We Didn't Start the Fire (1999)

This is the first entry into what will become a series of retrospectives based on classwork and homework that I've kept over the years.  I recently found a whole cache of these documents that I kept for one reason or another, and I want to share them in all their… *ahem*… glory.

In 1999, I was in Mr. Miranda's junior English class at Leilehua High School in Wahiawa, Hawaii.  Mr. Miranda integrated pop culture and history into his English lessons, and I loved him for that.  It shows the impact he had on me as a student that his is the only teacher's name I remember from Leilehua.  One of the things he did was introduce us to songs and ask us to discuss them as part of class.  I can only remember two of the songs we discussed: "Pink" by Aerosmith, and "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel.  For the latter, Mr. Miranda arranged us into groups, told us to list pop-cultural and historical events, and then write our own sequel to the original song.  I apparently had a big influence on the project because Mr. Miranda wrote on the paper, "good job, Daniel.  You saved the team!  (smiley)".  We scored a 100%.

Janis Joplin, Princess Di
MTV, American Pie
Oklahoma, World Trade Center
Phen-Phen, Viagra

Michael Jordan, Mark McGwire
Mir station catches fire
Compact Disks & DVD
Bill and Monica

High School Shootings, Y2K
Satanism, Heaven's Gate
Gump, Titanic, Men in Black
Microsoft, Apple

OJ Simpson, Unibomber
Cellphones, Bobbit, TV Dinner
Satellites, Pagers, Internet
Cloning, Rap, Snapple

Marylin Manson, Mighty Ducks
Saddam Hussien, Arch Deluxe
Phantom Menace, STDs
Tupac, Kosovo

Atlanta 'lympics, the Gulf War
Lambskin Condoms, Movie Gore
Hong Kong return, Tyson Bites
Abortion, El Niño

The song follows a syllabic pattern of 8-7-8-5, 8-7-8-5, with rhyming happening in a pattern of A-A-X-B, C-C-X-B (where the Xs have no rhyming).  I think we did a pretty good job of structure and rhyming, though in hindsight it doesn't feel as though we did a great job of picking the most noteworthy events of history.

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