Watch John Oliver’s Five-Minute Guide to the Absurdity of High School Core Curricula


What a nice guy John Oliver is. Ever since Last Week Tonight first aired back in Spring, he’s been making us laugh while simultaneously being the spokesperson against certain societal absurdities. Now he’s helping high schoolers prepare for the coming year.

In a special web only video, Oliver provides his own unique insight into the absurdity of what students can expect from their core subjects this coming academic year. Regarding American History, he told students how they will learn about “European explorers and colonists,” but as adults “will realize these men were basically genocidal lunatics, but for now enjoy thinking of these men as thrilling adventurers and discoverers.”

On World History Oliver says that students “will learn that Africa and Asia are places, but that’s about it.” Apart from what he called “the original fab four” — adding, subtracting, dividing and multiplication — Oliver said students don’t need to know much more about math. “I’m an adult with a job and I cannot remember if an algorithm is an exponent, Kenny Logan’s first album or a method of lumberjack birth control.”

Concerning the subject of English, Oliver said, “The biggest mistake you can make is forgetting who dies at the end of a book.” To avoid this common pitfall, he provides a rundown of classic characters who perish in some common syllabus books, from The Great Gatsby to Romeo and Juliet — making note of the many symbolic deaths The American Dream also suffers along the way.