Tag Archives: History Channel

A Rare Find Indeed!

Curator’s Comment: The American Hysterical Society does not subscribe to, support, or tolerate any theology in our history or history humor. However, this piece produced by and for the Mormons is actually smart and funny. We can only assume it was created by a converted heathen.

New From the History Channel: Love & Gladiators (NSFW)

Weekend Work 3-4-13: Our Liebster Award – Paying It Forward

the-liebster-awardAs our reader knows, a few weeks ago Pooja Gupta, over at The Inside Poison, nominated Peabody”s Lament for the Liebster Award. The award is bestowed by bloggers on other bloggers for the sole purpose of saying I like your work and I think others should see it too. We remain amazed and thankful for her nomination.

Here’s how the Liebster Award works:

– Liebster means you love some fellow blogger’s work and want to appreciate it by this gesture.
– You have to post 11 things about yourself, after you get the nominations.
– You have to answer 11 questions, asked by the blogger who nominated you.
– You have to nominate 11 other bloggers having less than 200 followers, like you were nominated.
– Notify your nominations candidates by commenting on their blogs.
– Post Liebster’s picture on your post as a gesture of acceptance.

With that said, here we go…

11 Things About Me

1) Like many of you, I am a figment of my own imagination.
2) I especially love staff, committee, and board meetings. If they’re not inspiring some new post for the AHS they give me time to work on them while I sit there.
3) The museum field is going through a mid-life crisis right now and the AHS is my humble attempt to keep it from piercing its ear, buying a sports car, and chasing young girls. Evidently I see the museum field as a 50-year-old man.
4) I’ve been collecting history and museum humor for my entire career. In fact, the AHS is the digital offspring of an office door I pasted history-related cartoons all over.
5) I don’t get any mail. Fan or hate.
6) I’ve noticed that museum people think of me as a reenactor and reenactors think of me as a museum person (and, as we’ve seen, that’s not a compliment).
 7) Directing & curating the AHS has helped me sort out what I want, need, and believe about working in history museums. Turns out, it’s not what I thought I believed before I started all this. And before you ask, the only thing I would change is that I would have founded the AHS much sooner.
8) My hero is Francis Grose. I think he would’ve been fun in the archive and the tavern.
9) I’m an extra medium and my favorite color is plaid.
10) I love this quote from the movie The Third Man: “in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” I believe that, if given the choice, too many museum professionals want to be Swiss.
11) I am inordinately amused that this blog went to 11 on Pooja Gupta’s list.
Pooja Gupta’s 11 Questions

1) Atheist or Theist? And why? I worship Clio, goddess of history, because she offers me a job. So, theist.

2) Explain your reasons as to why doesn’t these two worlds, mythology and science go together? (You can be as much as creative you want) Hehe. Ah, but they do go together. Both try to explain the universe. The difference is one relies on invisible forces and the other relies on immortal gods.

3) If you were immortal inside of a supernatural being, which being would you want to be? Hermes, the trickster god of the Greeks.

Hermes K11.11Hermes

The ankle wings allow for quicker post-joke escapes.

4) Your beliefs on ‘reverse racism’? It exists, or Dave Chappelle wouldn’t have a career and the AHS would have less to collect.

5) Are you a feminist? If yes/no, why? If by feminist you mean do I believe in equality, then yes. I believe we’re all equally daft.

6) According to you, what exactly is being legit? No idea. I had to look up the Urban Dictionary’s definition.

7) How did you find the spark of writing in you? I had to write because I can’t draw, paint, sculpt, compose, or act, but I can spell (usually). Also see #3 of my “about me” list above.

8) How did you decide of finally making a blog? Our premier post pretty well sums up our inspiration (see here). Plus blogging is free of charge AND board oversight.

9) Name a place where you haven’t visited yet but you wished to all your life? And, why? Merrymount, MA, about 1627. The town was established by non-Puritan settlers who fundamentally disagreed with the Pilgrims over what constituted “fun.”


Because just by existing, the town annoyed the Pilgrims.

10) If water was poison, how would you substitute it? Hard cider (beer requires water)

11) What’s your favorite car? (I’m an automobile person. So.. yeah.) If not car, what’s the closest thing to you in all of this whole wide world and why?

