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    • ericad16

      The main thing isn’t the ignorance of the geography, it mostly irritates Americans that Brits often follow through with obsessing over American politics which they also don’t understand well. I had people lecturing me on American politics in the uk on a uni exchange program; that I came from Washington, D.C. And might know something didn’t register. polarization tends to make people manipulatable when they overestimate their level of knowledge. To get a decent conversation on American politics I had to find a poli sci PhD student specializing in the topic. I understand people were upset about what was going on( the Iraq war) but quoting stats at me that they did not understand just made them look ignorant and emotional. This is more about communication than geography.

    • ericad16

      people everywhere tend to overestimate their education levels. It can be a bit shocking for Americans (and presumably most people traveling out of their own country) who interact with expats at home to come across people from a foreign country who is more generally educated, but all that really tells us is that we easily mismatch our social class sorting when we are away from home. A bit of culture shock can be healthy if you learn something from it. The Midwest can be strange as it has more of a mix of us political types and economic interests. They are often considered key swing areas in elections. Strategists drill down pretty deep into the voter data, politicians market their branding to what their strategist tells them the voters on the margin want to hear. A lot of it is pretty superficial as everyone has already been primed by the media messaging and culture wars but some people are more informed than others and can reshape the national conversation for a bit before their issue is co-opted. Politicians generally don’t want smart voters, they want voters who are reliable and will get their ass to the polls and fade out after the election. Some politicians are nicer than others.

    • ericad16

      The thing about the US is in the variance. However people who obsess over US policy and think that there is such a thing as the “average American education” without knowing the difference between the expected education levels between social classes and regions, just comes off sounding poorly informed and cocky. Although we are outgrowing this somewhat with the internet, as people who have better access to information are not mentally deficient just ignorant. A lot of these discrepancies existed because many people lacked access to information. That’s changing. Also I did an exchange program in the uk 10years ago. Everyone was an “expert” on the us, but no one understood what was going on. A lot of the Brits were just emoting over what they perceived, I got on better with the Africans in my hall as they were better at understanding complexity. not all the Brits were ignorant, many were quite smart. It was just a polarized environment. People tend to split off into tribes in stressful environments like when I was there in the beginning of the Iraq war. It might say as much about psychology as the education system. Also I confused one of the hipsters. After we both agreed that the American news was propaganda, he didn’t understand why I still read my local news rag ( for details) and didn’t switch to that of the local newspapers although when i had extra money I was perfectly happy to read the British propaganda too. It is just I was getting the American papers online for free. I honestly think it just confuses people in general when I say that I’ve got to read my propaganda sources. No one appreciates the humor.

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