More exam bloopers
[Purportedly taken from an article in the Chicago Tribune.]
Professor Anders Henriksson, dean of history at Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, W. Va., has made a sport of com- piling his favorite bloopers from what he swears are real history exams and term papers, such as:
"Hitler's instrumentality of terror was the Gespacho."
"The Civil Rights movement in the U.S.A. turned around the corner with Martin Luther Junior's famous 'If I had a hammer' speech."
"Revolters demanded liberty, equality and fraternities."
"John Calvin Klein translated the Bible into American so the people of Geneva could read it."
More recently, during the Carter administration, according to another student, the U.S. faced the "Iran Hostess Crisis."
He gets a kick out of another gem sure to send educators around the bend: "Joan of Arc was famous as Noah's wife."
Or: "China has so many Chinese that forced birth patrol became required. This is where people are allowed to repro- duce no more that one half of them elves."
"You talk to anyone who has taught and they have read this kind of prose," Henriksson said. He stitched hundreds of such gaffes into a slim volume, "Non Campus Mentis: World History According to College Students," which has sold briskly in the few months it has been out. In December the book made the Top 10 on the New York Times Advice, How to and Miscellaneous bestseller list.
One generational change Henriksson does see is an increase in the numbers of students whose gaffes indicate they have not read enough to realize that they have misheard common expressions.
"I don't know how many students said 'took it for granite' or misuse a common catch phrase like 'the final straw in the camel's pack.'"
But one warning for history students who will be winging it come next exam time. Henriksson is considering a sequel.
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