Don’t Know Much About… #JusJoJan

Sam Cooke, “What A Wonderful World”…

KL Caley, of new2writing, chose “history” as the Just Jot It January prompt for today.

There are those (usually history majors, particularly those with advanced degrees) who say that “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” And yet, history is the story of the same mistakes being made time and time again. Duh.

Now, does that mean we shouldn’t learn about the past? No. I love to learn about the past. I spend a lot of time learning about it. Granted, it’s about TV, radio, music, and baseball, none of which actually qualifies as capital-H History. I do plenty of memoir on this blog, telling stories of my past. We did, and still do, a lot of that in my family. I’m interested in genealogy and where I came from. Things like that.

There was a contestant on Jeopardy! named Colby Burnett, who was a history teacher at Fenwick High School in the Chicago area. He said the way he teaches history is from the back of the book forward. In other words, start with things today, and work your way backward, rather than starting with cavemen and working your way forward. The reason, he said, was because he feels that more current history gets ignored because school’s over before he gets there. It makes sense: start with the world today and figure out what happened in the past that caused it.

But that’s just me.

7 thoughts on “Don’t Know Much About… #JusJoJan

  1. I loved family history as a child, but didn’t come to appreciate history as an academic subject until I had a great teacher in 11th grade. Now I like both. The Mister is a history major.


  2. I actually did major in History in college. Sometimes I wish I’d chosen something else;there’s not much in the job market for history majors. Sometimes I wish I’d chose English as my major instead of my minor.


    1. I don’t know many people who can say they chose the right major in college, because tastes and values change over time. I look back and think I’d just as soon not have gone…

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  3. History wasn’t a favorite topic when I was in school because it was mostly rote memorization of dates and events. It has become a favorite topic, now that I can explore the meaning.

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    1. Exactly. World history is a HUGE subject and American history only slightly smaller, and to try to cover all of it in a year is a fool’s mission and results in it becoming an exercise in binge-and-purge. Being able to take a small, digestible hunk and really get into it is great, fun even.

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  4. I was steeped in history as a child. Both of my parents were into it, from an academic perspective and from a family history perspective. Couldn’t escape the topic. Of course now with Trump in the news 24/7, the history of fascism + propaganda is suddenly topic du jour. Who’d have thought we’d be dealing with this again? [My parents, I guess.]

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