prisonship survey

If somehow compelled to pass an awkward evening among upper-middle-class, middle-brow intellectuals, I could discuss _________ without sounding like an ignoramus:

A) The Magna Carta

B) Paradise Lost

C) Causes and Consequences of WWI

D) The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

E) Vice Presidential Trivia

Thanks for Playing.


21 Responses to “prisonship survey”

  1. dave3544 Says:

    A,C, and D

  2. editor Says:

    A and C, the others would be risky.


  3. lexdexter Says:

    Okay, so now, let’s start with Dave:

    Nuncle, pls name a cause of the World War One.

    Minx, you can pick it up from there, then I’ll chime in.

    Interesting that the geologist among us is the only one prepared to discuss Milton… Anybody else out there?

  4. wobs Says:

    Definitely the causes of WWI. I think I still remember the Advanced Placement exam “official answer” essay I wrote in high school about it.

  5. lexdexter Says:

    wobs said:
    Definitely the causes of WWI. I think I still remember the Advanced Placement exam “official answer” essay I wrote in high school about it.

    WELL, wobs? let’s have it.

  6. wobs Says:

    Nationalism, Imperialism, the entangling alliances that were part and parcel of the Balance of Powers game Europeans were playing. There seems to be another “ism” that I haven’t remembered since the mid-90s, but three should be a good start?

    Consequences – the facile answer is that the biggest consequence of WWI was enabling the conditions which resulted in WWII.


  7. Barry Says:

    Sorry P-dude, I misinterpretted. I thought we were supposed to guess which topic(s) YOU would be able to discuss. I was going to throw E in there too, but opted out to avoid an excessive answer. As for myself, probably only D (adding firewood to the hypothesis that Jerdan and I shouldn’t attend parties together).

  8. dan Says:

    crap, I think I’m low-brow.

  9. editor Says:

    To follow up on the WW1 cause conversation as it might play out at a middlebrow party (imagine this being brought up at the point where a few people are a little drunk and starting to let down the guard a little):

    There was the idea that industrialism was bringing about the final clash between the “old guard” and newer money. And there was the sense among people that glory was great (part of the nationalism thing already mentioned).

    In terms of consequences: how about the advancement of military technology, the roots of US and Soviet supremacy (to be completed at the end of WW2), increases in Jewish migration to Palestine (after the Balfour Declaration) and the fundamental errors in the set-up of the modern Middle East (caused by the Sykes-Picot agreement in which France and England lied to the Arabs).

  10. editor Says:

    that was mr. minx, by the way.

  11. jen Says:

    Am I the only one to discuss B? That’s alright. I talk to myself a lot anyway. I took a month-long class on Milton, so Paradise Lost. There are a lot of good quotes in that ridiculous poem. I could also chime in on D but I would provide more of a people’s history remembered through generations than the names of all of the treaties ‘n stuff.

  12. jen Says:

    Oops I meant C, not D. I could not discuss D. That’s when I would leave the highbrow discussion and fetch myself another drink or maybe three. Or something.

  13. km Says:

    let us not forget archduke franz ferdinand and the infamous “powder keg.”

    at any such party, in any case, I’d follow jensco to the keg if any of these topics came up. then i’d find a bookshelf and hide-out. i’m awkward like that.

  14. dave3544 Says:

    Sorry for coming back in late. I would definitely hit the balance of power game, unfortunately unable to take it back very far (maybe a little on the rise of nationalism, starting with the 1848 rebellions. I might follow this through on the rise of anarchism), but I could certainly discuss the England-France-Germany alliance v. the Germans-Hapsburgs-Italians. I’d throw in a bit about the descendants of Queen Victoria all going to war against each other. But mostly focus on the balance of power and tangled alliances. I, of course, never pass up the opportunity to mention the Schlieffen Plan — amongst a certain brand of History grad dork (is there any other kind?) circa 1999, sighing and saying, “Ah, the Schlieffen Plan” was a way to lament one’s own inability to finish a book or paper in the time one had allotted.

    By this time I’d be thrown out of the party, but on my way out I’d shout the words “Versailles,” “League of Nations” and “Beer Hall Putsch!”

  15. Kyle Says:

    2nd half of C

  16. lexdexter Says:

    i would wax lyrical about Woodrow Wilson, the sinking of the Lusitania, and U-Boats, at least half certain that all of those terms were viable terms to be evoking….

    then i would drag in russian affairs of that era, and move things back into my wheelhouse by beginning a long aside about trotsky, bakunin and that plekhanov that is so littered with characterization and caricature that you’ll have long since left for the restroom by the time i am compelled to come to any sort of legitimate conclusion.

    yeah, i took the absurdly-entitled “Representative Masterpieces” at Sewanee and still never got to dance with Milton. my loss.

  17. Kyle Says:

    You gotta be sure and drop hooks like “Treaty of Versailles” and Weimar Republic.

  18. editor Says:

    And for full effect, mention Wilfred Owen, Apollonaire, and other wartime poets wounded in the war.

  19. Kyle Says:

    Oh, that reminds me of the Otto Dix paintings.

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