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As you may know, the former SciFi Channel was renamed "Syfy" because its executives were apparently capable of shame about the fact that they almost never show science fiction - and, of course, because they fell victim to some marketing rat's nincompoopery, but the ethics worked out nicely by coincidence.  Well, I think "History" (formerly The History Channel) needs to follow their example since they almost never show anything even vaguely resembling history.  My suggestion: "Hysteree" - nicely captures the withering ignorance, nonsensical premises, mysticism, and breathless tone of so much of its content.

First, let me tell you a quaint, heartwarming little story: I was watching a "documentary" about the Dark Ages, and during the narrator's voice-over a number of images of ancient artwork and soft-focus reenactments were playing.  During a description of events occurring in (IIRC) 8th century England, one of these visual aids was a mosaic of Alexander at the Battle of Issus created in 100 BC in Pompeii and depicting events occurring in what is now Southern Turkey in 333 BC - not the most pertinent subject for events occurring a millennium later, on another continent, over a thousand miles away.  To understand how absurd this is, imagine a documentary about John F. Kennedy interspersing its narration with images of Vikings and Mayan temples.  

So, irritated, I emailed the History Channel about the incongruity and got some lame reply - I do credit them with having replied at all - saying essentially that it doesn't matter what a visual aid shows as long as it creates the desired "atmosphere."  As long as an image has "historyness" about it, doesn't matter what it is: Ramesses II, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, what's the difference?  They lived a long time ago and they weren't American, so it all just blends together into an undifferentiated mush of some vague, blurry past that isn't worth genuinely exploring.  This idiocy just confirmed what I already thought about the History Channel's programming, so I dropped the matter and tuned out.  That was five years ago, when it was still producing content largely from this universe.

Now, on the rare occasions I'm channel surfing on an actual TV instead of streaming entire series, whenever I go past the History Channel it always seems to be something utterly ludicrous and outrageous: Shows about "ancient aliens," UFOs, magically advanced lost civilizations, the prophecies of Nostradamus and/or Revelations, Bible mythology presented as credible historical theory, and so on, ad nauseum (and I do mean nauseum).  And when it's not ludicrous, it's frivolous and irrelevant: Reality TV shows about pawn shops, truckers, big engineering projects, the US version of Top Gear, and similar programming that belongs on a generic cable channel.

You know how in the paragraph before last I noted that Ramesses II, Julius Caesar, and Charlemagne weren't Americans?  This version of "History" probably wouldn't even acknowledge that - it would follow the statement with some mysterious-spooky comment like "...Or were they?"  The Parthenon is in Athens, Greece...or is it?  2 + 2 = 4...or does it?  Let's hear from Professor Zanius McCrackpot of the Locksmithing Correspondence College of Pocatello, Idaho about how Charlemagne was actually a 19th-century hairdresser from New Orleans, the Atlanteans invented air travel in 2,517 BC with alien technology from Betelgeuse, and arithmetic is a Freemason conspiracy.  Let's take you to a roundtable discussion of experts (i.e., a drum circle at Burning Man) about how the Sphinx is really a time machine.    

Every single program I've seen on that channel about Judeo-Christian religion has been utter crap, treating Biblical stories not as what they are - what, indeed, pretty much all actual historians treat them as being - but as if the Bible were an actual historical record with its accounts promoted as the consensus view of history.  There is always spooky church music and choir notes in the background, with equally spooky angel and demon imagery as visual aids, but there is no logical narration in counterbalance: The stories are treated as an open question with "tantalizing clues" supposedly indicating that they're actually true - the Garden of Eden, Noah's Ark, and various other Sumerian children's fables are presented as historical theories with lots of moronic innuendo on the "or were they?" model.  

I don't know how many scholars they have to run through before they find any who will play ball with this kind of crap, but even in those cases their comments are clearly edited to hell.  For all we know, they preface even the most timid of statements about the possibility for a historical kernel of truth in myths with paragraphs of caveats and qualifications, all left on the cutting room floor.  Suppose this exchange took place: "Noah's flood - do you think it's true there could be some remote historical basis for the Biblical flood?"  "Well, you see, the myth of the flood came from the fact that Sumer existed in the Southern region of the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in what is now Southern Iraq, and these rivers - particularly the Tigris - periodically had catastrophic floods that would wipe out entire cities.  Out of that society, it makes sense that a story of a universal catastrophe would arise."  This is what would be shown: "Noah's flood - do you think it's true?"  "It makes sense that...universal catastrophe would arise."    

