Crane falls in India: A thought about geography lessons and missed opportunities

Tucked into the news this morning, in the midst of seemingly endless Michael Jackson news and the confirmation hearings of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, was a quick story about cranes falling over in India. The cranes were being used to clean up the debris caused from a flyover that had collapsed.

It wasn’t that a flyover had fallen, or that cranes had tipped over that had caught my attention as much as the words “in India.” If you’ve ever looked on a map, you know just how big India is. As a person who lived there for two years and managed to see quite a bit, even according to Indians, I can vouch for the diversity and expansiveness. As much as I saw, I only saw a fraction of what India has to offer.

When the bridge collapsed in Minneapolis on August 1, 2007, the news didn’t say that a bridge collapsed in the United States. The specific location was noted. I would bet that when the news about that bridge was announced in India, The word “Minneapolis” was part of the footage.

It can’t be that the name of the city would take up that much extra time? Or that people in the United States wouldn’t be interested in the particular name of the city in India. It’s one I would hope they’d recognize if they heard it. One would hope. It’s the capital.

New Delhi. That’s where the tipped over cranes are—along with the collapsed flyover and the six people who died because of the first mishap. With the cranes collapse, four people were injured. Here’s the article about the accident in the Times of India.

Perhaps the reason why Americans, like Kellie Pickler, for example, do so poorly in geography quizzes is that opportunities to educate us get lost in the shuffle of other news. Michael Jackson, from what I’ve heard, took loads of Xanex. And in case you didn’t know, Neverland is in California, and Michael isn’t buried there–supposedly.