Feb 8, 2007

American exceptionalism strikes again

The past few weeks seem like they've been high season for the "we're just different... and better" segment of the American journalism and pundit class. You know the attitude: the one that makes us think every worldwide phenomenon is confined inside the U.S.'s borders, or it's cousin: the belief that every popular American phenomenon must automatically be exalted by those dirt-farming foreigners.
Recently Peter King, an NFL columnist for Sports Illustrated, explained how great the weekend's games were by pointing to them as the reason the NFL is the world's most popular sport. Yet amazingly, the Super Bowl's TV ratings are only a fraction of estimated worldwide ratings for the World Cup Final. Is it possible that America's Big Day isn't really that big a deal outside our country? Maybe.
Then today an interesting story came over the AP wires about remains of a prehistoric human found in Kenya. According to the story, the skeleton is at the center of a debate in Kenya over the theory of evolution:

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Deep in the dusty, unlit corridors of Kenya's national museum, locked away in a plain-looking cabinet, is one of mankind's oldest relics: Turkana Boy, as he is known, the most complete skeleton of a prehistoric human ever found.

But his first public display later this year is at the heart of a growing storm -- one pitting scientists against Kenya's powerful and popular evangelical Christian movement. The debate over evolution vs. creationism -- once largely confined to the United States -- has arrived in a country known as the cradle of mankind.

Does the AP really think that the debate over evolution is "largely confined to the United States"? I know we're the lone superpower, but maybe someone should tell the AP that other cultures do debate the big questions, too. After all, Darwin himself wasn't from Cleveland.

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