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.