The Doctor Is In

in Poetry

Dr. Wes

Historical Stupidity


Recently I was talking about how I am stupid. I was saying, actually, that everyone is stupid. The trick is to figure out, for each one of us, how. One of the ways that I am stupid is that I suck at history.

I don't completely suck at history. For example, I can be a part of history, no problem. You could in theory go back to certain of those old news tapes of events ("happ'nins") in the sixties and find me. OK, I would be the guy on the edge of the shot looking like I got lost on the way to the chess club, but I'm, like, there.

My problem is, I don't know where there was. In the case of the sixties this makes me good at history, because there wasn't any there there, actually. But it doesn't work for other times.

Mr. Rumsfeld is displaying all the signs of a man whose knowledge of the history of the world consists mainly in knowing how to make blowing up sounds.
I first realized how much I was going to suck at history right at the beginning, when my third grade teacher was explaining to my class that history had to do with things like the Hundred Years War and some French girl who got herself burned at the stake and that that would be on the test. I looked around and I didn't see any charred remains, know what I mean? How should I know this girl got roasted? Then I found out that we were even supposed to know WHEN she got roasted, down to the exact year, and that it was HUNDREDS of years ago, and I knew this history thing was not for me.

One of my big problems with history was figuring out why, when we were talking about battles and what famous people were getting burned at the stake, THAT was history, but when we were talking about, say, ancient customs and what kind of culture they had, our history books were supposed to be closed because talking about culture was some kind of social studies. If history isn't social studies, what is it? I still don't get that.

Sometimes people come along with audio-visual aids that help. So back when Masterpiece Theater showed its TV version of Winston Churchill's book, the First Churchills, I learned a thing or two about history then. I learned, among other things, what papists were, that there were such people as Roundheads, that in the olden days (at least ca 1700) everybody was incredibly erudite, and that there might be worse things than just being burned at the stake, parts of you could be burned separately in front of you. Ouch!

The other thing I learned was that Winston Churchill, a former prime minister of England, who wrote the book, must have been incredibly erudite himself. Or else he couldn't have wrote it.

Speaking of audio-visual aids, I believe Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who also must suck at history but unlike me doesn't know it, has been watching too much of the History Channel. Mr. Rumsfeld is displaying all the signs of a man whose knowledge of the history of the world consists mainly in knowing how to make blowing up sounds. I wouldn't mind but now he's favorably comparing George W. Bush to the afore-mentioned Winston Churchill.

I mean, I didn't know Churchill. He wasn't a friend of mine. But shee-yeah, right.

I'd be less likely to scoff if Rumsfeld wanted to call GW Bush the William McKinley of the new millennium. Not that Churchill wasn't an imperialist in his own day, he was, he was, but I can visualize Bush being McKinleyesque without cracking up.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about in this column. What I wanted to talk about was the art of making blowing up sounds. I don't think it's wrong to be good at making blowing up sounds. I think it's a shame that more people aren't practiced at making convincing explosive noises with their mouths.

I firmly believe that the reason Rumsfeld and Bush want war with Iraq is because they have no buddies to play war with who can make good artillery and blowing up sounds.

I urge everyone who is adept at making blowing up sounds to contact the White House and offer their services in this regard. Thank you.

© Dr. Wes Browning:
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