Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ignorance of geography - part 568
We need a pithy term for ignorance of geography, something analogous to illiteracy or innumeracy. Ignogeographic? Map illiterate? Lost?

Our latest example of geographic illiteracy comes to us courtesy of The New York Times editorial page (I scanned it from my hard copy, the original might be hidden behind their pay-per-view wall). This map is part of an illustration by Guy Billout to an opinion piece. The border that is displays are over fifteen years out of date. The two Yemens united in 1990 and Jordan gave up all territorial claims to the West Bank in 1988.

I suppose an argument could be made that this illustration is supposed to be art, not information. Artists can't be expected to keep track of details like which countries still exist in the world. However, if that argument was made, I would reject it. Art conveys information just as surely as photos and graphs. It's no crime if an illustration to a news piece lacks information, but it is a crime if it conveys incorrect information. Maybe The New York Times should send a new atlas to each of their artists as Christmas present.

No comments: