Sri Lankan TV Station Oversimplifies US Geography

Every so often, there is a tweet that will seize my attention and imagination like Americans in the 30s seeing a “World’s Fair.” My latest Unisphere is this tweet from Tuesday by Matthew Graham, taking a screenshot from a Sir Lankan telecast about America.

It is the TV embodiment of, “eh basically.” I imagine this graphic assignment in the station was similar to Lt. Aldo Raine in Inglorious Bastards discussing Italian language proficiency.

“OK, who here is good with American geography?”

{Guy in the back sheepishly raising his hand}

“Alright, perfect, we’re going to need an entire map of the US by memory in five minutes.”

“Can I…can I use Google? I mean I’m not 100 percent on this.”

“No time. I’m sure you’ll get it in the ballpark.”

There are many, many aspects of this map that I enjoy. The first being just how arbitrary the state lines are in the middle of the country. If this were an episode of How the States got Their Shapes, the episode would be eight seconds long and just feature an intern at Channel 12 news in Sri Lanka saying, “eh…I dunno?” I mean, hell, it’s not even the Mississippi River. It kind of is, and then takes a Study Abroad gap year around Arkansas and ends up in Indiana.

The second is that finally someone separated the Upper Peninsula of Michigan from the rest of Michigan. Someone had to do it, right? Sure, it’s not Michigan and Wisconsin, but rather a turf war between north Texas and western New York (basically the Capulets and the Montagues, am I right?). Still, it is one of the most ridiculous territory claims in the continental US that Wisconsin basically got bullied into surrendering a piece of land that is not even attached to Michigan in any capacity. Honestly, I don’t know how Wisconsin even sleeps at night knowing this happened.

I also enjoy how in the lines, there is some idea of, “hey Louisiana (west Florida) Is kind of here….and Idaho (north California) is kind of here” with some of the squiggles, but there is just a deep straight line of, “who the hell cares” right there at the historic New York-Florida border.

I’m curious who is most offended by these lines. Is it New Yorkers for being considered the same state as New Jersey? Is it Californians having Arizona State being an in-state school? How about Texans having to hear Minnesotans create their own Texasota fusion restaurants, “you should try a pop with that brisket dontchaknow?” It’s enough to fill a 10-gallon hat with 11 gallons of rage.

Honestly, the most harrowing aspect of the whole ordeal is if Florida Man caught wind of manifest destiny and started branching outward. If he got to Alabama, fine, South Alabama is basically the Florida Panhandle and vice versa anyway. Mississippi starts getting a little dangerous. But then we start getting hybrids of creoles and Florida Man? That’s a combination frightening enough to make Dr. Ian Malcolm puke.

What happens when Florida Man likes the taste of power and takes CNN in Atlanta? Then, he takes Charleston and all of a sudden, there are airbrushed caricature tees on King Street? The Stage in Nashville won’t feature Florida-Georgia Line, rather just Florida-Florida Line. For years, Florida has been invaded by tank top wearing, thin pizza preaching, abrasive hand-talking New Yorkers like an Italian-American Normandy. How about the Bizarro World that is Florida encroaching upon New York’s turf? That’s enough to make any hairy Brooklynite-in-a-shirt-that’s-too-small shiver.

I guess what I’m truly saying here is that an intern across the world in Sri Lanka owes me a lot of hours of my life back. Frankly, this is why I get all of my Colombo weather and traffic reports from Channel 4, anyway.

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