The fact is real historians place almost zero stock in Old Testament stories set before about the Babylonian period in the 500s BCE, and the non-mythical material (e.g., non-miraculous) afterward including that of the New Testament - names, places, events - is treated as highly suspect, extremely biased, and filled with later institutional interference and censorship.  Genesis is a set of myths borrowed from Sumerian pagan religion, the various tribal stories afterward are oral traditions with the usual mixture of real events and nonsense, and Exodus is now considered most likely something made up by state religious authorities under the Kings of Israel to propagandize tensions with Egypt.  Like all empires at the time, Egypt used captured soldiers and some part of the people from conquered villages as slaves, but there is no evidence the contingent from Israel was ever significant in size or led any kind of general exodus from Egypt.  

In fact, there is no evidence Egypt ever had that many slaves in total, let alone from one group, nor that it ever experienced the catastrophes described in Exodus, or that any significant number of slaves ever departed the country in a short period of time.   The empire's labor force largely consisted of Egyptians who worked for the state for food and housing - it wasn't until Rome that slavery really took off as an economic basis.  Not that there was that big a difference between being an ordinary Egyptian and being a foreign slave - you got one day off out of ten, a bit more food, religious services, and maybe had the psychological benefit of feeling like you were a part of the society building the things you were making, but ordinary people still had no rights.  

Nonetheless, the depiction of Egypt in Exodus is basically the ignorant fiction of a hostile foreign power (the Kingdom of Israel) vying with the pharaohs for control of mutual border territory.  It had about as much to do with reality as the depiction of the Communist bloc in The Manchurian Candidate.  But that doesn't stop "History" from treating it and every other part of the Bible like some kind of credible historical record, and basically promoting Judeo-Christian religion through dishonest pseudo-history.  And we know there is an agenda going on there, because in the far less frequent cases where religious traditions other than the Judeo-Christian are examined, they are not given the same treatment - we don't get the same kind of moronic "or were they?" mystical innuendo if the subject is, say, Hinduism.  We're not led to believe that Hindu creation stories could be true, or that there might really have been gods on Olympus and half-humans bred from them, or any other non-Judeo-Christian myth, and yet these things have exactly the same historical status as the central stories of the Bible - i.e., none.    

There was another "crockumentary" I saw just a few weeks ago, though I forget the title, about the supposed "scientific search for God" that is allegedly taking place among credible researchers around the world and - of course - they are naturally finding evidence all over the place, the program claims.  It's complete fiction, of course, but the audience is supposed to believe that scientists all across the globe are involved in a massive Manhattan Project-level effort to seek and find proof of God, and have made huge strides.  Among the "evidence" cited for this taking place is the Large Hadron Collider, because someone called the Higgs boson it was designed to seek the "God particle" as a rhetorical flourish.  

Yes, that's right: Because one pop-science writer used the word "God" in connection to a particle being sought by particle physicists, the Large Hadron Collider is really an international religious effort to seek God.  And because physicists are on the verge of finding the particle, ipso facto they are on the verge of proving the existence of God!  This was an actual program targeted at adults, and it literally did make these claims - I am not exaggerating, and not interpreting.  They outright said it.

We should not tolerate seeing humanity's heritage "Foxified" into incoherent gibberish, fantasy, religious mythology, and trivia.  This shit being shown under the banner of "History" is just plain false advertising, and not in the harmless way of Music Television no longer playing music or the Discovery Channel becoming nothing but reality shows and big scary animals.  Other than funding-starved sources like PBS and NPR, this channel is the closest thing most people come to learning about history outside of college, and its content is often worse than false - it completely seals off a person's understanding of reality in an alternate-universe bubble totally isolated from actual fact and history.  Instead of learning about the past and gaining insight into humanity's long, oftentimes horrific, and occasionally glorious struggles - something I know for a fact can be entertaining from the many wonderful documentaries I've seen elsewhere - the audience is dipped into a psychedelic fantasyland of baseless suppositions, mystical religious fables, and trivia-fetish.  

It's unacceptable.  Sell this shit under the banner of "Hysteree," or "Gibberish TV," or "Ignoramus Maximus," but don't feed people some Frankenstein's monster combination of the 700 Club and a Spinal Tap stage set under the banner of a field of scholarship.  Fox "News" has almost nothing to do with news, and "History" has almost nothing to do with history.  You are lying to people and making them dumber, you horrible, horrible douchebags.  

I leave you with this snippet from a transcript of the Leonard Nimoy intro to the Simpsons season 8 episode "The Springfield Files (a parody of the X-files) - I wanted to find a Youtube clip of Nimoy actually saying it in the episode, but the only versions are unfortunately in other languages for some insane reason:

In Search of Bullshit

Hello, I'm Leonard Nimoy.  The following tale of alien encounters is true.  And by true, I mean false.  It's all lies.  But they're entertaining lies, and in the end, isn't that the real truth? The no.

