In which country is Mount Everest?
A clue – it’s not in Europe…
This simple question might provide us with an insight as to why it is that the USA has such a problem understanding foreign policy issues. Yesterday I was stuck in the morning commute on the way to my latest starring performance in a motion picture. I was headed towards a sleazy office in Van Nuys and I was quite excited. Before you assume that I was about to appear in a porno (with a name like Dick you’d think I’d be a shoe-in wouldn’t you?) I must admit that my role was that of a hotel manager called Monty Freedman and there were no buxom lovelies with knee pads scheduled for my appearance on set.
I digress. So I’m in the car and listening to Mark & Brian who are two popular morning drive-time radio hosts who specialize in schoolboy phone stunts and sycophantic interviews with has-been actors. Recently they have been running some kind of competition in which two listeners are bombarded with general knowledge questions and the winner receives the ultimate accolade – a chance to do it all over again the following day. After every morning’s competition the likely lads ask each other left-over questions and of course we, the stuck-in-traffic listening public, can’t help but pit ourselves against the combined brains-trust of Mark, Brian and their lesser paid co-hosts. Which brings us to Question Five.
Question 5: In which country is Mount Everest?
There was a moment of silence and then one of our super panel chirped up: “Austria.”
Austria? They had to be joking right? I nearly drove off the freeway when someone else said: “Switzerland.” The final genius of the airwaves pitched in: “Peru.” No-one in the studio seemed even remotely aware how ludicrous this was. Nobody was close – not even the right continent!
If five vaguely intelligent Americans don’t know where Mount Everest is how can I be surprised that most Europeans feel that the biggest threat to world peace is…the United States?
I shall be conducting a thorough but admittedly un-scientific poll of everyone I meet over the next week or two to see how many people get this simple Geog. 101 question right. I shall report back with the results of my survey. Until then I’ll give you another clue – it’s in Asia.