Sunday, January 13, 2013

Billy Joel and High School: One of These Really Needs the Other

I plugged a flash drive into my car's stereo system the other day, and a golden oldie cycled through yesterday:  Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire."  You guys know this one, right?

It made me kids these days even know what the heck this song is talking about?  Studebaker, Rosenbergs, h-bomb?  How many graduating seniors could take the lyrics of this song and present even a rudimentary knowledge of the people or events they're referring to?  I watch segments like Jay Leno's "Jaywalking," where people can't even identify Washington DC on a map, or tell the difference between Washington and Lincoln.  How in the hell is this song going to mean anything to someone who thinks the Gettsyburg Address was delivered during World War II?

Granted, I might not even have been able to parse all the references in this song in my senior year, and I was up to my armpits in AP classes.  But it seems like a killer idea for a history class final or project.  How awesome would it be to hand out lyric sheets to a class and have them learn what actually happened in the last half of the 20th century?

Plus, the song still kicks ass, so you'll always be entertained.  Take a personal challenge and see how many of these places or events you know.