11:21 AM PT: If you want to watch a real documentary and compare it to any of the shit shown on Hysteree, you can't get much better than Apocalypse: The Second World War - it's a very insightful French production shown on The Smithsonian Channel and the National Geographic Channel, and taught me a lot of things I had never known about WW2.  You can see it all on Youtube:  

Part 1: Aggression
Part 2: Crushing Defeat
Part 3: Shock
Part 4: World Ablaze
Part 5: The Great Landings / The Noose
Part 6: Inferno

Originally posted to Troubadour on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:35 AM PDT.

Also republished by History for Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yep. The Scientific Quest to Prove the Existence (13+ / 0-)

    of God was on one of their channels yesterday.

    This fantasy bullshit runs on all their channels at least part of the time: History, Nat Geo, Discovery and sometimes Science Channel.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:37:56 AM PDT

    •  And it's a total fucking lie. (5+ / 0-)

      The agenda is obvious.

      Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

      by Troubadour on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:41:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with your rant. I also have a great (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        solution for you. Change the channel.

        Seek not that the things which happen should happen as you wish; but wish the things which happen to be as they are, and you will have a tranquil flow of life.

        by Montreal Progressive on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:30:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Gee, thanks. Why didn't I think of that? (3+ / 0-)

          You obviously don't think we have a problem in this country with the population being woefully misinformed, believing total nonsense and having criminal bastards profiting from it both politically and economically.

          Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

          by Troubadour on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:56:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Most people are indeed simple minded and (0+ / 0-)

            can be made to believe anything. That dead people rise from the dead, that water can be transformed into wine and wine is the blood of Jesus, that Jesus walked on water and so on. If I had a problem with misinformation I would be vey unhappy indeed.

            Part of practicing being happy is understanding that human beings are often stupid or pray on the stupid and accepting it. It cannot be changed. At the same time your denouncing the profiteering from lies is the sign of a virtuous person. Just remember to also accept what you condemn (and read my sig line)

            Seek not that the things which happen should happen as you wish; but wish the things which happen to be as they are, and you will have a tranquil flow of life.

            by Montreal Progressive on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 06:50:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "It cannot be changed." (0+ / 0-)

              I'm glad you think public education is so futile and useless.

              Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

              by Troubadour on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 05:37:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No need to be sarcastic to make your point. (0+ / 0-)

                I support public education fully and I think that education should be accessible and free to whoever is able and willing to receive it.

                At the same time, I recognise that myth has a certain quality that appeals to many people in ways that cold rational thought does not. I also recognise that some people exploit and profit from this. It is wrong and I join your condemnation of it.

                It is not clear why contrary to fact mythology is routinely served to and accepted by people, but it could be part of human nature (though this is not proven).

                In any event, even though philosophy, the renaissance, the age of enlightenment have done a lot of good in elevating the human spirit, they have not come close to defeating superstition and myth telling/believing.

                Therefore, to allow the situation to affect you emotionally by generating frustration or other negative feelings is a kind of moral defeat, that you can avoid even though it takes practice. This is my personal opinion.  

                Look Troubador, I enjoy your diaries a lot, including this one and the more recent one. You mix humour with condemnation to make your point and overall it appears to me that you are a kindred spirit.

                People like us have a lot of trouble remaining unaffected by bad human behaviour.

                When this happens to me I turn to Marcus Aurelius Meditations where he says:

                in the morning say to thyself, This day I shalt have to do with an idle curious man, with an unthankful man, a railer, a crafty, false, or an envious man; an unsociable uncharitable man. All these ill qualities have happened unto them, through ignorance of that which is truly good and truly bad. But I that understand the nature of that which is good, that it only is to be desired, and of that which is bad, that it only is truly odious and shameful: who know moreover, that this transgressor, whosoever he be, is my kinsman, not by the same blood and seed, but by participation of the same reason, and of the same divine particle; How can I either be hurt by any of those, since it is not in their power to make me incur anything that is truly reproachful? or angry, and ill affected towards him, who by nature is so near unto me? for we are all born to be fellow-workers, as the feet, the hands, and the eyelids; as the rows of the upper and under teeth: for such therefore to be in opposition, is against nature; and what is it to chafe at, and to be averse from, but to be in opposition?
                And then I change the channel, or better yet, turn off the TV.

                Seek not that the things which happen should happen as you wish; but wish the things which happen to be as they are, and you will have a tranquil flow of life.

                by Montreal Progressive on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 07:52:15 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  history hasn't done actual (6+ / 0-)

    HISTORY since before 2000.

