Feature » Back To School

Education Through the Ages



c. 1800 B.C.—Alphabetic writing is first developed in Egypt.

c. 500 B.C.—Formal education programs begin in Egypt. Children are taught, provided they survive slave labor and ravenous crocodiles.

c. 450 B.C.—One of the world's first universities, India's Nalanda University, begins giving degrees to graduates. Parents immediately start pressuring their children to spend tens of thousands of rupees for meaningless pieces of paper.

232 B.C.—The world's first science fair occurs, again in Egypt. For some reason, every kid's science project is one of those stupid-ass pyramids made out of sugar cubes.

211—In China's Han Dynasty, an "imperial examination system" is developed to ensure public officials are sufficiently educated. Eighteen centuries later, George W. Bush is twice elected president of the United States.

507—Books begin to be copied in monasteries. Lewd animations of stick figures doin' it in the margins follow shortly thereafter.

859—The world's oldest university, the University of Al-Karaouine in Fez, Morocco, is established. Its most famous student goes on to make out with that sort of hot Jackie chick that one time on That '70s Show

1600—Throughout Europe, education becomes more common, thanks to taxes paying for schools.

1601—Rich bastards who don't realize that children are our future and we need to teach them well and let them lead the way start complaining about how high their taxes are.

1785—American townships are required to build public schools. As metal detectors are not yet invented, they are the most dangerous places on the planet, and remain so for the next 200 years.

1809—The blackboard is invented. Five minutes later a penis and two testicles are drawn on it when Mr. Hardine leaves his second grade class alone for just like two minutes—seriously it's like he can't even go get a glass of water without those goddamn little shits thinking they're so goddamn hilarious.

1925—High school teacher John Scopes is put on trail for teaching evolution. America splits along religious and scientific lines, with most gradually coming around to science (except for inbred hillbillies in Kansas, Alabama, and other states no one cares about).

1986—Rodney Dangerfield's Back to School is released. All other movies are declared boring and stupid in comparison

1998—I don't go to my senior prom, insisting that it's a "bullshit excuse for all the poseurs to go and be popular and bullshitty, fuck that." Instead, I cry at home, pondering the very real possibility of living and dying utterly alone.

2001—Wikipedia goes live, the world's information becomes rapidly available to anyone with an internet connection, and finding negligible facts to stick in these timeline things becomes like a billion times easier.

2004—At age 82, Rodney Dangerfield dies. His headstone reads "Rodney Dangerfield—There Goes the Neighborhood."

2007—You learn some stuff in the Mercury's Back to School Issue. Specifically, that you really, really want to shop at Macy's.

2008—Cedric the Entertainer stars in a remake of Back to School. No, this isn't some sick joke, check IMDB.com.

2009—I sue Cedric the Entertainer, claiming his name is false advertising.

2010—Cedric the Occasionally Marginally Entertaining Celebrity is forced to pay me $28 million for crimes against humanity/remaking Back to School. I cash the check and throw a kickass party with The Ghost of Rodney Dangerfield. Oingo Boingo puts on one hell of a show.


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