June 7, 2011

Everything I will ever need to know to cope in the real world I learned from AP World History

Jerry Bentley, editor of the "Global Traditions"
APWH textbook and my personal hero
(right next to Gandhi and Captain Kirk)
  1. Don’t piss off the peasants. They have feelings. And pitchforks. They will revolt. You will not be happy.
  2. Peasants don’t like it when you refer to yourself as “Sun King” or publically discuss how God gave you the right to be the ruler of the less fortunate or less evolved. It’s kind of a downer.
  3. Mongols are not to be trifled with. They will MESS YOU UP.
  4. Don’t get involved in a land war in Asia (only slightly less well known is to never get into a battle of wits with a Sicilian when death is on the line).
  5. Don’t touch the white man’s daughter. Bad things happen.
  6. Russia is never a good place to invade, especially in the winter. This shouldn’t be news to anyone who has ever played Risk. Is anyone else as frustrated as I am by the complete lack of scale on the Risk game board? The Ukraine is NOT that large, and I don’t think it is possible to paddle a canoe from South America to Africa
  7. Nuclear weaponry beats rock, paper, AND scissors (and lizard and Spock).
  8. If you want to get back at someone, just get their entire country addicted to opium. (When I learned about the Opium Wars in APWH I was genuinely ashamed. That was really uncool, random British traders.)
  9. The oil trade is where it’s at.
  10. Be friends with the biggest guy with the sharpest pointy stick and the best aim (preferably one who ain’t too bright). Chances are he’ll be your leader pretty quickly.
  11. If a fleshy, white guy randomly shows up and tells you that he is your long-lost deity finally returned to earth in human form, don’t give him all your gold. Instead of eternal salvation you’ll probably end up with smallpox or typhus.
  12. Rich people really couldn’t care less whether or not you own that land – if that’s where they want their railroad, then by God that’s where they are going to build that railroad.
  13. Communism: it’s a party.
  14. Quakers make the best of friends.

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