    We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

    by ScrewySquirrel on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:41:08 AM PDT

  •  Pawn Stars and Shark Wranglers.... (10+ / 0-)

    just like The Learning Channel became a modern day Freak Show...tales of conjoined twins, little girls with mermaid tails and people who eat drywall.  

  •  and with a population increasingly incapable (12+ / 0-)

    of critical thinking...well, you know where this is heading.

    pseudoscience can kill

    by terrypinder on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:49:16 AM PDT

  •  Really, they don't even play... (5+ / 0-)

    shows or series loosely based on history anymore (like Ancient Aliens or Nostrodamus) - at least those shows had strands of historical facts woven in.  They've moved all their shows that resemble any kind of history over to H2 (History 2) which you can only get by upgrading your cable package....

    Everytime I see the History channel, it's Ice Road Truckers, Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, American Pickers, etc, etc - absolutely nothing to do with History.

    I'm peeved about it too.  I love history, and I loved the old History channel.  They are an absurd mix of white trash and reality nonsense now.  Truly appauling.  But I'm guessing they get more viewers with Gold Rush than they do with documentaries about the Middle Ages.

    But yes, they should change their name.  It's very misleading.

    Ask Osama Bin Laden if he's better off than he was 4 years ago

    by SuzieQ4624 on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:54:00 AM PDT

  •  I love to use "Hysteree"... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, mint julep an example of how the "invisible hand" isn't always pointing in a direction we should go.

    What's popular may be profitable, but bears little resemblance to what is true and good.

    Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

    by GreenPA on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:54:12 AM PDT

    •  It would be nice if history and archaeology (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mint julep, GreenPA

      scholars would hold these channels accountable by coming together and posting ads in national newspapers declaring that the programming is fraught with deceptive, dishonest, nonsensical, and just plain false information that deceives and disserves the American public.  They should call on the channels to rename themselves - if they can't be bothered to stick reasonably close to reality, they have no ethical right to call themselves History or Science.

      Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

      by Troubadour on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:24:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You're using (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jay C, Bob Love, licorice114

    A form of argumentation known as Stacking the Deck. The History Channel has certainly expanded its scope, and I realize it's for ratings, but since you seemed to have an axe to grind with Christianity most of all, I'll be happy to respond to that.

    If you type "anti Christian" and History Channel into Google search you get 2,880,000 hits. I haven't watched the History Channel in quite a bit, but it did quite a bit of secularizing on the Bible. Yes, it discusses things that are debatable, but you seem to be latching only onto things that verify your argument.

    For instance, Noah's Flood. The History Channel did really good coverage of the Black Sea deluge as a form of ancient basis for the flooding stories that exist in the ancient Sumeria region. Level criticism at it and History Channel did, but it at least tried to lay down a secular reason for the stories.

    Then of course you have the slavery issue. One of the most debatable elements in Biblical history as even specialized Jewish historians have trouble dealing with this, but as I recall the History channel coverage of it, it attempted to place the potential Jewish slavery in the Hyksos dynastic period.

    And here's where I see the value of what the History Channel was presenting. Without those two shows, people watching wouldn't have known what the Black Sea Deluge was, or the Hyksos Dynastic Period.

    It's harder to get in depth in this discussion since you're coming from a certain historical philosophical approach, but since you don't cite your sources  it's difficult to address them.

    by DAISHI on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:55:43 AM PDT

    •  It's still all apologetics. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mint julep, Troubadour, Mortifyd

      The essence of the History Channel's efforts on this subject is to cram the actual historical evidence into the procrustean bed of Biblical invention. No surprise that they lop off a few limbs in the process. They're trying to make a billion Christians happy by pretending there is no contradiction between actual archeologic/historic/genetic evidence and a Bible that is in many ways a work of fiction.

    •  Uh, no. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mint julep, Bob Love, Mortifyd

      Google results are not evidence.  Type in "Obama Muslim" and see what happens.  Reality is not an average of opinions, and neither are reality-based studies like science and history.

      Yes, it discusses things that are debatable
      Not "debatable" among historians - it discusses things that are complete crackpottery with zero credibility in any field of scholarship as if they were not only legitimate theories, but as if they were the consensus viewpoint.  Such content, when presented as the work of legitimate scholarship, is simply a lie.
      have an axe to grind with Christianity
      I have an axe to grind with liars and propagandists who rewrite history to advance a religious agenda.  I also have an axe to grind with depraved entertainment producers who package information as whatever some focus group tells them will attract the best advertising demographics.  
      For instance, Noah's Flood. The History Channel did really good coverage of the Black Sea deluge as a form of ancient basis for the flooding stories that exist in the ancient Sumeria region.
      First of all, the Black Sea deluge hypothesis is that such an event might have taken place around 5,600 BC - over a thousand years before the earliest Sumerian river settlements, and over two thousand years before the invention of writing.  Secondly, it would have occurred over the better part of a year, meaning it would not have been especially dramatic.  Thirdly, the sea would only have risen a few tens of meters in that time, meaning plenty of land would have remained visible - especially in the immediate aftermath before outcroppings and hills turned into islands could have been eroded.  

