To some people, history is a meaningless subject consisting of events, dates, and dead people (e.g. the Dead White Males from Western Civilization or American History). But the purpose of history is to learn from the past, thus avoiding many errors and tragedies.
Unfortunately, not everyone has grasped the truth. In 2001, Professor Anders Henriksson compiled a list of answers from exams and statements from papers of college students throughout the United States and Canada. He then converted the list into a book titled Non Campus Mentis: World History According to College Students. He wrote a revised edition in 2008 titled Ignorance is Bliss: Mangled Moments of History from Actual College Students. Given the creativity of some of these remarks, it is unclear if the students were being silly, ignorant, or perhaps both.
And here is the list of quotes from Henriksson’s books:
- History, a record of things left behind by past generations, started in 1815.
- Many things in history are inevitable when somebody does something.
- Prehistoric people spent all day banging rocks together so they could find something to eat. This was the Stone Age.
- Civilization woozed out of the Nile about 300,000 years ago. The Nile was a river that had some water in it. Every year it would flood and irritate the land. This tended to make the people nervous.
- Judyism had one big God named “Yahoo.”
- King Minoose became head Cretin.
- Cesar was assinated on the Yikes of March.
- Mary and Joseph went from inn to inn trying to find a place for Jesus to be born, but they were refused everywhere because they were Jewish.
- During the Dark Ages it was mostly dark.
- Medieval people were violent. Murder during this period was nothing. Everybody killed someone.
- Escaped peasants could be free if they went to a city and hid there for a hundred years and a day.
- The French king moved the Popes to Arizona where he could keep an eye on them.
- Man was determined to civilise himself and his brothers, even if heads had to roll!
- Magellan circumcised the glob.
- The Holy Omen Empire soon collapsed like a pack of cards.
- Deism was the belief that God made the world and then stepped on it.
- The Boston Tea Party was held at Pearl Harbor.
- Washington defeated the Allies at Gettysberg.
- The Irish had to imagrate to the United States because of Hitler.
- The Automation Empire remained on the “Sick Bed of Europe” during this time.
- The Civil War began in 1830. Many soldiers repeatedly gave their lives for their country.
- The Russo-Japanese War exploded between Japan and Italy.
- Austria fought the Snerbs.
- The Teapot Doom Scandal was a factor leading to Prohibition.
- Germany invaded Poland, France invaded Belgium, and Russia invaded everybody.
- Wars fought in the 1950s and after include the Crimean War, Vietnam, and the Six-Minute War.
- The Berlin Mall was removed.
- It is now the age of now.
- The main problem in the Middle East today is that there are problems. There would not be all these problems if the West Bank would lend more money to the Arabs and if the Palaced Indians were not so troublesome.
Given these various answers and statements, one can fully grasp the importance of learning history and that students everywhere need to be culturally literate in history (and all other subjects for that matter).