Emily and Phoebe

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Jesus Chr-

Me: "I wish you wouldn't say that darling."

Phoebe: "What? I only said Jesus Chr-"

Me: "I know what you said, my love, and you don't need to repeat it. But some people might not like it if they hear you saying it."

Phoebe: "But what's wrong with saying Jesus Chr-"

Me: "You don't need to say it again."

Phoebe: "But you say it!"

Me: "Well, it's different for grown-ups. Grown-ups do all sorts of things they oughtn't to. But little girls shouldn't say things that might upset people."

Phoebe: "I still don't know what's wrong with saying it. It's not like swearing."

Me: "No, but some religious people think it's worse than swearing. You'd never hear Pappous saying something like that, would you?"

Phoebe: "No..."

Me: "But if you must say it, at least get it right. It's 'Jesus Christ Almighty'."

Phoebe: "Not Jesus Christ O'Mighty?"*

Me: "No, darling."

Phoebe: "Oh..."

* Though even as we speak, Dan Brown may well be penning his latest 'novel', Jesus of Limerick, in which the Vatican attempts to suppress the truth about the Redeemer's Irish roots...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Meanwhile, in Europe...

This is a handout that Emily's class (sixth grade of primary school) were given for History. It is a summary of a four-page introduction in their History book, giving some essential background for this year. Now take a look, and be honest, how much of this did you have a passing knowledge of at the age of eleven? And do you think it's reasonable to expect kids of that age to learn this sort of abridged version of history? I must say that I have my doubts...

"Europe in the modern* era

While Greece was enslaved by the Turks**, in Europe:

The use of gunpowder became widespread.

Daring voyages of exploration took place.
(Columbus -> America, Magellan -> circumnavigation of the globe)

Printing was invented by Johannes Gutenberg.
(The first printed book was the Bible)

The Renaissance begins in Italy.
(A flourishing of art, science and literature)

The Reformation.
(Many educated people refuse to accept the Pope's authority*** and the Western church is split)

The Enlightenment
(Intellectuals attempt to awaken people to an awareness of their rights.)

The French Revolution (1789)
(Liberty! Egality! Fraternity! Abolition of the monarchy.)

Napoleon Bonaparte
(Emerged from the French Revolution, led the French army to victory in a series of wars, defeated at Waterloo in 1814 by the European monarchies that had allied against him,**** downfall commemorated by Abba in 1974 Eurovision Song Contest winner*****)

Holy Alliance (1815)
(Created by the European monarchies to prevent revolutionary movements in Europe. Engineered by the Austrian Metternich."

* "Modern" is obviously a relative concept here.
** Subtext: "Look at everything that Greece missed out on because we were under the Turksih yoke."
*** Note the sideswipe at the Pope, here.
**** What? No mention of the Duke of Wellington? What anti-British propaganda is this?
******OK, I made up that bit up.