Bios on Official SNL Page surprisingly Harsh

While Saturday Night Live enjoys its reputation for refusing to pull punches on-air, who knew that the show's commitment to objectivity extended to their staff bios? I'm a huge fan of the show, but was stunned by the brutally honest (and harsh) way they've written about the former cast members on SNL's site. Here are just a few of the chestnuts that are currently published online.

From Chevy Chase's bio

Picture 13.png"... The mega-hits "National Lampoon's Vacation" and "Fletch" followed. The second half of the '80s proved less successful, and Chase found his career faltering into the '90s. His ill-fated television variety show, a number of poor professional choices, and a drunk-driving incident further removed the comic from the limelight. Today, Chase is back in top form with supporting roles in films like "Snow Day" and "Orange County.""

I really can't tell whether that last line is supposed to read sarcastically. In any case, this isn't the only paragraph like this. More zingers from the official cast bio page after the jump.

CHRIS ROCK: "... An attempt at a movie career followed his departure from SNL, but it failed to catch on."

COLIN QUINN: "... Quinn remained with the cast for a total of five seasons before leaving to start his own ill-fated sketch show... "

DANA CARVEY: "... His career sputtered after leaving SNL... "

EDDIE MURPHY: "... After leaving SNL, Murphy's movie career soared to fantastic heights, but he fell into something of a slump... "

NORM MACDONALD: "... After three years, Macdonald was famously let go from the show, but fences seem to have been mended - he soon appeared as a guest host. An uneven movie career followed... "

ROB SCHNEIDER: "After a few false starts and a failed sitcom, things turned around when buddy Adam Sandler began casting him in his movies... though these films were largely ignored by the critics..."

AL FRANKEN: "... Franken remained with the show until 1980 when he left to try his luck in Hollywood, though there were other reasons in play for his departure. In a sketch called ""A Limo for the Lamo," Franken made a number of disparaging remarks about NBC president Fred Silverman,"

It's also kind of funny to see the same sassy "joke" repeated in the entries (The post on Martin Short reads "Ed Grimley, anyone?", while the post on Cheri Oteri cleverly reads, "Arianna the cheerleader, anyone?"). And also who gets a pass. Jimmy Fallon get more praise than I would have expected for his vibrant post-SNL career. David Spade is credited with a "reasonably successful film career", while Nora Dunn is lauded as someone who has a "steady" career and whose "plate is full for years to come." In any case, there's plenty more to be analyzed here at NBC.

College Board Wants to Erase Thousands of Years From AP World History, and Teachers Aren't Happy

One would be forgiven for thinking that the Ides of March are upon us, because Julius Caesar is being taken out once again—this time from the Advanced Placement World History exam. The College Board in charge of the AP program is planning to remove the Roman leader, and every other historical figure who lived and died prior to 1450, from high school students’ tests, The New York Times reports.

The nonprofit board recently announced that it would revise the test, beginning in 2019, to make it more manageable for teachers and students alike. The current exam covers over 10,000 years of world history, and according to the board, “no other AP course requires such an expanse of content to be covered over a single school year.”

As an alternative, the board suggested that schools offer two separate year-long courses to cover the entirety of world history, including a Pre-AP World History and Geography class focusing on the Ancient Period (before 600 BCE) up through the Postclassical Period (ending around 1450). However, as Politico points out, a pre-course for which the College Board would charge a fee "isn’t likely to be picked up by cash-strapped public schools," and high school students wouldn't be as inclined to take the pre-AP course since there would be no exam or college credit for it.

Many teachers and historians are pushing back against the proposed changes and asking the board to leave the course untouched. Much of the controversy surrounds the 1450 start date and the fact that no pre-colonial history would be tested.

“They couldn’t have picked a more Eurocentric date,” Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, who previously helped develop AP History exams and courses, told The New York Times. “If you start in 1450, the first thing you’ll talk about in terms of Africa is the slave trade. The first thing you’ll talk about in terms of the Americas is people dying from smallpox and other things. It’s not a start date that encourages looking at the agency and creativity of people outside Europe.”

A group of teachers who attended an AP open forum in Salt Lake City also protested the changes. One Michigan educator, Tyler George, told Politico, “Students need to understand that there was a beautiful, vast, and engaging world before Europeans ‘discovered’ it.”

The board is now reportedly reconsidering its decision and may push the start date of the course back some several hundred years. Their decision will be announced in July.

[h/t The New York Times]

North America: East or West Coast?


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