Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The "New" Geography

The German has been in sports heaven for the past few weeks. Because I am more concerned about shut-eye rather than shut-outs, the German has been able to enjoy almost every game of The European Cup Soccer Championship. Watching soccer often puts me to sleep, so I have crashed on the sofa for a few games as well.

Tonight Germany faces Turkey in the first semi-final game. After a few lackluster performances, hopes are high for the German 11 (kind of like Ocean's 11, but not as cool). Tomorrow Russia plays Spain in the second semi-final. It dawned on me yesterday that there could be a Turkey-Russia final. Hmm . . . that does not sound very European to me.

I am pretty good with geography. In fact, I placed 7th in the National Geographic South Carolina State Geography Bee. Yes, I know that admitting this makes me a big fat dork, but let's all move on, shall we? When I was in grade school I remember coloring Turkey with the "Asia" countries, and the then Soviet Union was considered half-and-half (i.e. half-European and half-Asian). Did the books change, and I was not aware? I asked the German what he thought.

"Well, if Israel can win the EUROvision Song Contest, then I suppose everything is Europe."

"Wait, so Israel is a part of Europe? What about say, Lebanon?"

"Nope, Lebanon is definitely not Europe."

This has all got me thinking about geography and politics. By defining a country as "European," it (i.e. the country) gets a boost in its reputation. The European Union is pushing its boarders and there is talk of including countries like the Ukraine. But is there a limit to all of this inclusiveness? Is there a point when we say, "You know what, your country is definitely not on the European continent." The thing is, this is not just a question for geographers but it is also a political one. Saying who can belong to the "European club," can be a touchy subject around here.

Anyway, I have to go teach English now. Someone told me a month ago that "American English" is not real English. The same person also told me that the U.S. have 51 states. Hmm . . . maybe those books have been changed, too.

UPDATE: Germany beat Turkey 3 - 2. After two glasses of wine, I fell asleep and missed the second half, which was apparently the best part.

UPDATE: Spain beat Russia 3 - 0. That makes it a Germany - Spain final. I guess I got all worried for nothing!


Maria said...

When Kevin played in Turkey the first time, I learned that 10% of Turkey is in Europe, and 90% in Asia. However, 90% of the population lives in the European side, while just 10% in the Asian side. To me that just complicates the issue, but provides some interesting insight.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's all very confusing. In fact, it has a tendency to give a person a headache. But when it gets right down to the gnat's whiskers, who really gives a damn. Deep inside, I know everybody is wrong except me anyway. So that settles that. And I love everybody that agrees with me!!


Bek said...

I always learned that the smaller eastern part of Turkey belongs to Europe, the other one to Asia.

Snooker said...

Yes, but is Turkey ready to be part of the European Union with all of the governmental obligations, etc? This is the question of the day.

J said...

These people drive me crazy with what they think is and isn't 'real' English.

Go Spain!

Sally said...

My boss, a German attorney who got his PhD from Oxford, and I once got into a spat because he insisted (and still does) that the US has 52 states (What about Puerto Rico?, he asked?) I told him that though there were 51 capitals (DC being the capital of the US), there are 50 states... Territories do not count. He also told me that Thanksgiving, not Ernte Dankfest... American Thanksgiving was in October and not in November. Good thing I did not tell the family and still got to go home for the holiday a month late in November. I fooled them, huh?!

Some people just think they are know-it-alls.