      But even if such an event could have survived thousands of years of oral tradition before becoming transcribed as a Sumerian story, there's no evidence of any connection whatsoever between the Black Sea Coast and Sumer.  No evidence that Sumerian or Semitic peoples came from that region or had a genetic infusion from that region.  No evidence in biology, archaeology, or oral tradition of a mass-migration from the Black Sea across Anatolia and the Syrian desert to Sumer in that time period.  The two regions are divided by mountain ranges and vast deserts, with plenty of fertile places to stop at in between - it's preposterous.  In fact, no evidence the Sumerians had any knowledge of the world beyond their own small circle of neighbors.

      One of the most debatable elements in Biblical history as even specialized Jewish historians have trouble dealing with this, but as I recall the History channel coverage of it, it attempted to place the potential Jewish slavery in the Hyksos dynastic period.
      And you state the problem right there - the "History" channel looks for excuses to claim that entertaining  ideas are true rather than acknowledging that lack of evidence is indeed a good reason to dismiss something.  If you're trying to reach a given conclusion, you always can.  Exodus has no standing whatsoever as a historical account in real historical scholarship, but when all you discuss are disagreements about when it happened, you're treating it as an article of faith that it happened at all - of which there is no evidence.
      And here's where I see the value of what the History Channel was presenting. Without those two shows, people watching wouldn't have known what the Black Sea Deluge was, or the Hyksos Dynastic Period.
      Ah, so even if everything they actually say is an utter crock, it's totally worthwhile because the subject they're obfuscating beyond recognition is worthwhile.  Books written by Nazi genetic theorists are worthwhile because the reader hears about genes, despite everything else in them being shit.

      Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

      by Troubadour on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:22:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  what can ya say? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jay C, Troubadour

    shit sells...   Whole industries exist to market nothing but shit and people buy it.  It's a shame but there ya go.  

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:57:01 AM PDT

  •  IIRC, Sci-Fi Channel (10+ / 0-)

    IIRC, I read somewhere that The Sci-Fi Channel changed its name to "Syfy" not out of same, but from plain old commercial corporate greed (I know, what a surprise!). Apparently "Sci-Fi" was/is a generic literary term that couldn't be copyrighted, while the inane "Syfy" term is (and has been) registered as a proprietary trademark.

    Like Jed sed: nincompoopery...

  •  I remember (and not *that* long ago) (10+ / 0-)

    When we would travel we were so excited if the motel had cable. The History channel did actual history, Arts and Entertainment had concerts, plays, short stories re-enacted, etc. It was great. We wished we had more time to hang out in the room and watch stuff. Now all those kinds of channels have turned into the TV version of tabloids.

    " can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem." Mitt Romney

    by Catte Nappe on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:02:02 AM PDT

    •  You know what else irks me: All the war porn. (4+ / 0-)

      Instead of real documentaries about WW2 and other modern wars, it's narrated like sports commentary.  "And Rommel throws a left, another left; Patton lands an uppercut..."  There's no insight into anything.  I had to go to Youtube to find a real documentary (in color, no less) about WW2, and the difference is staggering.  It's a six-hour French production called Apocalypse: The Second World War, and anyone who has the time should watch it:

      Part 1: Aggression
      Part 2: Crushing Defeat
      Part 3: Shock
      Part 4: The World Ablaze
      Part 5: The Great Landings / The Noose
      Part 6: Inferno

      Apparently the Smithsonian Channel and the National Geographic Channel have played it.  Hmm, apparently there are better offerings on cable than I thought.

      Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

      by Troubadour on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:35:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  As much as my previous religion... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...has seriously done a number on my psyche, I did love the few years we attended the Feast Of Tabernacles.  One, I enjoyed getting to stay directly on the beach, and two, I got to watch cable tv.  This was two decades ago, and we didn't have anything but regular antenna tv at home, so it was so awesome to be able to watch The Sci Fi Channel (when they actually showed !gasp science fiction) and Nickelodeon and The Weather Channel (yes, I was in awe of being able to watch the weather all the time) and music videos on MTV and VH1 all day.  Back in the day with TLC celebrated learning, not today when they seem to literally celebrate stupidity.

