Wednesday, June 01, 2005

What were Bernstein and Woodward THINKING?

For the second year in a row, the last unit in my U.S. History course got an impressive student-interest bump because of current events colliding with historical events in coincidental fashion. (Whoa. Did that sentence make any sense? I better lay off the chocolate covered soy beans.)

Anyway, last year about this time, I decided to take the following Monday off. I ran off a packet of worksheets for the textbook chapter "Carter to Reagan." Since I hadn't warned my students I would be out, I attached a note to the front of the packet: "Sorry I couldn't be here...you'll be learning about two former presidents still living today: Carter and Reagan." Well, Reagan died over the weekend. When I got back that Tuesday my students accused me of being personally responsible for Reagan's death by jinxing him. It didn't matter that he had been ill for some time.

So this year, the big end of the year event has been Watergate. We just talked about Watergate a little over a week ago. We talked about Deep Throat and I told them about recent revelations that Deep Throat was near death and that we would hear something soon. Now, my students are convinced that I predicted all of this myself. Well, I guess it's fine with me if they see me as omniscient.

I think Woodward, Bernstein, and Felt are all American heroes. I feel sorry for the Post because they got scooped on a story that had always been theirs. I think Felt's family has been a little disingenuous in their dealings. I do have one complaint against Woodward, though:

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING????!!!

Deep Throat? Really? Was it that funny? Did you not realize that you were involved in something historical and that even 30 years later high school teachers would have to struggle through the story while constantly saying "Deep Throat" to 16 and 17 year old boys? Or, was this some kind of cruel, cruel joke? The smirks. The laughs. The nasty jokes. The "innocent" questions. A few weeks from now my students will take their final exam. Some of them won't even remember which president it was that was forced to resign because of Watergate. But they'll all remember Deep Throat.

UPDATE: I read in the Post that it was actually a different editor at the paper that came up with the nickname. When Felt realized it, he was mortified.