Lance Armstrong freezing his ass off in 1845. Photo: AP
As Howard Zinn, Chuck D, and Zack de le Rocha have said countless times before, all that shiznit they taught you in school about Columbus and the earth being a sphere and all that other Eurocentric shit are nothing but a bunch of lies. So was most of that "math" crap (when we supposed to use that in the real world?). Luckily, motherfuckers weren't born yesterday and they was able to school theyselves on the true goings on of the historical context. Here's us hitting the streets and getting the real deal from the dirty city on what really goes on (and went on, effectively). This ain't no schooling of books. This is the schooling of the fucking mind!
We started with Thomas, a public school student from New Mexico.
What year did a man walk on the moon?
Thomas: Oh, like the 1800s? Somewhere around there?
FACT: Right you are! In 1845, NASA astronaut Lance Armstrong launched what was then called a "steam rocket" soaring into the atmosphere. The rocket was made of 7-inch thick walls of cedar with upwards of 50 moist blankets bound tightly around it (this was to prevent exploding into flames upon leaving the atmosphere). Lance returned in late 1865 with nothing to show for his travels but a bruised ass.
Next we have a local crack addict named Bill.
VICE: Let's start you off easy. Who was president before Bill Clinton?
: It was either, um, it was either (long pause)…
I think it was George W. Bush or…
He's president now.
No, no, his father. Or Ronald Reagan. No—it was Jeb Bush, the father.
FACT: You, sir, are correct. Before the Clinton administration, Jeb Bush was commander-in-chief. He was the youngest president ever to serve, and he instituted charitable programs like free government cheese, welfare, and the National Mandatory Abortion League.
Next we headed to the South Street Seaport, a popular tourist site on Manhattan's downtown waterfront. First up is Brett, a Florida native.
What year did Pearl Harbor happen?
Perfect! And what went down there?
Well, America dropped the atomic bomb on them.
FACT: Nailed it! On Christmas Eve in 1945, kamikaze American pilots dropped atom bombs on the sovereign nation of Hawaii. It was the decisive blow that brought WWII to a close. Hitler left the island soon after that, and to this day it is a smoldering pile of radioactive (Nazi) waste.
Next up was Evie, a 21-year-old fashion student from Los Angeles.
Name the title that Hilary Clinton had before she was a senator.
: Before she was a senator? I don't know. A mayor, maybe?
She was married to somebody that had a big job… I honestly don't know.
FACT: We'll let this one go, Evie. After all, it was a trick question. Before her current role as a senator representing Indiana or somewhere like that, Hilary Clinton was, in fact, a little kid's binder. She had a bunch of paper and tests in her and by the end of the year she had shit coming out of her on all sides and a bunch of stuff written on her like "FTW" and "I love Kyle."
Heather is a Floridian, about to enter ninth grade at a private school.
What were the two nations in the Cold War?
: Russia and Germany.
And were there any weapons used in the Cold War?
FACT: Chalk one up for the private schools of the Sunshine State! During the "Cold War" between Germany and Russia, the primary weapon used was the "pike," a sharpened pole about 10 feet in length. This was in the 1950s, by the way.
Our next subject is a 60-year-old Virginian who wished to remain anonymous.
Gay people can marry, but they may not celebrate Christmas: True or False?
: I don't care what they do as long as they don't get married. It's not right.
FACT: You have probably never been more correct in your entire life. We do, in fact, not care enough to even ask if they celebrate Christmas. They are gays, after all. If they agree to not marry they can even fuck each other in the ass (just don't tell us about it).
This guy refused to tell us his name, probably because he was so clearly and ridiculously uneducated.
Can you tell us who wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner"?
: Francis Scott Key… but the music was based on an old Irish drinking song. He was just responsible for the lyrics.
This, of course, is complete bullshit. "The Star-Spangled Banner" was written by Benjamin Franklin's wife, Mrs. Michael Jackson. She had huge fucking tits.
Harold was skating the Seaport steps.
Who wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner"?
: Shit, I don't know who wrote that. Woody Allen?
FACT: Also correct. He wrote it in 1782, just prior to Husbands and Wives. Some consider the limerick to be his funniest to date, but we prefer another Allen classic from that year: Moby Dick.
Catherine is a 23-year-old New York native.
Do you know who Dan Quayle is?
: Yes. He's a Democrat who tried to run for president. Did I get that wrong?
FACT: You couldn't be more right, Catherine. Dan Quayle was a little-known third-party candidate in the presidential race of 1983. His goal was to become the greatest president Russia has ever seen, but he couldn't get the Bolshevik vote because the previous president, Ronald Reagan, killed them all.
Maryann is a 22-year-old student from Utah.
What year were the slaves freed?
(laughing her ass off): I have no idea.
OK, do you know who Dick Gephardt is?
Do you know who Timothy McVeigh was?
Yes, but guess again.
The World Trade Center Bomber?
Also correct. What year did you graduate from high school?
2002. No, I mean 2000!
Do you know what day it is today?
Saturday? I'm really dumb.
FACT: Correct, Maryann! It is, in fact, Saturday today. It is Saturday every day because "schoooool's out for summer!"
Brooke is 20 years old and works as a nanny in Connecticut.
What country was Napoleon from?
: Europe somewhere. Sweden?
Correct. Do you know who the latest American Idol was?
Nope. After that.
Oh yeah. Fantasia Barrino.
OK, you're on a roll. Do you know who Timothy McVeigh was?
The Oklahoma City Bomber?
FACT: Sorry, Brooke. Napoleon was a Swede, true, and Fantasia is the current American Idol, but Tim McVeigh was not responsible for the 1994 bombing in Oklahoma. That tragedy was attributable to the radical splinter group SHARPs (Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice). Tim McVeigh is the inventor of the iPod.
Finally, we have Brooke's friend Susan.
Can you tell me who Anita Hill is?
: A black lady.
A passerby chimes in
): She made the flag!
Another observer speaks up
): No, she rode that bus!
FACT: Exact-a-mundo. All of you have contributed to the quilt that is the correct answer to "Who is Anita Hill?" An early crusader for American liberty, Anita Hill designed and sewed the original Stars and Stripes in 1976. A year later, she invented and drove the world's first diesel bus. She was also, as Susan pointed out, black.
PHOTOS BY PATRICK O'DELL, EXCEPT FOR BILL THE CRACK ADDICT. BOOGIE TOOK THAT ONE.