      •  I remember when SciFi made Children of Dune. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vacantlook, Catte Nappe

        A tour-de-force six-hour adaptation of a classic novel, with a cast of several amazing actors - Susan Sarandon, James McAvoy, Alice Krige, Edward Atterton, Steven Berkoff, etc.  They created an incredible soundtrack whose best songs are still being used by other studios that buy them for trailers and soundtracks in other shows and movies, and some of the best special effects seen on TV up to that point (and probably still).  

        Now it's a bunch of stupid, cheap monster movies; "reality" shows about ghosts; and its approach to science fiction are a couple of goofy semi-comedy shows (Eureka, Warehouse 13) geared toward showing off random, cartoonish gadgets.  Don't get me wrong, I like Eureka and Warehouse 13, but they're trifles.

        Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

        by Troubadour on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 12:07:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I totally own the Children of Dune soundtrack. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I don't know how it fares as an adaptation of the books, but I liked that miniseries.  I pretty much never watch Syfy now.  I've tried out a couple of episodes of Warehouse 13 recently after having read that Aaron Ashmore's character is supposedly gay and that Jane Espenson is involved on the show, and while I guess the show is ok, it's hardly anything I feel the need to watch.  And that's the only thing I can say I watch on the network.  Yesterday flipping past to get to another channel, I saw they had on some film called Arachnoquake about an earthquake in New Orleans setting loose a bunch of spiders on the city.  So yeah, aside from a couple of Warehouse 13 episodes, I haven't watched anything on that network since Battlestar Galactica ended, and I had to metaphorically drag my ass across the finish line to get to the end of that.

          •  CoD is probably the greatest adaptation (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            of the Dune universe that will ever be seen in visual media.  Obviously superior to the David Lynch movie version of the original book, and superior even to the SciFi adaptation of the original book.  CoD really captured the tone and mental sensibility of that universe, and Brian Tyler's soundtrack accounts for a huge part of that.  I actually still get tears in my eyes at the final scene.

            I mostly watch Warehouse 13 because its characters can be fun, and because the actress who plays Myka is hot in an unusual, nerdy way that you don't see very often.

            Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

            by Troubadour on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 12:34:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  The Golden Age of TV was the XIX century. nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, Catte Nappe

      "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

      by Bob Love on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 11:27:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  History (Channel) is a total crock. (10+ / 0-)

    I quit watching after catching a straight-faced "documentary" suggesting that the "mysterious" events in the Bermuda Triangle were caused by a black hole. I'll skip the science that proves why this is absurd and just add that I repeatedly yelled "BULL-fucking-SHIT!!" at my TV.

    More disturbing still is their recent penchant for producing "America-centric" shows about history. To hear them tell it, all of human history was aimed at creating this nation alone, and also it's humanity's single greatest achievement. It's like the channel is being run by teabaggers, and it's disgusting.

    BTW, my 10-year-old daughter has caught glaring inaccuracies in numerous presentations on this channel. That should tell you something.

    Stop watching "History" and read a book.

    Thanks for calling this out!

    There are two types of Republicans: millionaires and suckers.

    by Phil T Duck on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:05:21 AM PDT

    •  I know how you feel. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mint julep, vacantlook, whaddaya, Bob Love

      When they described the Large Hadron Collider as part of an international scientific search for God, I said "Ugh, who the fuck are the people making this show?"

      Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

      by Troubadour on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:37:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe TX could have funded the Superconducting (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour, NeverThere

        Super Collider if they'd sold it as the Proof That God Exists machine!

        "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

        by Bob Love on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 11:30:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I also can't figure out how (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        UFOs figure into "history," at least to the extent that the "History" channel pushes it. Maybe they should just change their name to The Conspiracy Channel and be done with it.

        I mean, how is any rational, thinking person (you know--like those most likely to have an interest in HISTORY) take them seriously when they call someone like Erik von Daniken an "expert" (as opposed to "crackpot")?

        The mind boggles.

        I now assume it's all propaganda and nonsense and skip it.

        There are two types of Republicans: millionaires and suckers.

        by Phil T Duck on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 12:00:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I still watch the History Channel (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JGibson, Troubadour, NeverThere

    when they are showing something besides Pawn Stars or Ice Road Truckers or that kind of crap.

    I enjoy Ancient Aliens (I'm into that stuff), but I also have learned about moonshiners, hillbillies, Nostradamus (overly dramatic dramatization) and those types of things. Interesting and a counterpoint to stuff I was taught in school (both taken with huge grains of salt).

    I agree, though, it is becoming less History and more Hysteree. Why all the crap about pawn stars, pickers, and other non-history stuff, I don't know, except for ratings. Too bad they can't celebrate History for its own sake and not worry about ratings.

