Why the hell are Americans so stupid?
A caveat: A great many Americans are culturally and geographically literate. Typically, they're people in business, people online (AOL and WebTV users excepted), most (but not all) teachers... these Americans are culturally and geographically literate. With that out of the way, here are some personal theories. (Ain't the Web a great place to vent?)
No, it's not a nefarious Hollywood plot. The vast majority of popular movies and television shows are either set in the US or some bizarre fantasy world. American viewers rarely see other cultures or other countries. Meanwhile, the rest of the world gobbles up this Hollywood crap. The result? People in the rest of the world think they know more about the US than the average American knows about, say, Switzerland. For the most part they're right, although they do form rather weird misconceptions about the US.
2. Lazy parents.
I come from a family of voracious readers, and if you've read this far you probably did too. I've always loved to read. I've also always loved maps, and my parents encouraged this. Kids can easily discover the pleasures of learning about the rest of the world, but too many parents don't give a crap. Their kids are in day care all day, and when they come home Mom is content to plop their butts in front of the television, placated on a diet of Nintendo and bad Korean animation. (Not to pick on Mom, because she works hard. Mom and Dad are usually divorced at this point, if they were ever married in the first place, and Dad is out trolling the bars.)
I am convinced that this is the primary reason why so many of our kids are illiterate and/or oblivious to the world around them. Parents, get off your lazy asses and act as good role models.
3. Nonsense in our schools.
Schools have become warehouses for children, with hassled, underpaid teachers having to spend more time dealing with bureaucratic bullsh**, stupid educational theories (i.e., the Open Classroom concept and "self-esteem"), and disciplinary action than actual teaching. It doesn't help that so many parents don't give a hoot once their kid's in school - the school's simply now a free combination day care/restaurant/medical dispensary/discipline center for them to drop their kids off. Public education is a big suckhole that devours more of our tax dollars each year, so where the hell does our tax money go? It sure doesn't go to the teachers.
So many American kids get no direction in life other than self-gratification. "If it feels good, do it!" seems to be their motto, and since their parents live that way why should they be any different? I've never understood parents allowing their high school-age children to go on "spring break". Spring break is an excuse for children to get drunk without any supervision. It's natural for kids to want to do that. What's NOT natural is that so many parents think it's OK.
5.Perhaps Americans aren't that stupid.
Since the US is an enormous country compared to individual European countries, Americans haven't had to be as "international" as the residents of the many small European countries. While this is changing with the expansion of global trade, most Americans still only deal with other Americans in the course of their everyday lives, as opposed to Europeans who regularly deal with neighboring countries that have different cultures.