Friday, April 29, 2011
History Just Isn't what it used to be
Check out these commercials for The History Channel. The first is from 1996, when the History Channel was devoted to...well, history. Lots of World War II footage. Lots of documentaries- "Hitler's Madness," "The Luftwaffe," "Dogfights of the RAF," etc. etc. A few harmless, silly pseudo-documentaries like "The Salem Witch Trials" and "The Prophecies of Nostradamus." But for the most part, real history, presented by real historians, in an easy-to-digest format.
Now check out the commercial for The History Channel, 2011 version. If you dare.
I say "if you dare" because if you care about history at all, this is really, really sad. Ancient Aliens. American Pickers. Alligator Torturers (that's not what the show is called, but it might as well be.) Ice Road Truckers. Pawn Stars. And what any of this has to do with history is totally beyond me.
This isn't a "history channel" anymore. It's a clearing house for reality tv crap rejected by STARZ, TNT, and the USA Network. It's audience must be 100 percent different now compared to the 1990s-- I hate to be a snob, but this really is nothing more than trailer trash television- lots of explosions, falling trees, loud trucks, animal abuse, and huge hairy, dirty men yelling "WOO HOO" every few minutes. I mean, come on- this crap makes "MythBusters" seem highbrow.
Here's a tip for the people currently running what used to be The History Channel into the ground: nobody wants to you try to "make history." I think the original idea was for you to examine history and present it in an entertaining manner. For more than a decade, you managed to do this fairly well. But for whatever reason ( I suspect money, you penny-pinching cretins) you've decided that the word "History" basically means whatever you want it to mean, be it "Watching guys cut through 1000-year old trees" or "check out the awesome big truck as it crashes through the ice for the 900th time." Whatever the reason, the result is just another channel devoted to Junk TV.
This is the second time I've ripped into the "History" Channel, and probably not the last, because G-d knows the people who ruined what used to be a very good reason to purchase cable deserve it. My guess is that they've received plenty of complaints, but their response has been to come up with more new crap and to run American Pickers marathons. In other words, to give the finger to real fans of History. So here's mine, right back at you, you channel-wrecking dicks.