    I reject your reality and substitute my own - Adam Savage

    by woolibaar on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:05:57 AM PDT

    •  Well, I hope you understand (0+ / 0-)

      that pretty much everything they say on that Ancient Aliens show is total, utter, steaming crap straight from a Roswell tourist gift shop, and that Nostradamus's prophecies are gibberish referring to countries and political figures that only existed in his era and were only relevant to his society.

      Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

      by Troubadour on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:40:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They also use proven scam artists as 'experts' (5+ / 0-)

    One program that really set me off was about "Earth's Black Hole!", which played up the theory that the Bermuda Triangle disappearances (which is another load of crap) are caused by a black hole at the Earth's core or some such nonsense. One of the 'Scienterrific Experts' they used to explain this theory was by a 'noted physicist' who has claimed to produce anti-gravity and whose studies have actually been funded by the Pentagon. He shows the effect from a remote camera inside a special box where the effect takes place - where items mysteriously fly UP to the top of the box!! Of course it's the same effect used to make Fred Astaire dance on walls and the ceiling, with a fixed camera and a rotating box. Not a bit of skepticism was applied by the program, they reported it as 'fact'.

    By not following the most basic rules of journalism, History elevates frauds, charlatans and scam artists and allows them to falsely educate not only credulous adults, but children who also watch these programs to learn. And look at what they're learning! They've become the James O'Keefe of knowledge and education.

    (romney)/RYAN 2012 - Look at those clouds. It's beautiful. Just look at those things!

    by Fordmandalay on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:18:51 AM PDT

    •  And if they didn't have real crackpots (0+ / 0-)

      and con artists available they'd probably just hire an actor, the degenerate fucks.  I hope someone other than me starts a campaign to make these bastards change the name of the channel - ditto with "Science" channel.  

      Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

      by Troubadour on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:43:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's not just the History Channel.... (4+ / 0-)

    All the popular media blur the lines of myth vs historical fact. For example, all the recent heavy breathing over the papyrus fragment over whether Jesus had a wife. First, prove to me Jesus even existed, since there is no firm historical evidence that he was ever a real person, THEN we can talk about the possibility of a wife.

    Just another day in Oceania.

    by drshatterhand on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:24:09 AM PDT

    •  My thought exactly. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Don't fill an hour presenting speculation on the details of events for which there is no evidence they even occurred.  Otherwise one might as well make a "documentary" about what color was Zeus's hair.

      Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

      by Troubadour on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 11:00:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  must be aliens (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    great meme!

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:32:18 AM PDT

    •  That's pretty much their reasoning. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Texan

      Finding: Mayans had more precise stonecutting techniques than previously thought.

      Conclusion: Aliens gave it to them.

      Yeah, that's logic in some universe.

      Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

      by Troubadour on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 11:02:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Prime example of Network Decay (4+ / 0-)

    TVTropes Link

    This has been a common thread through a multitude of cable channels through the years-the usual narrative of such channels has them starting out with high standards and the best of intentions, but soon the bottom line starts to have an inordinate sway-or perhaps the passionate originators are soon bought out by those who only care about maximizing income and key in on the lowest common denominator demographics.  End result is that a cable network often bears little resemblance to itself after 10-20 years or so.  Remember A & E's operas?  MTV actually playing music videos?  Speed showing nothing but racing?

    Note that I NOT defending Historee's decisions in this vein, but there are powerful entropic forces at work in the cable marketplace.  I don't know if an a la carte system-where you choose your own channels-would help or hurt this situation.

    •  That's fascinating. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      John DiFool

      I hadn't heard of Network Decay, but it makes perfect sense as brand-specific content is subverted by the economic platform that's supposed to support it.  Everything operating on the for-profit corporate model will ultimately degenerate into a mindless, soulless, primordial money-sucking machine incapable of truth or responsibility.  And all such creatures look and act exactly the same because they're one-dimensional.

      Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

      by Troubadour on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 11:07:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  haven't watched for years; don't care about UFOs (2+ / 0-)

    Or the promotion of fascism.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:48:57 AM PDT

  •  History channel (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Montreal Progressive, Troubadour

    Is pathetic. The only show I bother to watch is the American Version of TopGear - which pretty much has nothing to do with history, and little to do with cars. It is passable due to it's pedigree (the original TopGear out of England) and it has very good production values, but it's really the poster boy of why the History Channel isn't about History at all.

    "The price of a memory is the memory of the sorrow it brings" Adam Durst/Counting Crows

    by zipn on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:49:53 AM PDT

  •  You can always trust the Troub (2+ / 0-)

    to tell us how he REALLY feels.

