Friday, February 20, 2015

Geography Lessons

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

After Tina Maze and Anna Fenninger won their second gold medals, we sent one of our intrepid reporters into the stands in Vail and Beaver Creek to see what US ski racing fans knew about Slovenia, Liechtenstein, and Austria. Double gold medalists Tina Maze and Anna Fenninger are from Slovenia and Austria respectively. But why Liechtenstein? At the award ceremony for the Super-G race, the announcers didn't realize that 6th place finisher Tina Weirather is from Liechtenstein and not Austria. We won't be describing the people who talked to our reporter because they did not want to be identified even by gender or age. Let's find out what US racing fans had to say about European geography.

BB: What do you know about Slovenia?
Person #1: It's part of the former Soviet Union. 
BB: It's actually part of the former Yugoslavia. Where is Liechtenstein?
Person #1: I would imagine that it's somewhere in Europe.
BB: Good enough.

BB: Name three famous people or things from Austria.
Person #2: Let's racers, kangaroos...I can't think of anything else. 
BB: What would you say if I told you that the only kangaroos in Austria are in zoos?
Person #2: That seems awfully cruel to those poor kangaroos. They should be allowed to go free so we can see them in their natural habitat.  

BB: Tell me about Slovenia.
Person #3: It's the country that went to war with Freedonia. 
BB: That's Sylvania. You do realize that both Freedonia and Sylvania are not real countries?
Person #3: Are you sure? I saw a movie about a war between those two countries.
BB: That was an old Marx Brothers movie called "Duck Soup," which was fictional.

BB: Is Liechtenstein a large or small country?
Person #4: With a name like that, it must be very large.

BB: Name a famous person from Austria.
Person #5: Crocodile Dundee!
BB: He's Australian, not Austrian. 
Person #5: Is there a difference?

BB: Tina Maze put her country of Slovenia on the map with her two gold medals. Tell me what you know about Slovenia.
Person #6: It's the place where Borat is from.
BB: Borat is from Kazakhstan. He and Tina Maze do have something in common because they both made the world aware of their countries. But Kazakhstan and Slovenia are far away from each other. 

BB: Name three famous people or things from Austria.
Person #7: Um...mountains, Mozart, and Bruno.
BB: Bruno is a character played by Sacha Baron Cohen. But I'll accept that answer  because Bruno is technically Austrian.

BB: What do you know about Liechtenstein?
Person #8: It's an Austrian colony. That's why they said that Tina Weirather is from Austria.

BB: What language do people in Slovenia speak?
Person #9: Slovenian.
BB: That's correct. What about in Austria?
Person #9: German
BB: That's also correct. What do they speak in Liechtenstein?
Person #9: Liechtensteinian. 

BB: What is the capital of Austria?
Person #10: Vienna
BB: Correct. What is the capital of Slovenia?
Person #10: Um.....Budapest?
BB: That's the capital of Hungary. The capital of Slovenia is Ljubljana. What about the capital of Liechtenstein?
Person #10:  Liechtenstein City?
BB: It's Vaduz. 

BB: Name a famous movie that takes place in Austria.
Person #11: The Sound of Music
BB: Right! At the end of that movie, the Von Trapp family escapes by hiking over the Alps into Switzerland. Can you really go from Salzburg to Switzerland over the Alps?
Person #11: Yes. They wouldn't have put that in the movie if it wasn't true. 
BB: The Von Trapps actually took a train to Italy and then took a boat to America. If they went over the mountains from Salzburg, they would have ended up in Nazi Germany. 
Person #11: I think you're wrong. The movie is correct.
BB: At the end of the movie the Von Trapp family is hiking over the Alps without backpacks, warm clothing, food, or water. Maria is wearing high heels. Was that also real?
Person #11: No, it was a movie! It's called artistic license.

BB: Do you know where Slovenia is?
Person #12: Of course I do. I passed through it on my way to Vail.
BB: Oh really? Did you fly to Vail from Europe?
Person #12: No, I drove here from Los Angeles.

Our intrepid reporter also showed people a world map and asked them to find Austria, Slovenia, and Liechtenstein. Half of the people were able to find Austria, while the other half pointed to Australia. When asked to find Slovenia, people pointed to: Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Suriname, and one person even pointed to South Dakota. Liechtenstein was even harder. About 60% of the people questioned said that it does not exist since they could not find it. Twenty percent pointed to either Lesotho or Latvia. The other twenty percent said that Liechtenstein was too small to be shown on a map.

There you have it! And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive report. 

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: None of the people surveyed would make it as a Blickbild reporter. Our reporters have to pass a geography test before they are hired.

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