Riordan, not Plato, is the true genius of the Core.

We here at Bwog have stumbled upon the real reason you have to survive Lit Hum and CC.

We can all agree that there are some issues with the Core. It’s too focused on old white men, there’s a nearly impossible amount of reading crammed into four semesters, and there’s too much heterosexuality and not enough lesbians. Sometimes, it seems that the only purpose of Lit Hum and CC is to help you win intellectual pissing contests at future cocktail parties.

Yet that’s simply not true. Bwog investigated deep into the archives in Butler Library and found confidential letters between Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and the designers of the Core Curriculum. “But that’s impossible!” you say. “Rick Riordan was born in 1964 and the Core was started shortly after World War II!” We’re not sure what time travel paradoxes allowed these exchanges of ideas, but we assure you they’re as real as that assignment you’re currently putting off by reading this article.

These letters reveal that the Core was actually designed so that students could understand the Percy Jackson books. Although this might seem silly on its face—how could Homer, Cervantes, Plato, Aristotle, and their ilk possibly be the key to understanding Percy?—it makes total sense once one starts thinking about it.

Why else, for example, would we be made to read both the Iliad and the Odyssey? Isn’t one Homer tome enough blood and guts for a semester? But if you haven’t read the Iliad, you would be lost when it comes to understanding the fundamental values that the Percy Jackson books represent—those of a lost Greek society translated into a modern context. And if you haven’t read the Odyssey, you would totally miss the subtle references to it in the second Percy Jackson book, The Sea of Monsters, like when the gang runs into Circe and Percy gets turned into a guinea pig. The irony of that moment cannot truly be comprehended unless one remembers that Odysseus gets turned into an actual pig in the original. The subtle cleverness of this moment is not lost on the wise Columbia College student.

CC exists, according to these letters, because the entire series is a subtle debate about ethics, starting in the first book with Plato and Aristotle, represented by Percy and Ares, respectively, and continuing until The Last Olympian, which, with its ideas about the underlying goodness of humanity, is clearly a modern reinterpretation of John Locke. Hegel and Marx are present in the series’ ongoing struggle with destiny and whether what comes to pass is truly inevitable or can be averted by a heroic individual. Even Foucault makes an appearance in the Mist—the thing that prevents humans from seeing the world as it really is. The ingenious Riordan was truly concerned with issues of observation: what is seen, what is unseen, and who sees it.

These letters revealed a conspiracy at the highest levels of Columbia bureaucracy. What other pop culture figures have had a hand in crafting our supposedly “elite” education? Was the global core only created so we could become better weebs? Does the science requirement exist because Neil Degrasse Tyson wanted more viewers? Unfortunately, the Riordan files were the only letters we uncovered. But perhaps, lurking in the deepest recesses of the stacks, lies the answers to these questions.

The face of a philosopher via Wikimedia Commons