I brooded about Clayton Cramer's gal who didn't know that the U.S. had a Civil War. The trouble with history is that in all those times and places too many different things happened. Historians who know about them like to inflict on us Valley girls too many of them. The solution is to merge lots of politically similar events, people and things to give a coherent, inspiring and politically correct picture. Here's a try at the history of America looked at from 1992.

History for Valley Girls

Invasion of America by Dead White European Males

When Columbus and the Pilgrim Fathers landed in Manhattan, they stole it, cherries included, for $24. Then they marched to California to enslave the Indians and get the gold, oppressing the Pilgrim Mothers all the way. In Denver, California they imprisoned Montezuma and Sitting Bull in a convenient dungeon. However, an African-American named Abraham Lincoln tunneled into the dungeon and freed the slaves. Lincoln was later killed by a ball fired from a literary canon built by the dead white European males. Subsequently the canon was spiked by Stanley Fish.

I suspect that this is not quite enough history for a two semester course, and I solicit suggestions for its extension. However, it is very important not to overload young minds, so the present version should get a five year trial before material is actually added.

My company Memorable History, Inc. has trained consultants to help school boards initiate the program. We also have educational materials such as T-shirts, historical bubble gum and a video game about Abraham Lincoln and the dungeon. The student can not only free the slaves but also get the canon away from the Dwems.

The particular history given above is especially suited to educating children about who benefits from the fuss about the present anniversary. In another eight years we will replace it by one that will explain who benefits from the 2000th anniversary of someone's birth. Can't say who on a terminal paid for by the U.S. Government.

Formerly people believed that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were two different people, but people were merely confused by a long English style name George Abraham Lincoln Washington. Even two different birthdays were celebrated. The Government didn't learn that they were the same person till the late 1970s.

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Send comments to mccarthy@stanford.edu. I sometimes make changes suggested in them. - John McCarthy

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