Requiem for a History major

By Rob Engen

It would seem that every time the university decides to play musical chairs with its budget, it’s the department of History that gets left standing in the cold. While the Psychologists get shiny new driving simulators, the Lawyers get those plush recliner chairs and free cigars after classes, and the Kinesiologists get dates, crestfallen fledgling Historians are permitted a box of chalk–provided that they share amongst themselves. This is because a delightful new emphasis is being placed upon faculties and departments that are grooming their students for important, influential careers that will allow them to make obscene amounts of money.

The department of History is not one of these, since it has long been thought that the only people who knew, or cared, about what Historians accomplished were other Historians. This is, actually, quite true. Writing a dissertation on peculiar Roman sexual habits? Fascinating. Investigating venereal diseases in Louis XIV’s army? Breathtaking. Out to prove that Alexander the Great lived in a circular city at the top of an infinitely high mountain? Sensational. But only to other Historians. The rest of society does not appreciate the value of any of the above, with the possible exception of deviant Roman practices. And only because those involve sex.

Now, this isn’t to imply that the rest of society is composed of wankers, since Historians have traditionally done very little to ply the greater usefulness of their lonely trade to the world at large. Yes, fair readers, some of what we History majors do alone at night in the dark hallways of MacKimmie Library does have value to someone other than ourselves. To prove this, I’ve prepared a short list of practical lessons that history offers everybody else.

Never invade Russia during the Winter

Everyone thinks they’re clever because they know this one. Think of the hundreds of thousands of lives that could have been saved if Napoleon had read about Charles XII, Hitler had read about Napoleon, and the McDonald’s corporation had read about any of them. Russia during the winter is like the Yukon Territory, only with more guns and more vodka. Be mindful, ye Management students bent on hostile take-overs.

Keep a Diary

You never know when an act of genocide will turn your pages of angst-ridden poetry and bitching about final exams into stirring documentary evidence of what Life Just Before “It” Happened was like. (On a related note, the Gauntlet AP section would like to inform all potential submitees that we would be pleased to accept your diary entries for publication, provided that they have narrowly survived a heinous act of genocide and that you, the writer, are now dead.)

Never proposition an angel of God

Remember Sodom? And Gomorrah? Besunk upon some low floor of doom amidst the dull roar of eternity because a bunch of good-old-boys thought some angels might be a good lay. There’s a lesson in that. Somewhere.

Artists are best off dead

The greatest artists in history only receive the recognition that they so justly deserve posthumously. No, it isn’t fair, but society at large just isn’t interested in someone’s blossoming artistic talent until the artist in question has kicked the bucket and had their living space reduced to a confines of a pine box. Any aspiring artist of any medium could become the next da Vinci, so what are you waiting for? Commission your own death today, before we’re forced to steal all your finger paintings and do it for you–that will cost you extra.

Good usually triumphs over Evil.

It just so happens that the forces of Good are the ones writing the overpriced history textbooks you’ve spent $4,400 to be indoctrinated with. Isn’t that odd?

Losing a war with the United States is the best thing that can happen to you

The U.S. is perhaps the first world superpower in history with a guilt complex. Dangle a white flag in front of them and they’ll bombard you with money, supplies, and extensive domestic aid. Canada should be declaring war on them biweekly.

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