Skip to comments.Non Campus Mentis: You Won't Believe This Collection of College Essays
Posted on 11/26/2001 6:59:58 AM PST by dukeman
The Berlin Mall and Lessons from the Stoned Age
'History, a record of things left behind by past generations, started in 1815. Thus we should try to view historical times as the behind of the present. This gives incite into the anals of the past."
With these stirring words begins "Non Campus Mentis," an overview of world history according to college students as compiled by Professor Anders Henriksson of Shepherd College, West Virginia, which is located in Southern California right next to Canada.
Or at least it could be if you believe some of the stuff Henriksson has culled from term papers and blue-book exams over the years. The author calls his students' work a "refreshing and daring reappraisal of how we came to be who we are," and there is no denying the fact that their comments not only fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but often leave a big welt.
Let our education begin with the Dawn of Time.
"Prehistoricle people spent all day banging rocks together so that they could find something to eat. This was the Stoned Age."
Skimming the book, I was rather surprised by the important role Canada played in world history, going all the way back to the days of ancient Egypt.
"Babylon was similar to Egypt because of the differences they had apart from each other. Egypt, for example, had only Egyptians, but Babylon had Summarians, Acadians, and Canadians, to name just a few."
The Canadian form of government is not nearly as complicated as I thought.
"Anarchism is a system of government headed by an Anarch. Canada, for example, became an anarchy in 1867."
I also learned some interesting facts about the Cold War:
"Wars fought in the 1950s and after included the Crimean War, Vietnam, and the Six-Minute War. John F. Kennedy worked closely with the Russians to solve the Canadian Missile Crisis."
"Another problem was that France was full of French people. Dickens made this point in 'The Tail of Two Sisters,' which he required us to read."
Fortunately, our good friends the British were able to take care of the problem but not without dooming themselves to a diet of greasy fish and overcooked roast beef:
"The British defeated the French from 1793 to 1815, but at gastronomic cost."
I'm not trying to pick on college students here because I certainly wouldn't want a smart-alecky columnist combing through my old term papers and history exams. When you try to cram a semester's worth of material into one caffeine-fueled all-night skull session, there's bound to be some garbling of the message.
What I did find in "Non Campus Mentis" were many examples of students, through no fault of their own, coming up with incredible historical insights.
For example, one student came up with this explanation of the racial situation in South Africa:
"South Africa followed 'Apart Hide,' a policy that separated people by skin color."
Another student succinctly summed up the rise and fall of colonialism this way:
"Actually, the fall of empires has been a good thing because it gives more people a chance to exploit their own people without outside interference."
And I think I've gained a better understanding of a certain pesky dictator by thinking of him as a cockroach:
"Castro led a coupe in Cuba and shocked many by wiggling his feelers every time there was trouble in Latin America."
Those of you who suspected all along that Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman were one in the same person will be glad to know that "Stalin, Rosevelt, Churchill and Truman were known as the 'Big Three.'"
If you overlook the party conflict, this is as good an appraisal of Hitler as you're likely to find:
"As Nazi leader of a Communist Germany, Hitler was one leader who wanted all for himself and none for all."
But history marches on and it's up to us to get out of the way. As one student so succinctly put it:
"It is now the age of now. This concept grinds our critical, seething minds to a halt."
That's A Sale of Two Titties. DUH!
Yes! Yes! Norm Crosby. There's a name you don't hear very often these days. He always had good, clean routines. I also enjoyed that little nut in tennis shoes, Professor Irwin Corey.
Someone who is lecturing others about their poor knowledge of history should try to get their grammar right.
Google shows us that a huge number of people are using "one in the same", an expression which doesn't even make sense. The original and proper expression is "one and the same".