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History Favors The Bold: This Wasn't It

I've written about my acquired lack of respect for the way in which the History Channel has prostituted itself into one giant reality show.

"Ax Men," "Ice Road Truckers," "UFO Hunters."

While all participants my be fine people, "history" it is not.

(On the other side of the spectrum, the Military History Channel is far superior to anything put out by its now degraded cousin.)

However, through heavy promotion, the History Channel began its 6-part series last night titled "AMERICA: The Story of Us."

The only reason I allowed myself to waste precious gathering of photons was due to the fact that this first episode was comprised mainly about the American Revolution, of which is my favorite part of history.

My expectations were low considering the source, and this production did not disappoint.

In a word: terrible.

Most of the program was dominated by some truly pathetic computer generated graphics.

However, the parts most disappointing were the actual facts they deemed to include of import.

They focused on obscure information: inflating the actual importance of Washington's "spy" network to the rescue of the first French fleet to arrive in our defense, helping to keep the British Armada at bay in New York. The French fleet, under Admiral d'Estaing, did not meet the British in New York, but Rhode Island, where they in fact did battle a larger British Fleet and a terrible storm, rendering his ships useless.

Never once did they mention it was some of Washington's brilliantly planned early retreats that actually saved the Continental Army from devastation.

Danial Morgan, a gruff, hard living, hard drinking frontier's man, played his most pivotal role, not in Saratoga, as important a victory it was, but in a combined operation with General Nathanael Greene during the Southern campaign, demoralizing British General Cornwallis and his troops to a point where they blundered into taking up defensive fortifications at Yorktown, where the Continentals finally beat the British. His strategy of "double envelopment" is still studied and taught in modern military training.

But, aside from the shoddy history, timeliness, and production, nothing made me want to hurl more than the people interviewed for perspective.

Of course, nothing would be complete without Obama sticking his nose into things, as, at the very beginning, he made an "opening statement" to the viewers.

FOR CORN'S SAKE, LEAVE US ALONE FOR 2 FRIGGIN' HOURS!!

Anyway, others interviews ran the spectrum from actors like Micheal Douglas, to one of the hosts of a show on the History Channel, and, bizarrely, the founder of Wikipedia.

But, the majority of interviews were of people of questionable integrity for unbiased opinion.

NBC stalwarts Tom Browkaw and Brian Williams were two who were quoted several times.

An historian, the name of which escapes me, who I have seen before in interviews baring quite a leftist tilt.

Also, one of the most waffling public figures in the last decade, Colin Powell.

But, aside from the usual display of Obama narcissism, the one I found particularly galling was none other than Professor Henry Louis Gates, Obama pal and member of the embarrassing White House "Beer summit." A man who resisted arrest, resulting in Obama claiming an entire police department as "acting stupidly."

Out of all the universities, and all the independent historians, THIS was the nut they chose to quote about the Revolution?

Just go all the way next time! Put on the Honorable Reverend William Wright and Bill Ayers.

In scenes from the next installment, the one person they chose to show as a contributor was "One Square for All" Sheryl Crow.

Good grief.

I'm sure they'll fit the mental musings of national degenerate "Steve-O" from Jackass fame to tell us just how "ya know, totally sick" the Civil War was and that his latest body piercing "really sucked."

Garbage.

(The History Channel has also announced that they are giving a free DVD to every classroom in the country, so expect to have Obama addressing the little ones soon.)


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Comments (20)

I didn't waste my time on i... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

I didn't waste my time on it. And I've lost track of the number of emails sent to them, challenging them on other 'facts' they've presented as "history".

I started to watch the LIFE... (Below threshold)
AndyJ:

I started to watch the LIFE series, when after, I think 5 minutes the dreaded words "GLOBAL WARMING" and "THE POOR POLAR BEARS" reared their ugly head. I hope that the rest of the series was better, because I didn't bother watch it after that.

Of course, nothing... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:
Of course, nothing would be complete without Obama sticking his nose into things, as, at the very beginning, he made an "opening statement" to the viewers.

You're sure he wasn't on to give the rebuttal?

I could not watch "Life" du... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

I could not watch "Life" due to Oprah Winfrey narrating it.

She's a windbag, and she has a terrible style for narration. She sounds like she's reading from a children's book.

Lotta people like her, lots don't.

I don't.

-Shawn

I have DVR'd it and may not... (Below threshold)
Razorgirl:

I have DVR'd it and may not waste my time watching it.

Does anyone remember a series in the 60's called "The Great Adventure"? I remember watching it as a child and thought it was great television. Maybe the History Channel could have saved a lot of production costs and just replayed the series.

Danial Morgan, a g... (Below threshold)
Stan:
Danial Morgan, a gruff, hard living, hard drinking frontier's man, played his most pivotal role, not in Saratoga, as important a victory it was, but in a combined operation with General Nathanael Greene during the Southern campaign, demoralizing British General Cornwallis and his troops to a point where they blundered into taking up defensive fortifications at Yorktown, where the Continentals finally beat the British. His strategy of "double envelopment" is still studied and taught in modern military training.

This was the battle of the Cowpens. This battle also saw the defeat of Cornwallis' calvary commander, Banistar Tarleton and to the demoralization of Cornwallis. Cornwallis was in the frame of mind that the Continental Army was a bunch of rabble and the militia was even worse. The Cowpens battle was the last major engagement of the Revolution in the South until the British disaster at Yorktown.

I considered looking in on ... (Below threshold)

I considered looking in on "America" but, well...

I've become less and less interested in edutainment programming in the past year or two, not least because of the apocalyptic assumptions many of them build into their narrative, about AGW and the like.

