Because the past week has been stressful here at Firedoglake, and access still can be sporadic and a bit glitchy, I thought we could use a little humor, with perhaps a subtle lesson for us behind the fun. (All images from BuzzFeed.)

It all started when I stumbled on Vox’s 27 hilariously bad maps that explain nothing. After chortling and guffawing over all 27, I settled on #14, It’s Thanksgiving So We Asked Brits to Label the United States.

When BuzzFeed asked a group of Brits to fill out a map of the US, this was one of several disastrous attempts. This tracks with my experience: the redcoats can typically place California, Texas, Florida, and maybe Alaska immediately; they have a vague sense of New York and Chicago; the rest is a total blur.

Here’s one of my favorites, but do go look at all of them:

US Map Labeled by Brits

US Map Labeled by Brits

Lest we all be too smug, it seems that BuzzFeed also featured the results of Americans trying to label maps of both Canadian provinces and European countries, with equally hilarious results.

BuzzFeed asked their almost-entirely-American U.S. editorial team to label the provinces and territories of our Canadian neighbors.

Canada Labeled by BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed Staff Labels Canada

Also, Americans Try To Place European Countries On A Map
I know I wouldn’t do much better than this.

Europe Map Labeled by Americans

Map of Europe Labeled by Americans

All of the labeled maps in the three BuzzFeed articles are laugh-out-loud funny, as is the accompanying commentary. But the subtle lesson here is that most of us have woeful knowledge of the geography of other countries, or even knowledge of our own country that we learned in school but have mostly forgotten. It has to be difficult for us to understand other countries and their ethnic, political, national, or religious makeup if we can’t even accurately identify them on a map. I probably couldn’t. Could you?

A blank US Map is here (first in the listed maps, PDF). See if you can fill in all 50 states accurately.

Here’s an interactive one!



I retired from the University of Notre Dame in the Office of Information Technology in 2010. I'm divorced, with two grown children and 8 grandchildren. I'm a lifelong liberal and a "nonbeliever."