The Associated Press reported on June 20 that Joseph J. Ellis, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian, will discontinue his popular “Vietnam and American Culture” class at Mount Holyoke. In attempting to find out why,Slateobtained a copy of this year’s final exam. We reprint it below.
Vietnam and American Culture
Mount Holyoke College
Joseph J. Ellis, professor
1. What did Joe Ellis do after he graduated from William and Mary?
a) Go into the Peace Corps.
b) Become a costumed docent at Colonial Williamsburg.
c) Go to graduate school at Yale.
d) Go to Vietnam.
2. In Vietnam (no fair going back to change your previous answer!), how many Vietcong did Joe Ellis dispatch to that big rice paddy in the sky?
d) It’s too painful to talk about.
3. What were Joe Ellis’ parting words to Gen. William Westmoreland when he departed his staff?
a) “Request permission to leave, sir.”
b) “Pleasure working with you, sir.”
d) “You know, Westy, we’re never gonna win this thing. I foresee desperate people scrambling up to a rooftop to evacuate by helicopter sometime in April 1975.”
4. What was Martin Luther King Jr.’s nickname for Ellis when they marched side by side in Selma?
a) Dr. J.
b) Big Joe.
5. Who scored the winning touchdown at Gonzaga College High School in the final football game of Ellis’ senior year?
a) Bill Bennett.
b) Bob Bennett.
c) Pat Buchanan.
d) Joe “Boom Boom” Ellis.
Essay. How did Marilyn Monroe compare Joe Ellis to Joe DiMaggio, Arthur Miller, and John F. Kennedy, and what did she do when Ellis wouldn’t return her phone calls in the summer of 1962?
Essay. Benjamin Franklin and Joe Ellis were taking a stroll along the banks of the Delaware River. Franklin spotted a penny on the ground, picked it up, and tossed it into the water. “What the hell did you do that for?” Ellis demanded. “Oh, you know, it’s only a penny,” Franklin replied. Explain how Ellis answered.
Please attempt to answer every question. If you don’t’ know the answer, make one up!