writer, speaker, content creator

And Now, I Yell About Geography!

In Rants on January 14, 2010 at 9:43 am

I have a problem with Europe. Not that I’ve ever been there or dislike European people or anything. That’s not it. My problem is that I just can’t accept it as a continent.

I mean, really! The word “continent” refers to a big continuous landmass, something like Australia where you can look at it and say “Yup, that given landmass has easily described natural borders. Guess it’s a contient! Yee-haw!” Europe, though, does not have that.

It is a peninsula attached to a much larger landmass, namely “Eurasia” which is a fucking continent. The only reason there is an idea of Europe at all is that a bunch of stuffy white people who were drawing maps at the time probably had a conversation like this:

“Oh my, we seem to be occupying the same major landmass as the Mohommedians and heathen Chinese! Goodness me!”

“Well, we can’t have that, can we old chap? Here, let’s make our own landmass. The Ural Mountains can be the boundary. There we go! We’re all alone now!”

“The Ural Mountains? That would be like dividing North America using the Rockies!”

“Dividing America? That’s silly! Why would anyone want to cut up an obviously continuous geographical area?”

“But you just…”

“I know! We’ll call our new continent ‘Europe’ after the unit of currency we’ll all start using in hundreds of years!”

And there you have it. That’s how Europe came to be known as it’s very own magical and special continent.

One could argue that Europe should be its own continent because it’s culturally distinct from the rest or Eurasia. But if Europe gets distinction based on geography, than Central America should, too, as well as the Middle East. Come to think of it, India ought to be it’s own thing, and central Asia isn’t really Middle Eastern and isn’t really Asian, so the various “-stan” countries should form their own region and call it Stanistan. Brazil is linguistically distinct from the rest of South America, so it should really be separate. The Caribbean is also pretty different from the rest of Latin America, so it can be its own deal. Japan, according to some Japanese douchebags, is the most magical and special place in the world, and, besides, it’s an archipelago, so Japan is now a continent. Greenland doesn’t really belong anywhere, so it should just be its own thing, and given the differences between northern and subsaharan Africa, we should probably divide it, too.

Also, Papua New Guinea can be it’s own deal. It’s not really Asian and not really Oceanic.

Did I miss anything?

The continents, I suppose, are meant to be purely geographic forms, kind of like “mountains” and “lagoons.” Putting cultural distinctiveness into what is supposed to be a purely physical description is, quite frankly, sort of retarded.

  1. Should North and South America be combined, then?

  2. For the record I was taught that India was pretty separate; the whole "Indian sub-continent." Maybe that is what we should do, call it the "European sub-continent."
    Then again, remember how mad people go when Pluto was dropped from the list of planets… this could be ten times worse.

  3. Sometimes, I like it when you rant. It makes me laugh, in an awesome sort of way.

  4. I would posit that North and South America are more geographically distinct than they are together. Likewise, Africa is mostly distinct from Eurasia. Only the thinnest bit of land connected them, land that is now gone thanks to canals. I would suggest (though I can't prove it) that if someone who had never seen a world map before were asked to divide the world into discrete, intuitive parts, they would indeed divide up the Americas and Afreurasia.

  5. So I kind of get where you're going with Brasil as a separate continent, and the phrase 'the continent of Brasil' is indeed quite sexy. It's a kind gesture, but ultimately unnecessary. Brasil will one day fulfill its manifest destiny to stretch from sea to shining sea all on its own, fankyouveddymuch, so 'the Brasilian continent' is inevitable.

    Also, Stanistan? Chock-full of win.

  6. How about we dig a canal on both sides of the Urals? Make it like a big moat.

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