Histories can be telling. Especially when they are told by the mainstream American media.
The country of concentrated wealth also has the knowledge distribution centralized and no wonder from John Stewart to Michael Moore, the public humorists often cite how many Americans think Canada is another Hawaii (but now since they are required to carry passports to Niagara Falls, some among them have started believing Canada is a separate country)! Indeed, in a recent chat conversation, a woman from California asked me where I was chatting from? “Maryland”, I said. “You are funny. Mary-land? Ok now, tell me which state?” She of course took offence when I asked if she knew where Washington DC was. She knew where DC was….so ok, now gotcha.
Next incident may sound even more incredible. While buying fresh fish at Whole Foods in Silver Spring, our man at the counter asked me, “So are you from Argentina?” No, I said. I am from India. “Yeah but where are you originally from?” I wondered about that, since from experience I knew it’s difficult for some Americans to believe “immigrant-looking” people to be Americans. Hence I did not say him that I was from a nearby city called Adelphi, but that I had actually come from India to do the shopping. “You know although I stay in Maryland, I am originally from India,” I reiterated. He was not buying that. “Oh, Indiana! You look so much different”. No, not Indiana. I am from India—India as in a country. In Asia. India—the computers, the elephants.
He was looking at me puzzled. He had never heard of India (luckily, he had heard of Indiana State.) I was accompanied by my office boss. She did not believe this. “Where has he been hiding all these years, for not to know about India?” I nodded.
Often times one encounters ignorance of mass proportions in the country of concentrated wealth. People still believe that Columbus actually discovered America, that Russians were a bunch of murderers out there to kill every American and that Bush did not lie about Iraq and the WMD.
This week, yet another of the great lies have been incorporated by the most read, most cited mainstream media. Another leaf from the American history-telling. In the next blog.