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Requiescat In Pace: Bob Dorough

Bob Dorough, one of the driving creative forces behind Schoolhouse Rock has died, too young, at 94.  Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts gives us the details:

 

 

Who?  This is who:

and
Among others.  Those two, of course, are the most famous of his creations.  Yes, he was the talent behind those snappy tunes that were as educational as anything the American education system has produced.  
Let’s face it, how many of us learned more about how our government works from that bill on the steps of Capital Hill than anything from civics class?  And in a pinch trying to remember conjunctions?  I dare anyone to keep that tune out of their minds for long. 
Naturally Schoolhouse Rock, like all things, has fallen under scrutiny over the years, especially the category dealing with American history, which I’ve seen called racist propaganda, raw nationalistic preaching and simplistic sentimentality devoid of the harsh truths about our history (read: focusing exclusively on the negatives).  
But for those who get it and feel it’s the height of foolishness not to learn about the greatness of our country, along with grammar, math and science, there were few better instructional paths into our living rooms than the Rock.  And Mr. Dorough was one of the creative geniuses behind it all. 
We thank him for a generation taught the basics, taught that learning can be enjoyable, and taught that there is a way to learn outside of the confines of a classroom.  He and the talents he possessed will be missed, even if his creations live on. 
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. 
Go here to comment.  Of course it is impossible for me to mention Schoolhouse Rock without playing my favorite:

For a cartoon, The Shot Heard Round the World does a fairly good job of conveying information about the Revolution in a very short span of time:  it manages to include the opening battles of the war, Washington as the central figure of the war, the role of the militia, the endurance of the Continentals, the battle of Trenton, Valley Forge, the frequent defeats of the Americans, the importance of diplomacy and foreign intervention, the role of raids and the decisive victory at Yorktown.   Rest in peace Mr. Dorough, you gave me and hundreds of millions of other kids education sweetened with entertainment, and that is not a bad legacy.

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Fortnight For Freedom: Revolution, Independence and Schoolhouse Rock

Fortnight For Freedom 2014

 

Something for the weekend.  I loved these schoolhouse rock videos when they were first broadcast back in the Seventies right before the bicentennial.  Among a fair number of kids I knew they sparked an interest in history.  Of the videos, I believe No More Kings has the catchiest tune.  For a cartoon, The Shot Heard Round the World does a fairly good job of conveying information about the Revolution in a very short span of time:  it manages to include the opening battles of the war, Washington as the central figure of the war, the role of the militia, the endurance of the Continentals, the battle of Trenton, Valley Forge, the frequent defeats of the Americans, the importance of diplomacy and foreign intervention, and the decisive victory at Yorktown.  Fireworks is a nice opening view of the Declaration for kids.  If readers have kids, or if, like me, part of them has never really grown up, watching these cartoons can be a good way to get into the Fourth of July spirit! Continue Reading

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Three Ring Government

Well, I must say that whenever I have had involvement with government on the state or federal level, I have thought that a circus was surely running things!

The French author and philosopher Montesquieu, leaning heavily on Aristotle and the Greek historian of the Roman Republic Polybius, in his The Spirit of The Laws (1748) helped popularize the notion of a mixed government: executive, legislative and judicial, providing a safeguard to liberty.  As our history has shown, it is hard for the components to stay in balance. Continue Reading