A Message to the Manufacturers of the Culture of Dumb

"FYI Mark -- update as of May 18 -- respectfully for your (re)consideration:this well-reasoned refutation ..."

The Uses of Alfie Evans
"Will do. Re: media learning, though, the media has blown far past that kind of ..."

Gun Cult Renews Commitment to Lies ..."
"Listen to the podcast when you can. Derek Black speaks specifically into your parenthetical in ..."

Gun Cult Renews Commitment to Lies ..."
"Thanks; that was easier for me to carve out a few minutes to read. There ..."

Gun Cult Renews Commitment to Lies ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Where’s Bigfoot?

  • Richard Johnson

    History, that is the real study of real events in our recent and distant past and how they impact our lives today, doesn’t draw viewers. If you do not draw viewers, advertisers will not pay much to place their ads on your shows.

    History, that is the trivialized study of conspiracies, oddities, and eccentric human behavior in the form of reality shows, draws viewers. Increased viewership means advertisers will pay more to place their ads on your shows.

    This is Economics 101, simple supply and demand theory, in action. Rather than berate a commercial broadcast channel acting in accordance with simple economic truths, why not berate the populace that won’t tune in a good documentary on Tacitus or Alexander the Great but will watch a “Storage Wars” marathon for eight hours.

    • And all this is why my parents, conservative Republicans to a man (and woman), spent more time watching PBS and listening to NPR when I was growing up. Yeah, they have a somewhat different worldview, but at least they’re trying to tell important (if sometimes somewhat boring) truths.

      • Nick R

        NPR still as some good stuff on. Since the bias is only occasional and usually easy to spot, I’ve found myself listening to them more and more in search for higher quality programming (and the BBC too, which imo is much better than PBS)

  • Steve P

    This *SO* needed to be said!!!

    I couldn’t believe when I saw some cable programming recently, what had happened to this channel.

    I used to use some of their material years ago in teaching MS Social Studies. So to see this kind of garbage, I was flabbergasted and disappointed.

    I nearly spit coffee through the phone when one of their reps called me not long ago, offering a DVD series on Catholicism. It was literally within a day or so of my first hearing of the Catholicism series by Fr. Robert Barron. Which one do y’all think I should go with… ?

    And Richard, you are absolutely right– it speaks volumes about our culture. But then for heaven’s sake, call your channel something else!

    If “National Geographic” went to NatGeo, and Science Fiction channel went to SyFy, maybe they could just re-brand as “HistCha”. It could mean whatever they want it to mean, like… “Splunge”.

    But then I would have to buy an anti-histcha-mine…

    • Mark Shea

      For that pun, you must die. Painfully.

      • Dr. Eric

        C’mon Mark, surely he should get some credit for the Monty Python reference.

    • Liz

      “I couldn’t believe when I saw some cable programming recently, what had happened to this channel.”
      Yes, my thoughts exactly. My 18-year-old brother and I had a good belly laugh recently after we came across some programs on this channel featuring “experts” advancing the theory that space aliens were in cahoots with the Nazis. (No I am not making that up!)

  • Ellen

    But, I kind of like Pawn Stars (blush) and I like American Pickers too.

    Sigh. There’s not a lot to watch anymore – no wonder my kindle is filling up.

  • Sal

    Just the other day at breakfast, the spouse and I were wondering what the Easter Controversy on the History Channel would be this year.
    So, yeah.

  • Dr. Eric

    I am so futher mucking sick of cable TV. I am this close to dropping it. I at least had the Hitler- err umm- History Channel, Food Network, Nickelodeon, Turner Classic Movies and EWTN to fall back on.

    The Hitler Channel- I did it again!- has completely dropped any educational value it once had.

    Food Network has nothing but people slopping together dishes in under 2 minutes to win some prize.

    Nickelodeon is only for the kids and in limited doses.

    I won’t write ill of EWTN for fear of reprisals.

    Mark is right, kill your TV.

  • Noah D

    As we call it, the History [sic] Channel.

  • And its spin-off, Military History Channel … as far as I can determine, there’s only been one war. And that was 70 years ago. Yet somehow Roman soldiers occasionally get dragged into the mix.

    This is why I blog: There’s nothing good on TV. As Fred Allen once said, it’s called a medium because anything well done is rare.

  • MarylandBill

    The History Channel use to be one of my favorites. I will say that at least Pawn Stars and American Pickers, while light fluff, do usually offer up something tangentially related to history (i.e., digging up an old antique and discussing it briefly; it may not match a discussion on the causes of the American Revolution, but it is technically history), but other programs? Its sad to think that this channel use to be the home of historical documentaries filled with English accented narrators and hosts. I suppose they found it better to move towards regular programming than to show strings of documentaries… but I miss the documentaries. Oh well, there are DVD’s and Streaming Video… Maybe I will dig out my “A History of Britain and watch a few episodes tonight :)).

  • Dean Steinlage

    I’ve come to realize that pretty much any history Channel show on the Church will raise my blood pressure WAY too much.

    • MarylandBill

      Well, it almost goes without saying that almost anything in the mainstream media is not going to give an unbiased picture of the Church. I did however enjoy their annual showing of Jesus of Nazareth on Easter Sunday…

  • Scott W.

    Well tecnically, pictures of the pyramids and (I guess) Mayan ruins is archeology, not history. 🙂

  • FW Ken

    I rather like Ancient Aliens, although the other night the one with the funny hair (I suspect him of being an alien) announced something to the effect that “people thought they were gods, but there are no gods, so they had to be aliens.” They have hinted this before under the all-important “could it be?” or “is it possible?” game they like.

    Following this episode of Ancient Aliens, Brad Meltzer’s Decoded gave us this:


    What if I told you that the Vatican–seat of the Catholic Church–may be responsible for the murder of one of its own popes? Pope John Paul the First was in office just thirty-three days before he was found dead of mysterious causes and whisked away by Vatican officials with no investigation. Decoded travels to Rome and learns that the fallen Pope was at the center of a banking scandal involving Freemasons and even Mafia members operating from within the walls of the Vatican. Some even say that the scandal and the murder were foretold in a prophecy delivered by the Virgin Mary that the Vatican conspired to withhold from its followers. Could Pope John Paul the First, who vowed to reform corruption in the Vatican, have been murdered by the criminals he vowed to expose?

    I turned it off when the very handsome and photogenic young man announced that “the Vatican has always been corrupt”.

    So what do you say: is it history? or not history?

  • Harold Crews

    Actually I recommend that you not get your history from the History Channel. The same should be said for your theology. I embarrassed to admit watching Ancient Aliens but I watch it only for the laughs. One episode had an ancient alien theorist argue that a Renaissance painting of God the Father and God the Son with a globe between them and the Father and Son having iron rods in their hands with an end touching the Earth was evidence of a long tradition of ancient aliens. He argued this because prior to the rise of science all people in Europe believed the world to be flat ( a complete falsehood) and the rods of iron in the hands of the Father and the Son with the ends touching the Earth was actually a representation of an artificial satellite. Seriously you would have to be under the influence of mind altering substances to believe such nonsense. First nearly everyone in Europe, particularly anyone with a modicum of education, knew the world was spherical and even its approximate circumference. This has been known from antiquity. Secondly the rods of iron weren’t antennae for an artificial satellite but were symbols of authourity over the Earth. If you watch the History Channel, watch it only for the laughs.