Today's Australian reports:
World War I ended when the Treaty of Versace was signed. True or false?
Have faith, most high school students -- at least those about to hit television screens as contestants in a new history quiz show -- do not attribute the 1919 Treaty of Versailles to an Italian fashionista.
The quiz show Histrionics will be launched on Sydney community television this week, and high school students look certain to show up their parents in the home buzzer stakes.
A collaboration between the NSW History Teachers' Association and the University of Western Sydney's School of Communication Arts, the quiz show is based on the NSW history syllabus and is being billed as a creative way of inspiring students to engage with the curriculum.
The show was launched by former NSW premier and noted history buff Bob Carr yesterday, who threw at his audience some curly trivia challenges he felt sure that nobody could answer.
He was right. Nobody at yesterday's launch, academic or student alike, knew who Harry Truman's vice-president was.
I'm a history buff too, albeit nowhere near as noted as Bob Carr, yet I can't see why 21st century Australian history students should be expected to know who Harry Truman's vice-president was. If "the quiz show is based on the NSW history syllabus and is being billed as a creative way of inspiring students to engage with the curriculum" I'd like to know the contents of that syllabus and the degree to which it emphasises kmowledge of facts as opposed to understanding of broad historical changes.
Bob Carr claims elsewhere in the article that when he was Premier of NSW he, unlike his more acquiescent counterparts elsewhere, resisted pressure to abolish history as a discrete discipline. For that he deserves recognition, and perhaps even a little indulgence for promoting what looks like a frothy diversion.
PS. The Oz doesn't answer the question it poses about Harry Truman's vice-President. I didn't know the answer: if you are curious it is here .