Quick: What Do You Think Of When I Say 'Nigeria?' : Blog Of The Nation Blog Excerpt
NPR logo Quick: What Do You Think Of When I Say 'Nigeria?'

Quick: What Do You Think Of When I Say 'Nigeria?'

PCWorld's got a great feature, "10 Things the Internet Has Killed or Ruined (and 5 Things It Hasn't)." A few items are somewhat predictable -- spelling, sex -- but the best are worth a chuckle. Like #3, "Your Old Flame." Now, instead of pining and wondering and wishing, you can check out his or her profile online, and learn "they're just as old and fat as you are." And #7, "Nigeria's Reputation."

Once upon a time Nigeria was a sovereign African nation whose primary export was oil. Now its primary export appears to be bogus e-mail messages seeking people to help ex-government ministers steal millions of dollars. The country's name has become synonymous with advanced-fee fraud e-mail missives, better known as "419 scams," after the section of Nigerian law that they violate.

If I dig way back into the recesses of my brain, I do remember learning about Nigeria's exports in elementary school. But now, if I was to do free association prompted by the word Nigeria, yup. E-mail scams.

#6 on the PCWorld list is "Listening to Albums." Of course, they're right. But let me take this opportunity to call your attention to the exception that makes the rule: NPR Music's Exclusive First Listen. The awesome NPR Music people here stream entire albums before they're available for sale, and each time a release catches my eye, it soon captures my ears and attention for a full hour or so as I listen to every track, in order. It feels old school, but it's also inherently modern. So thanks for that, NPR Music... And the Internet.