Geographic illiteracy (& Transformers) explained

Why don't Americans know their geography or history? A big part of the problem is institutions like Crossroads School, the super-exclusive K-12 in Santa Monica where Hollywood stars send their kids. Transformers director Michael Bay is a Crossroads alum, which may help to explain the geographic illiteracy endemic in his films.

Steeped in the religion of post-modernism, Crossroads teaches that right answers aren't really important. Here are actual quotes straight from their web site. You won't believe this:

--We believe that the process of learning is more important than the product or “right answer”
--We view students as thinkers with emerging theories about the world rather than as recipients of knowledge from the teacher.
--We believe that students learn from one another and from the world around them rather than solely from the teacher.

This explains why Crossroads graduate Michael Bay dropped Israel from the map in Transformers 2... he wasn't pressured to worry about all those silly facts in school. I can almost hear the teacher telling little Michael, "If you don't think Israel is a country, that's fine. And if you think 2+2=5.... that's your right as an empowered person." So we can't really blame Michael Bay for errors like putting Washington DC in Illinois. The blame begins at places like Crossroads—the school that is prepping the famous of tomorrow (like alum Spencer Pratt).

If you don't see the shortcomings of the Crossroads approach to education, imagine this... let's say you are looking for a doctor to do your heart surgery. Would you want a surgeon trained at a medical school that espouses the Crossroads philosophy? Imagine Crossroads Medical School... "where we believe that students learn from one another and from the world around them --not from an experienced surgeon. We encourage surgical students to cut where it feels right... and develop their own modes of surgical expression unhindered by traditional knowledge." 

In fairness, the teachers at Crossroads are all probably nice people who think they are doing the right thing. They actually believe that indoctrinating kids in the "there-is-no-truth" philosophy of post-modernism is a good thing. I would argue that there are facts. And there is an objective right and wrong. History matters. Autobots are good and Decepticons are bad (At least Michael Bay got that one right!)


  1. What's the deal with you and Michael Bay? I dislike him as much as the nexy guy, but this is the third blog post you've written about him. Now, you want to imply the geographic errors in his movies are the result of going to some hippy-dippy school in California. Really?! Where's your disdain for the rest of the people involved in the production of those movies?

  2. I enjoy this blog because it is one of the best sources for geographic trivia, which I love. However, I think a rant about alternative education models is out of place and in poor taste.

    The medical school example is a bad one because surgeons have an ongoing obligation to update their knowledge based on new research and make judgement calls on what may apply to a particular patient.

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