    Good job, Brian.

    I am progressive. I am liberal. I make no apologies. - Kos

    My political compass: - 8.38,-6.97

    by pucklady on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:55:08 AM PDT

  •  South Park (2+ / 0-)

    Had a great episode where the boys based their paper on the first Thanksgiving on what they saw on the Hysteree channel.  It featured aliens prominently, of course.

    We do not forgive. We do not forget. The whole world is watching.

    by Tracker on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 09:55:33 AM PDT

  •  as Springsteen sang 57 Channels and nothing on (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Maybe they should just go Mack to being the Hitler Channel and show World War II documentaries 24/7.

  •  Great title! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There are so many channels that used to be better. We're discussing having no cable/dish at all and just using Apple TV and Hulu so see shows we like. We think that we'll come out even on cost but this way nobody can presume that we're happy with options such as fourteen straight episodes of Storage Wars Texas.

  •  There ought to be a prize, (0+ / 0-)

    the Pulitzer Prize for Prolepticism. This Pulitzer would be awarded to the fiction writer who does the best job of dealing with historical factoids in a creative way. The jury for the prize will not consist of nitpicking librarians and those graduate-school dropouts in English Lit. who end up running independent bookstores in Kalamazoo. The Jury, in fact, acknowledges that nothing can be known for sure about the past, and least of all about the stuff that really counts: like how the Romans tied their shoes, or whether Irish scribes actually held the pen with two fingers instead of three when no one was looking. Those are the facts that fiction writers sweat over, because there’s no greater downer for the sensual reader than losing the sense of being there:

    Melinda gasped as his coarse hands groped at the thingamajig clasping her whatsis...
    The Jury, instead, will be composed of scholars with a solid background in incredibly narrow areas of historical research but endowed with, you know, a sense of proportion. Scholars modest enough to know that historical scholarship isn’t really about getting it right, but about how gracefully you get it. To encourage future participation, here are a few would-be-past winners of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Prolepticism:

    continued here.

    WOID: a journal of visual language

    by WOIDgang on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:15:40 AM PDT

  •  Now, with more Truthiness!™ (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  The BBC still releases excellent documentaries. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jazzizbest, Troubadour

    Some are available for purchase and many can be found online (if you know where to look).

    Of course, those socialists over there insist that every citizen pay an exorbitant tax in order to prop up their state-run media. Not like here in the US, where TV is free!!

    Wait a minute... /s

    "Vulture/Voucher 2012"? ¡Venceremos!

    by Free Jazz at High Noon on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:28:06 AM PDT

    •  I love BBC documentaries. (0+ / 0-)

      They have a lot more resources at their disposal than, say, PBS or NPR.  Too bad history isn't a useless Pentagon weapons system that doesn't work, or Republicans would climb all over themselves to fund it.

      I should note that the National Geographic Channel does a pretty good job, so far.  Although they too will probably degenerate like the others over time.

      Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

      by Troubadour on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 11:42:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Righteous rant! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jazzizbest, Troubadour, Mortifyd

    My son and I were discussing the same subject the other night. He said they should rename themselves the 'Hitler Channel' cause every time he turns it on that's what they show.
    It's sickening! I love history and they make a mockery of it.

    El pueblo unido jamás será vencido. The people united will never be defeated

    by mint julep on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:52:18 AM PDT

  •  I hear they're combining the Nostradamus series (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and "Pickers". It's a reality show called "Nose pickers."

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 10:53:26 AM PDT

  •  my wife and I (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    refer to it simply as "The Bullshit Channel" - we do watch for a good laugh every once in a while...

  •  that shit is dangerous (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    because if you DO have a friend who has enough sense to say - "I saw this thing and you know about history and it said X,Y and Z - is that true?"  You still have to undo all the shit he watched so he understands it.

    I have a friend I actually have to do this for - and he gets frustrated at ME - mostly because he thinks if it's on TV and called "history" or "documentary" then that means that it somehow MUST be true and factual.  He simply cannot grasp that they are not telling him facts but selling him entertainment.

    He's not an idiot, just another poorly educated American with a high school diploma who can't think his way out of a paper bag.  He doesn't have the critical thinking skills or the awareness to question it immediately, only after I mention something later that contradicts it - then he asks.

    And I'm VERY grateful he asks.  I can't resist a captive lecture audience. :D

    And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

    by Mortifyd on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 01:21:48 PM PDT

  •  Uh, excuse me? I happen to be an alumni (ae?) (0+ / 0-)

    of the

    Locksmithing Correspondence College of Pocatello, Idaho

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 08:29:37 PM PDT

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