Ah, summer. One minute you’re
shotgunning a beer celebrating with friends after your last final, the next, you’re waking up and rolling over to find that two months of beaching, traveling, summer-schooling, tanning, grilling, working, and/or your resume-building b****work meaningful internship experience have flown by and it’s already August. Which means it’s time to maybe, possibly, conceivably consider what you’ll be studying in the fall. Even at Stanford, summer doesn’t last forever, and eventually we’ve got to come to grips with all of our first-world problems – namely, enrolling in classes at the happiest place university on earth. But, fear not – I have spent the last fortnight scouring every course in every department this school has to offer (upon reading this line, my proofreader claims that I “need to get laid a life”), with the hope of delivering the BEST list of classes to get you STOKED to come back to campus. It combines all the things I love most in life: cool classes that don’t physically drive me to tears (yes, I’m talking to YOU, “Inventing Classics“), excessive linkage, personality stereotypes, semi-snarky commentary, giant over-generalizations and massive assumptions, and most importantly: THE MUPPETS. In any case, I hope the article piques your interest in something you might have otherwise overlooked, missed, or been to lazy to go look up. And if not, all I can say is that I hope it makes you laugh (if only in pity). Other than that, here’s to the remaining MONTH of summer (suck it, Cal) and the boredom and restlessness that will inevitably accompany it. Cheers.
Autumn 2012 classes for…
Old Guys Rule.
AMSTUD 140: Stand Up Comedy and the “Great American Joke” Since 1945
I took this class last fall. Actual (read: more or less deeply paraphrased) quote from the prof: “Hey, Hennessey – I’ve got an idea for a class. It will involve abundant sexism, racism, elitism, lewd and scatalogical references, innappropriate behvaior, excessive profanity, and – above all – some of the most brilliant and observative writers, performers, and anthropologists of our time. What’s this class called, you ask? Well, it’s Stand Up Comedy and the Great American Joke”. Take this class. It’s awesome.
MUSIC 36N: Humor in Music
My visions of this class involve Steel Panther, Weird Al, and Parry Gripp.
Thank God I’m not teaching it.
Living up to his name like an absolute champ
HISTORY 33A: Blood and Roses: The Age of the Tudors
Mystery, murder, sex, and scheming? And you thought your family was dramatic.
ATHLETIC 39: Fencing: Beginning
So you can do THIS.
ENGLISH 154: Mapping the Romantic Imagination
The map of MY romantic imagination involves horseback trips through the Florin countryside with Wesley, a sunset on the bow of the (intact) Titanic with Jack, the California coastline in Benjamin Bradford’s convertible, getting stuck on an island in the Caribbean with Cap’n Jack Sparrow, Patrick Verona’s paintball park, and wherever Ryan Gosling is currently located (though, preferably here). To my great disappointment, however, I believe this class refers a bit more to the English romantic poets and novelists and the sublime countrysides they envisioned. Then again, is anything quite as lovely and romanticized as curling up with a little Keats and Byron?
This muppet is actually called Harry the Hipster. You've probably never heard of him.
ENGLISH 121A: Tattoos, Scars, Marks and American Cultures of Inscription
I feel bad for the poor sucker of a TA who has to read 60+ papers on “Why the dolphin/butterfly/Chinese symbol for “peace”/shooting star/infinity sign/angel wings/song lyrics/Bible verse on my ankle/lower back/shoulder blade/neck/wrist/sideboob/part of my hip that totally gets gets covered by a bikini is a unique artistic expression of my inner self”.
ARTSTUDI 131: Sound Art I
Because taking just “music” was too mainstream.
FILMSTUD 301: Fundamentals of Cinematic Analysis
Take this class so that the next time you’re giving your pretentious opinion about the latest film showing at INSERT NAME OF UNKNOWN THEATER HERE, you’ll be able to reference a little-known technique/genre/style/paradigm/buzzword that your professor mentioned once in class.
COMM 182: Virtual Communities and Social Media
This should prepare you well for your vague “job” in the vague cross section between “media” and “social networking” at that start-up no one has ever heard of.
the history buff
I want that blazer.
HISTORY 95C: Modern Japanese History: From Samurai to Pokemon
Samurai…. Pokemon. SAMURAI… POKEMON. I’m not quite sure what’s between these two poles (the history of sushi?!?!) but it’s guaranteed to be awesome.
COMM 125: Perspectives on American Journalism
I don’t know enough about journalism or, frankly, television to confidently explain why “The Newsroom” sucks and “The Wire” is the bestest thing ever since Ike’s Menais a Trois. Admittedly, I should probably take this class and many others on this list. In any case, if you believe the slow death of the newspaper is a genuine travesty or that Cronkite and Murrow could give Colbert and Stewart a run for their money, then this might be the class for you.
HISTORY 103F: Introduction to Military History
It’s like the Military Channel… sans couch.
HISTORY 243G: Tobacco and Health in World History
Not to get all Nick Naylor on you guys, but I’m genuinely curious how one-sided this class is.
HISTORY 59S: The Digital Historian’s Toolkit: Studying the West in an Age of Big Data
From my quick read of the course-description, it seems like this class involves old documents, scanners, and many a rubber glove. That said, if you like seeing history immortalized and like to wonder “what did they think back then?” and “how did that really happen?” then this is the class for you.
EDUC 116N: Howard Zinn’s ‘A People’s History’ and the Quest for Historical Truth
If you’re reading this section, theres a decent chance that you identify yourself as a history buff. Howard Zinn was the guru/godfather/mack-daddy of all American history buffs. Student, meet the ultimate teacher.
HISTORY 308D: Pre-Modern Warfare
I’m not exactly sure at what point/what contraptions fall under the heading of “Modern Warfare”, but if you’re telling me that I get to take a class on
how to use the history of ninja stars, crossbows, catapults, and broadswords, then SIGN. ME. UP.
CLASSGEN 103: The Greek Invention of Mathematics
My sole incentive for taking this class would be figuring out exactly which Greek mathematician to fantasize about brutally torturing whilst in the middle of my Math 52 midterm.
Coming Soon: Muppets take 'Merica.
CSRE 51K: Election 2012
I should really, REALLY take this class. Seriously, because – besides Obama – I’m not really sure who’s actually still in the race.
COMM 162: Campaigns, Voting, Media, and Elections
See above comment.
COMM 164: The Psychology of Communication About Politics in America
I’d like to think that, to the individuals who plan to lead my country and allegedly have my best interest at heart, I am more than just a number and that my opinions and behaviors are more than just statistics.
ECON 18: The Washington Debate About American Competitiveness
If I take this class, will I get a job?
PUBLPOL 170: Political Corruption
It’s not cheating if you don’t get caught.
PUBLPOL 154: Politics and Policy in California
Let’s hope that by the time this class is over, Michael Tubbs will have a place in its curriculum.
ECON 25N: Public Policy and Personal Finance
Something about tax-brackets… maybe. I expect to see a lot of pitchforks and raised fists.
HUMBIO 120: Health Care in America: An Introduction to U.S. Health Policy
Obamacare. And other stuff. Probably.