By Jack Jodell, Aug. 3, 2011
A very strange thing happened as I went to post this piece. I had essentially the same piece written, saved, and all ready to go, but when I went to proof it one last time, THE ENTIRE BODY OF WHAT I HAD WRITTEN WAS COMPLETELY GONE, ALONG WUTH THE ARTWORK I HAD ATTACHED TO IT OF THE HISTORY CHANNEL AND HISTORY CHANNEL INTERNATIONAL LOGOS! So I basically have had to rewrite this entire piece, without any artwork or logos. Evidently the moderators at wordpress.com believe it is perfectly ok to discard our writing, WITHOUT NOTICE TO US, should such writing be accompanied by logos bearing a copyright…
Once upon a time (1995 to be exact) the Arts & Entertainment cable TV network blessed us with a brand new creation: THE HISTORY CHANNEL. It was marvelously innovative, in that if featured shows dealing strictly with historical content. There were great documentaries about the World Wars, the old American West, the Cold War, analyses of historical movies’ accuracy with former NBC newsman Sander Vanocur, studies in the lives of various historical figures, plus a marvelous little hour long feature entitled “Year By Year” which featured actual movie newsreels taken of events happening in each separate, specific year from 1929-1967. The channel proved so popular with viewers that it soon spawned a replica, HISTORY CHANNEL INTERNATIONAL, which concentrated mainly on programming dealing with historical events which happened outside our borders. We saw fabulous, nearly-scholarly programming dealing with the Dark Ages, medieval kings and battles, European wars, and the building of nation states like Germany and Russia. Ohhh, for the good old days…
Little by little, both networks began to evolve in a less-than-desirable fashion. Cheap, filler-type programming ;ike “Hidtory’s Lost and Found” and cheaply-produced game shows like “History IQ” gradually replaced most of the exhaustive and well produced British and European documentaries. Rather than presenting and dissecting historical occurrences, we began getting cutesy, thematic fare like “Modern Marvels” which examined the development of various products in use today, only indirectly referencing past history or events. Finally, we have now ended up with a bunch of nonsense which barely has any tie, IF any, to history at all.
Ever wonder why Americans are so stupid when it comes to history, geography, or foreign affairs? Or how we could produce political morons like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, or the Tea Party? Just look at the state of modern mainstream media newscasting, with its shallow, noninvestigative reporting, its blatant propaganda (Fox “News”), or its fascination with non-news Hollywood types like Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, and all the rest. And then, consider the catch-all for garbage programming A & E has let their History Channels slip into! Look at this list below of absolute BULLSHIT that has been appearing recently on the two History channels. You’ll soon see there is very little, if ANY, relevance or importance regarding history in these thoroughly pathetic offerings:
1). American Pickers
2). Pawn Stars
3). When UFOs Arrive
4). That’s Impossible: Invisibility Cloaks
5). Ice Road Truckers
6). Ancient Aliens
7). The Real Tomb Hunters: Snakes, Curses, and Booby Traps
8). Meteors: A Fire in the Sky
9). Indiana Jones and the Ultimate Quest
10). Deep Sea UFOs: Red Alert
11). Stan Lee’s Superhumans
12). Star Trek Tech
13). Haunted History
14). Swamp People
15). Only In America: Larry the Cable Guy
16). Ax Men
17). Exorcism: Driving Out the Devil
18). UFO Hunters
Had enough yet, folks? CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS SHIT? And this is just the list for the History Channel! For History Channel International, THESE “gems” have been showing:
1). Haunted History: New Orleans (now what in hell does a bunch of fictional New Orleans ghosts have to do with international history)?
2). Secret Passages: Drug Tunnels
3). Man, Moment, Machine: Apollo 13 – Triumph on the Dark Side
4). Lost Worlds: Lost Superpower of the Bible
5). Mega Movers: Moving an Airport
6). Modern Marvels: Tobacco
7). The Universe – Time Travel
8). Angels and Demons: Decoded
9). Engineering Disasters
10). Vanishings! The Missing Millionaire
11). The Lincoln Assassination (now THAT had a great bearing on international relations, didn’t it)!
12). God vs. Satan
13). The Legacy of Star Wars
The list of this brain-deadening CRAP goes on and on.
WHAT THE HELL HAS HAPPENED TO MY HISTORY CHANNELS? Why are we now being subjected to such horrible, NON-historical, 10th rate programming on them after what had been such a promising start? Why has A & E networks chosen to dummy down the country with such inferior, unintelligent, downright BAD programming?
The buyers at A & E, along with the writers and producers of nearly all of the abovementioned shows should all be boiled in oil for insulting our intelligence as they have with these terrible selections. I would strongly urge both of these networks to return to some insightful, INTELLIGENT programming. How about some enlightening shows based on some of these topics:
1). A good documentary on the regime of Juan and Eva Peron in Argentina?
2). A week-to-week series on the long history of China?
3). An examination of American labor history, from slavery in the colonies to the present?
4). A detailed weekly series on the administrations of ALL the American Presidents?
5). The history of Canada?
6). The history of South American wars?
7). An exhaustive study of both the 1956 Hungarian Uprising and the 1968 Prague Spring?
8). An in-depth study of the French Revolution?
9). A look at the wave of revolutionary fever which spread throughout Europe in the mid 1800s?
10). The influence of Otto von Bismarck on German and world history?
11). An exhaustive study on Winston Churchill?
12). The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire?
13). An in-depth analysis of the lives of each of the four assassinated U.S. Presidents?
14). An ongoing study of the history of African countries?
15). The Russian Revolution, from pre-1917 through the end of the Soviet Union?
16). An exhaustive series dealing with the reigns of EVERY medieval European king and queen?
17). The histories of Australia and New Zealand?
18). Islam: From Mohammed to the Present?
19). America and its enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine?
20). Christianity’s Persecutions, from the Middle Ages to the Present?
21). The origin and hostory of the India-Pakistan conflict?
22). The history of Israel and its Arab neighbors, from 1948-now?
23). An overview of British Colonialism and how it has shaped the Modern World?
24). The Complete History of Cuba?
25). The World of Marco Polo?
THAT should keep those programmers and producers busy for the next 5 seasons. Why don’r they get serious and raise the bar a bit?
I WANT MY ORIGINAL HISTORY CHANNELS BACK!!!
UNTIL THE HISTORY CHANNELS IMPROVE THEIR OFFERINGS, I RECOMMEND THAT ALL READERS START WATCHING KEITH OLBERMANN, AND ALSO “50 DOCUMENTARIES YOU MUST SEE BEFORE YOU DIE” OVER ON CURRENT TV INSTEAD!
BULLETIN! BOYCOTT ALL AMERICAN CRYSTAL SUGAR PRODUCTS! THAT COMPANY OFFERED ITS UNION A PUNY 2% WAGE INCREASE FOR EACH OF THE NEXT 5 YEARS, AND, WHEN THE UNION REJECTED THE OFFER, THE COMPANY LOCKED OUT 1,300 WORKERS AND REPLACED THEM WITH SCABS ONE DAY LATER! BOYCOTT CRYSTAL SUGAR!!!!