Flunking history, too

A few weeks ago, we shared an item about how fewer students these days are pursuing English degrees, and asked about their value in a digital world. Mail is still arriving.

This letter came in from Mike Self: “As the possessor of a BA in History — another degree that at least on the surface seems as ‘useful’ as one in English — I’m a great believer in George Santayana’s well-known quote, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’

“Ignorance of history is nearly as egregious as ignorance of correct English usage. I was appalled last week when none of the three — presumably extremely knowledgeable — ‘Jeopardy’ contestants could not answer the Final Jeopardy question: ‘Identify the war in which a battle between the CSS Alabama and the USS Kearsage took place.’

“Wasn’t ‘CSS’ and ‘Alabama’ enough of a clue? Perhaps not as egregious as all those non-possessive possessives, but in its (not it’s) own way just as sad.”

No argument here. Any Civil War buffs want to weigh in? Email rrollins@coxohio.com.

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