Recently, for example, a show covered the prospects of "terraforming" Mars, smoothly claiming that of course we can warm up Mars, since we're doing it already right here on Earth!

:double facepalm:

Just reviewed the script no... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Just reviewed the script notes for next week.

In next week's episode, there will be an in-depth review about Washington's early efforts to stave off the ravages of Global Warming by inventing Carbon Credits, the critical importance of improved health care for all non-white Americans, his efforts to protect the rights of the gay, lesbian, transgendered and sexually confused, Washington's conversion as one the first defenders of universal abortion rights, the growth of labor unions, and the importance of federal funding. There will also be a segment about sedition, along with a very brief mention of jobsjobsjobs. It will be hosted by Sean Penn and Jane Fonda.

Don't miss it.

I tuned also. It was hard t... (Below threshold)
Pretzel Logic:

I tuned also. It was hard to watch and I fell asleep. I missed Barrys intro..darn. Oprahs narration is very bad. Give me nails on a chalkboard. The main problem I have with her is her purposely covering up her 'accent' . She's like Obama who will go 'street' when they meet another brother. its all too phony.

When I first saw the ad for... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

When I first saw the ad for this I was anticipating watchng it. As the days went by I grew less and less enthusiastic and decided I would probably just get angry and went to bed with a book instead.

As for the History Channel's choices of what is considered worthy programming on a "history" channel, you're right. It's pretty pathetic. The other channel that has become a big joke is the Biography Channel. Apparently there are no biographies out there from the recent or distant past they feel are interesting enough to air unless the subject is a vapid singer or self important actor.

I usually turn the TV on at bedtime (the only time it ever gets turned on) and watch about an hour of whatever is interesting before I doze off. That's becoming more and more difficult as I flip from "Cops" to "Prison Wives" to some other mindless drivel searching for something, anything, that commands an IQ higher than two digits to appreciate.

Stan, I have an ancestor, J... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Stan, I have an ancestor, Josiah Hatcher Baugh, who was injured in the Battle of Cowpens. He lived and spent the rest of his years in Jackson County GA.

Side note about Ice Road Tr... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Side note about Ice Road Truckers....

My wife leaves the room every time it's on.
Men wanting some peace and quiet may want to note that.

The other chann... (Below threshold)
The other channel that has become a big joke is the Biography Channel.
I can remember when somebody could learn something while watching The Learning Channel -- but I didn't get cable until after the "M" in "MTV" stopped meaning "music."
Side note about... (Below threshold)
Side note about Ice Road Truckers....

My wife leaves the room every time it's on.

Mine likes to root for Alex against Hugh. Me, I spent last season rooting for Lisa.

Wanna make sump'n of it?

Also, the Histo... (Below threshold)
Also, the History Channel quit showing "The Men Who Killed Kennedy" each November. BOOO!
I could've sworn I saw it on the schedule last year. I hate that show -- but then, I'm not a conspiracy wacko. But if you wanted a -1 vote from me you shouldn't have said
Ermey's weapons show is OK.
I watched it and found simi... (Below threshold)
jbw:

I watched it and found similar problems, the lack of historians for narrations. Plus the whole "other people were here first" yes we get it the Indians sorry Native Americans were here first.

Plus the whole thing with Baron Von Steuben being gay; yet Washington trusted him with his entire Army. That was perhaps the worst point of the production. You could see the liberal writer with a thought balloon "This will show them that gays can be in the military".

I forgot the gay von Steube... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

I forgot the gay von Steuben crap.

I am an expert by no means, but I have read so many books and seen so many documentaries on the Revolution, and not ONCE has there EVER been the accusation or speculation that he was gay.

What the hell is wrong with these people?

-Shawn

OK. I watched my DVR or it ... (Below threshold)
Razorgirl:

OK. I watched my DVR or it last night. I see what you mean about the video game type animation. The buffalo running was annoying. I know they are trying to appeal to today's kids but it leaves the impression that the video games of that period were only about indian wars and slavery.

Some of the casting was wierd. Patrick Henry was right on but the guy representing Washington didn't fit my perception of him at all. And I didn't hear one mention of Thomas Jefferson. What's up with that?

The temperature was 2 degrees colder back then? Boy, I bet Washington and the Valley Forge guys would have loved some global warming.

As someone who researches, designs and makes costumes for the local high school drama and music department, I found the synthetic and polyester fabrics to be a little disconcerting. The wigs were atrocious. Wig making was a hugh industry in those days. No self respecting Briton or rebel would be caught dead in what was represented as wig-work.

I dare say Bambi didn't watch what he was promoting or he might have gotten the gist of the taxation thing. (The good thing about DVR is the FF button.) And the other irony was the sponsorship by Bank of America. Aren't they owned by the Chinese?

Shawn, you forgot the histo... (Below threshold)
MjM:

Shawn, you forgot the historically essential "Pawn Stars".

I watched the Discovery Channel's Into the Universe Stephen Hawking odd-but-interesting musings instead.

Having seen History's promo touting an Obama intro, I understood "The Story of Us" was going to be barf-inducing.

the one I found pa... (Below threshold)
me:
the one I found particularly galling was none other than Professor Henry Louis Gates, Obama pal and member of the embarrassing White House "Beer summit." A man who resisted arrest, resulting in Obama claiming an entire police department as "acting stupidly."

I hope you realize what he was arrested for, responding to a 911 call reporting a possible burglar in the neighborhood, the police officer then arrested someone at his own house, apparently he was burglarizing his own house, yes that is a really stupid police officer indeed.




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