Archive for November 9th, 2012

An Open Letter…

…To Crash Course World History

Dear Crash Course World History,

Why you gotta end?

I suppose I understand when presenting history as a narrative, eventually you’ll get to the modern day and have nowhere to go. Sure, you could fill in subjects you missed, like the Vikings. Which I guess would be fun and all. But the appeal of your videos is that you presented history as a story, something that has characters and settings, not figures and geography. Perhaps that’s what happens when it’s taught by a novelist rather than my school teachers.

I’m gonna be honest with you. I didn’t like history much in school, largely because every school would focus on this person did this thing on this day and you have to regurgitate all those things for the test next week then fill in a map showing where Anatolia and the North Sea are. There was no emphasis on making history interesting or accessible. So I went through life knowing that Rome was a thing, that the Renaissance saved civilization, and George Washington made America. Go team Western Civilization! Then I found the videos, as I suspect most did, through Vlogbrothers and Swoodilypooper football. However, I was not expecting to get so swept in. Not to a point that I would watch each episodes multiple times to make sure that I got them, or that I would do a massive watch of the whole thing to lead up to the last episode so that I could see the overall narrative.

And I certainly didn’t expect what happened about halfway through. I started looking for more history. Craving it. I’ve now sat through Columbia University courses on World History, University of Houston courses on the Crusade, NYU courses on ancient Israel, all things available on YouTube. I’m listening to a podcast series on The History of Rome on my commute every morning, and have lined up two different podcast histories of the Byzantine Also-Roman Empire. Now, I don’t know if I found Crash Course World History at a time I was particular open to rediscovering history, or if you caused it, but either way you’ve been an instrumental jumping off point. Through you I discovered the eras that I wanted to know more about, and I went out and found more. Then I shared you with my wife, and hope to one day show your videos to my daughter, currently 9 weeks old.

So here, at the end of this 42 week journey, I just wanted to voice my thanks to John Green and his high school history teacher Raoul Meyer. To producer and director Stan Muller. To script supervisor turned associate producer Danica Johnson. To intern turned script supervisor Meredith Danko. To the graphics team at Thought Bubble. And, really, to everyone else that had anything to do with the production of the series for awakening in me a love of the subject.

Next week I see you start Crash Course Literature, another subject that I didn’t enjoy much in school. Stupid teachers never wanting to teach the books I wanted to read. I’m with you for that journey, too.

I’m just worried that one might involve more homework.

Best wishes,

David Thurston.

Oh, and for those reading this letter who haven’t watch the series, it starts here.

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