Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The History Channel Sucks

In his latest podcast, the Captain talks about the decline and the inevitable death of radio as we know it. Well, in the spirit of his podcast, I have my own observation to make. We all are aware of the slow death of cable television.  No channel best exemplifies why television is dying than The History Channel. It sucks, and it sucks big time.

The History Channel was once a program where you could watch documentaries, shows, or the occasional historically inspired movie. Sure, the history wasn't always accurate, but it's strengths made up for the weaknesses it possessed. While many of us who live history, including myself, had no problem using their imaginations to envision the events taking place before us as if in real time, not everyone had that ability or inclination to do so.  On the history channel, images, interviews and reenactments created a visual tapestry through which history could be taught. It brought a both a human and a creative element that textbooks simply couldn't, and it was wonderful because of it. But that was then, not now.

Now the History Channel is nothing more than one of the many garbage receptacle station through which individuals watch scripted junk reality television. I didn't notice when shows Pawn Stars first came into being, due to 'historical' aspect of the items they would buy and sell, but it was the harbinger of a death. Flip on the History Channel today and the documentaries, interviews and historical movies have been replaced with Ice Road Truckers, Ice Road Truckers, Mountain Men, Axe Men, American Pickers and other garbage shows; who wants to put money that we will see a show about sifting through garbage dumpsters sometime soon?  There are still some quality programing, like Vikings, and shows still related to history but gone is the never ending stream of documentaries.

This is terrible, and best exemplifies the decline of television and I am also not the only person who has noticed this. Other stations like FOX or CBS had always peddled in more popular culture item, i.e shows like Seinfeld, Fraser, Friends, Simpsons, so on and so forth.  While the shows could occasionally be insightful, though very rarely, they weren't high brow television. The History Channel was, or at least tried to be. Today rating whoring won out over the reason for the shows existence, which was to teach history, and it is another example of the decline of our culture.

11 comments:

  1. I remember when the History channel meant WWII and History international was about the Romans.

    Add one more reason to stop watching tv.

    http://spootville.blogspot.com/2012/12/why-do-you-still-watch-tv.html

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    Replies
    1. Oming 4 A New AmericaJune 12, 2013 at 5:03 PM


      "I remember when the History channel meant WWII and History international was about the Romans."

      Well that's just sad. The whole of history relegated to WW2 and the Romans?

      No wonder I had to fight off the "stupid American" stereotype when living abroad.

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    2. Tim wasn't, you are reading too much into his comment, and the stupid American stereotype has alyways existed. For many Europeans we will always be considered the country bumpkin.

      Delete
    3. Correction to both, stereotype usually means false generalization of a certain character to the entire nation. In this case it's not false, it's about right... And not for many but for ALL Europeans, and the rest of the world... :D

      Delete
    4. A big stretch to assume that all Europeans buy into the 'stupid American' stereotype. That would be the same as the American counter that all Europeans are 'limp wristed pussies'.

      It's a dumb stereotype that belies a lack of critical thinking since the adjective stupid is pretty broad and no context is given. Listen, stereotypes based on disposition and personality are generally pretty accurate though can be taken too far. For example there is the stereotype of Europeans as arrogant and lazy, which isn't true in my experience and on the face is absurd.

      Lastly, America didn't become the worlds cultural, economic and military superpower because it was a nation full of dullards. Anyone who has to cling to the idea that Americans are, as a whole, stupid is just doing it for their egos. It's tantamount to how Americans refer to Canada as the socialist nation to the north when in many ways they are out Americaning the United States.

      Delete
  2. Oming 4 A New AmericaJune 12, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    I grew up in the US and spent most of my life in foreign countries. Sometimes I'd come back to the states and happen to stay in a home that had television (not my preferred type of residence). Every once in a while I'd turn on the History Channel or Discovery Channel and they had some interesting documentaries.

    That was like 15 years ago.

    Now?

    I also noticed how there is very little educational content and whatever there is they edit it in this new editing format for people with low intelligence and short attention spans.


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  3. I've said a lot about this topic, but I'm actually very hopeful for television and how online Netflix shows like House of Cards and the new Arrested Development season have gotten so popular. It's evidence that people in general still want to see content driven by good stories and characters and that they want more out of their entertainment. I'm wondering if British television has fared better than American TV. Sherlock is an incredible show from the BBC that I really loved, and I'm interested in seeing if the Dr. Who revival lives up to the hype.

    Save Capitalism wasn't too happy about how people were reacting to Game of Thrones and I thought it would be a super overrated show, but I decided to check out a couple of episodes from Season 1 and I'm totally hooked. The violence and sex scenes are just icing on top of an already very well executed cake (cinematography, characters, plot, etc.).

    That's why channels like AMC, FX, and HBO have shows that are in such high demand right now. Eventually if this keeps up, more and more people will start to question the point of even watching TV at all besides for the sports when there's so much stuff you can see online now. A lot of the big networks and movie studios may be driven out of business if they don't wake up to this fact.

    There have been a few reality shows I watched, but more out of a guilty pleasure for them like Hoarders and Intervention. Like with shows like Family Guy, it's the television equivalent of going out to McDonald's and buying a Big Mac from them. Not something that should be praised as high class art, but something quick to ease off with, you know?

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  4. I agree 100% with your rant about The History Channel. Used to watch it all the time for great shows like Modern Marvels, but now it's become a garbage dump for all these wannabe reality TV shows. Whenever one show has been really successful, there are all these networks that want to copy that particular format without understanding why it was successful in the first place.

    Cartoon Network long went downhill too when they decided to try be something that they never were with all the attempts at trying to put live action stuff on their channel.

    This is a great video to go along with your rant.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfDVva9gq44

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  5. I do miss the documentaries but I do think that Pawn Stars and Ice Road Truckers and American Pickers at the very least promote the idea that there is no shame in making money or doing something competently and be compensated for it. That part is sadly lacking in public education and other areas of society today.

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  6. Now History Channel 2 has the gall to devote Labor Day to their lying series (by commission and omission -- success is willingness to take risks? Get real! Success is one's ability to extort riches by making others take the risks) extolling the psychopath Captains of American Industry.

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Seattle resident whose real name is Kevin Daniels. This blog covers the following topics, libertarian philosophy, realpolitik, western culture, history and the pursuit of truth from the perspective of a libertarian traditionalist.