June 5th, 2010

Teaching History

The teaching of history in schools is hugely controversial.  Rightwing people want it to be all about Nelson and Churchill. Leftwing people want it to be all about the slave trade and the chartists.  Apparently the current solution is to dodge aside from the fire fight and make it all about Hitler- because everyone can agree about the rights and wrongs of him.

Quite apart from the politics- or the lack of a "common culture" as Martin Kettle has it- there's the problem of just how much history there is to teach- 3,000 years of it and counting (that is if you don't include prehistory, which archaeology is making less and less opaque).  So your grandkids know lots about Martin Luther King and nothing about Martin Luther? Yup, that's bad- but would you really want it the other way round? And where are you going to find time in a highly pressurized curriculum to make sure they learn about both? 
Are there things that should absolutely be in the syllabus?  Probably. But I don't know what they are, because I can think of so many.

Forza Francesca

I wanted Stosur to win- simply because I thought she'd earned it by beating Henin and Williams- but on the day all the fire and intelligence were on the other side of the net. Schiavone made Stosur look clumsy. It was a remarkable win.
Remarkable too because of Schiavone's age, her nationality- and because no woman seeded outside the top ten has won at Roland Garros since I don't know when. She was electrifying on court and her enjoyment of her victory was infectious. 

I'm sorry for Sam, but she'll have other chances.

Viva L'Italia e viva Francesca!

Vincent And The Doctor

We'd all like to do that for Vincent, wouldn't we!

I rate episodes of Dr Who by the degree to which they move me. This one moved me to tears- and goes straight into my top ten.

Tony Curran- lovely. And what a deft touch to have Scottish= Dutch.

Bill Nighy- clever casting.

Loved the chicken monster.

Just one criticism: that churchyard- with its yew trees and 18th century box tombs- could only be English/Welsh.