Just watched 300 last night. Great cinematography, great action sequences, great plot. All in all, not too shabby of a movie.
On the drive to work today, I was thinking about 300 and the other violent sandal epics. Then I started contemplating how boring all of my history classes were, even in college. Gettysburg Address. check. George Washington and the cherry tree. check. Mayflower. check. Yawn. I mean how many times can we learn about the same thing over and over again in the same, boring way?
I heard about this book called The Dangerous Book for Boys. It's a glorified Boy Scout manual on how to make a fire, how to make a bow and arrow out of a tree, how to kill a zombie (not really, but it should). In any event, the book teaches kids survivor/battle techniques in a fun, cool way. It's getting great reviews and, guess what, boys are actually sitting down to read it!
Then I though up a great idea.
I propose that high schools and colleges teach a History of Violence class. No, not the movie where Viggo Mortensen bangs Mario Bello on the steps. But a real-life class complete with textbooks and a teachers who teach the violent history of mankind including various revolts, riots, assasinations and battles.
Like it or not, wicked brutal acts have shaped our world into what it is today. And a lot of these stories have gone unnoticed. For instance, did you know that American Indians in the Yellow Springs, Ohio, area would torture their enemies including the white man by slowing burning them (literally cooking their insides) for days at a time? Neither did I. But my response is "Cool. Tell me more!"
I don't know about you but I could relate to why the Pilgrims came to the new world a whole lot better if there was a little bit of the old ultra-violence mixed in with the teaching. It makes the class interesting and it makes the learning process FUN. Especially if you're male, like me.
Here are my class offerings:
HoV 101 - Violence in the Roman Empire, Sparta and the Greeks, the Mayans, etc.
HoV 102 - Violence surrounding the crusades, the vikings and the world travelers including Magellan and Columbus. I'm pretty sure Vlad the Impalor would be taught during this class. I'm also forgetting about the Mongol Empire, the Japanese Samurai and the Kingdom of Egypt.
HoV 103 - Violence in Europe (Great Britain, France, Scotland and Ireland) including various uprisings, battles, beheadings and riots. NOTE: I'm sure the Battle for Scottish Independence and the true Knights of the Round table could be inserted into either 102 or 103.
HoV 104 - Historic violence in America (Revolutionary War, Vietnam, Harper's Ferry, slavery, Civil War, riots, famous assinations etc.) and leading up to Columbine, 9/11 and the War in Iraq.
HoV 105 - Violence in the World Wars including juicy tidbits about the Battle of Stalingrad.
In addition to the violent history of Africa, South America and Asia, we could also focus on violence in music from the tribal drums of Africa and why drummers marched in the Revolutionary War to heavy-metal death music and satanism. We could focus on violence in television, books and movies as well. The violent possibilities are endless.
And I would hire my buddy - a history major and avid, bloodthirsty war monger - to help shape the syllabi for the classes. Heck, if he's reading this post right now, I give him permission to take the idea and run with it.
If I was a kid in high school or college and I saw these classes available, I would definitely sign up. Heck, I might even major in it.
Seriously, wouldn't it be cool to tell people you have a PHD in VIOLENCE?