / April 2, 2014 5:39 AM PDT

Rob could get a life beyond his keyboard. Happy

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My point is
by Steven Haninger / April 2, 2014 6:15 AM PDT
In reply to: Or...

didn't we have "explorers" who visited foreign lands, got to know the habits of a few folks there and wrote as though the same was true for the larger country? We are all individuals. There is no state or country or even town or city in which everyone feels and acts the same.

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