Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
|World According to Americans|
Title text: It's not our fault we caught a group on their way home from a geography bee. And they taught us that Uzbekistan is one of the world's two doubly-landlocked countries!
There’s a somewhat well-circulated image on the internet entitled “The World According to Americans” which plays on the stereotype of the ignorant American. In it, the entirety of Eastern Europe and most of Asia are entitled “commies” and the Middle-East as “evil-doers,” and so on. Later, other people created similar maps to re-do the concept. It later spread to other cultures. This comic is an anti-joke playing on that idea. You expect to see something which plays on the stereotypes that exist in American culture of various parts of the world. However, instead, the map is remarkably well-informed. The title-text expands on the joke.
A few notes about things written inside the map:
- In the Mercator projection, Greenland is larger in area than South America, but the latter is actually eight times bigger. Even in the Robinson projection used in the comic, Greenland is "still too big" — and the Gall-Peters projection, which fixes this, is not particularly pretty. See comic 977 for more on map projections.
- On December 26, 2006, a huge earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia, causing severe tsunamis. December 26, the day after Christmas Day, is celebrated as Boxing Day in the UK, Canada, Australia, and some other English-speaking countries, but not the US. BBC News is part of the British Broadcasting Corporation and thus uses the term "Boxing Day."
- Risk is a board game played on a map of the world, where players own territories and battle each other for world domination. The person in the comic admits to knowing Kamchatka Peninsula only from the territory "Kamchatka" in the game.
- Papua New Guinea appears to be misspelled.
A landlocked country is a country that does not border any major bodies of water. Furthering the concept, a doubly-landlocked country is a country that not only has no connection to water, but is only bordered by other landlocked countries. As the title text states, there are only two such countries in the world (as of 2012): Uzbekistan and Liechtenstein.
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NB: Paupa (sic!) New Guinea
Leob (talk) 20:10, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
- You're right, there's a typo in the comic! Good catch ;) --Waldir (talk) 17:10, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
98% of American's would only be able to locate about 4 countries so this is way too generous ~JFreund
Made a typo with Phillipines. It's Philippines. @JFreund No stereotyping, please. I can list 51 or 52 countries and I'm not even in middle school. Add a bit more thinking and I've got to 58.Randomperson4000 (talk) 01:59, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
@JFreund: That's not true... I'm a seventh grader who can't stand geography for the life of me, yet I can name a good twenty or so.
And as a very very simplified example, most fifth graders can easily name America (duh), Mexico, Canada, Russia, and England.
That is rather, for lack of a better term, racist of you. ~jazz14456
@jazz14456 Well for comparison I'm an seventh grader from europe(We call it year eight there) and I can name 64 off the top of my head, that's 320% more. Therefore the point of the comic and @JFreund 's point still stand. ~Samarthwiz
- Your brand of negativism, as well as the additional above, does nothing to advance any sort of constructive dialogue. Please check your misconceptions, generalizations, and inaccuracies about entire populations at the door. They're not welcome in communities of thinking people. Orazor (talk) 12:25, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
- While the petty point scoring is of no value, it is worth noting that Europeans have an advantage when it comes to the trite 'How many countries can you name' or 'How many countries have you visited' competitions. You can quite easily spend a day driving through Europe and visit (drive through) 5 countries. As an example: England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany. The fact that an American can do this across different states, or may be able to name all 50 states in addition to however many countries, or have travelled far and wide within the states doesn't seem to carry any weight. --Pudder (talk) 14:03, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
- I wholeheartedly agree. They are regions with their own flags and laws and geography too only one slight criticism is that most of them call it America. So they want to be classed as an whole continent or two, a country that is more correctly called the USA and they want credit for knowing where Delaware or Rhode Island is.
I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 18:48, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
BTW, the Robinson drawing in the comic is much too accurate to be pure freehand. He probably used tracing or grid point marks. -- Frankie (talk) 21:46, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
- Randall considers this to be 'good at geography'?! They only named, like, 30 or so countries... There's 197!* 18.104.22.168
It's probably sarcasm too that "Tibet" is incorrectly labelled on Xinjiang. 22.214.171.124 01:20, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
"Aral sea (??Toane" is probably "Aral sea (gone)" 126.96.36.199 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- This is a wiki. Edit it in yourself next time (done it for you this time).188.8.131.52 05:32, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
I added some comments/explanations. The distance between Afrcia and USA was measured by google maps. I tried out several spots. If someone finds a shorter distance, fell free to correct :) Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 08:01, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
The annotation regarding the poor labelling of Africa needs more/better explaining, especially what it means by it 'speaking volumes'. Although I've put that it lends weight to the 'Ignorant American' viewpoint, my feeling is that there is actually a more widespread ignorance amongst the rest of the world towards Africa (in general, not just geographically). While I could probably name a few more countries in Africa, I wouldn't be able to place them within the continent. I have an average knowledge of world geography, but the big hole in my knowledge would definately be Africa, and I suspect that the majority of people I know would say the same. I could come up with all sorts of theories as to why it is Africa I know so little about, but this comment is already too long! --Pudder (talk) 13:49, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
- Done, I think. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 17:47, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure if it's necessary to include all the other not yet mentioned/explained areas, such as Western/Eastern Europe and others. We could make lists of which countries belong to that regions similar to the "Various former soviet states"-area, but that would simply result in a list of all nations of the world. If you agree, we could remove the incomplete-tag, I think. If not... well... there are a lot of countries ;) On the other hand, I'm not quite sure, if the colors may have a special meaning... But I think most likely not. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 17:47, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
- I've added a bit more detail on the title text. Personally I don't think we need to add all the labels, unless there is something specific on this comic which can be explained about that label. Like you say, it would turn into a list of countries with no relevant additional information. As far as colours go, I can't see any obvious pattern behind their assignment. I vote we remove the incomplete tag, in my view any other additions serve to enhance the article rather than to complete it. --Pudder (talk) 09:23, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
The opening paragraph is inaccurate; the comic satirises portrayals of American geographical ignorance (X% of Americans can't locate Y on a map!) rather than jokey maps about cultural stereotypes.184.108.40.206
09:56, 13 October 2015 (UTC)