Michael Goveathonics

Michael Gove believes himself to be the greatest historian living.  Only he really understands how to impart the most important historical knowledge to youths in schools.  Nothing else really explains his fantastic new history curriculum, which breezily rejects the advice of top historians, and of all the rather less academically inclined practitioners of teaching history, and instead gives us the Gove History of Britain.  When he and his two advisers played the game "who do you think are the most important figures in making Britain great" and turned it into a would-be history syllabus, they were merely assuring each other that they really did know better than anyone else.

Well, it turns out that this is but a small part of what is going to be the only subject on the Great British School Curriculum - Michael Goevathonics.  It is outlined, ever so clearly and horrifyingly realistically, by comedian Stewart Lee in his Observer column today.  Lee reminds us that Gove was once a television satirist, thus setting up the awesome possibility that Gove has been playing a subtle political satire on us all ever since.  But read the column.  It is ridiculous, surreal and satirically brilliant.  It is no longer possible to simply criticise Gove in normal, layman's terms.  You have to reach out to the existential fringes of satire to really nail him, and Lee does that.

Along the way, the Old Silhillian also remarks upon his own unremarkable education.  And - significant name drop alert - I too remember that, for we shared the same secondary schooling for a couple of years.  Yes, before he became alternative comedy's most alternative mainstream comedian, Stewart Lee was penning such dramatic gems as "The Central European Safe-Cracker" and getting it performed on stage with scenery in various stages of collapse.   I think I even know which teachers he is talking about.  In an exclusive blogpost I might just reveal their identities one day, and subject their teaching to a line by line analysis.  Or I might not.  On the grounds of lack of interest.  Who wants to read about teachers anyway?


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