My 11 Blog Nominations












My 11 Questions For the Nominees

NB: These questions seem focused on history, but I tend to think that anyone who pursues history (historians, reenactors, museum professionals, buffs, etc) is a history person. As a good museum person I’m trying to be inclusive here.

1) Why do you study and present the past (you can say for the money, but we know better)?

2) It has been suggested that one of the easiest ways to navigate daily life is to make certain you don’t talk about money, religion, or politics. Then why are they all history people seem to talk about?

3) Is Clio (history) to be a muse or just amusing (actually this question is from Thomas Schlereth’s Artifacts and the American Past)?

4) What do you think it takes to create valid history (for example, an interest in critical reading, an academic degree, the ability to breathe)?

5) As I mentioned above I don’t get a lot of mail from my readers. Do you feel like you do? Do you feel as though you’re connecting to your audience? Does that matter to you?

6) As the American Hysterical Society’s collections demonstrates, there is a lot of American history humor related to Whites, Blacks, and Natives. Why do you think there is so little, if any, humor about Asians, South Asian Indians, and Hispanics in American history?

7) Should they be forced to remove the word history from the name History Channel?

8) As we are fond of saying here at the AHS, history doesn’t sell. Do you think there is a business of history? Is it lucrative?

9) Do you believe folk art is its own form of art, separate from academic art? Did you not read our previous post about this? How come?

10) When we say it’s important to know history, which history should we mean (political, social, economic, art, etc)? Why?

11) Who is your favorite member of Spinal Tap?


So there it is. Our thanks, self-incriminations, answers, nominations, and questions. Now we wait and see who responds…

History According To the History Channel

History Lesson for the History Channel

So simple, yet so elegant

History Channel Repeats Itself

Actually From The Onion

February 18, 1998 | ISSUE 33•06

NEW YORK—Tragically failing to learn the lessons of its own programming, the History Channel repeated itself 11 p.m. Sunday, airing Man’s Inhumanity To Man: The Horror Of Auschwitz just three days after its initial broadcast. “This informative and important Holocaust documentary imparted many poignant lessons last Thursday,” Harvard University history professor Dr. Edmund O. Haller said. “But what has humanity really gained from witnessing The Horror Of Auschwitz if the History Channel ignores its painful lessons and allows it to air again? This is an atrocity that, sadly, could have easily been prevented if we had only learned its lessons the first time.” Haller urged the management of the History Channel to watch its own programming attentively, “lest future generations be forced to repeat this dark hour of cable-TV programming.”

Trying To Outcrazy the History Channel

FYI: It’s not possible.


The History Channel

from Cracked.com

The History Channel is a television network that was originally intended to air programs about history. But then the producers shrugged and said, “Eh.”

Just The Facts

  1. The History Channel used to be known for the disproportionate attention they gave to Nazis.
  2. Then they changed their motto to “History: Made Every Day.”
  3. This is ingenious, because it means they can make a show about anything–truck drivers, aliens, some guy breaking shit with power tools–and pass it off as history.

How the History Channel Loosely Interprets Its Own Name

A while back, it became fashionably witty to refer to the History Channel as “the Hitler Channel,” because going by its schedule, you’d think World War II accounted for about eighty percent of the human record. It may have seemed like the network had a soft spot for National Socialism, but really it was simple laziness: the abundance of WWII film footage made it easy for them to fill out their lineup with documentaries on dogfights, D-Day, and legendary officers like George Patton and Tom Hanks.

Decorated with an Academy Award for outflanking the box office at the battle of Philadelphia.

To be fair, though, it wasn’t unreasonable for the network to air some extra programming devoted to World War II, seeing as that conflict did kill seventy million people and shape the world we’ve known ever since.

Besides, it was awesome.

In the past few years, however, things have changed. The History Channel has relegated most of their shows about planes, guns, and fascists to their mildly psychotic offshoot, the Military History Channel. This has left them with a lot of newly available airtime, which they’ve used to… go completely nuts.

First, they changed their official name from ‘the History Channel’ to simply ‘History,’ apparently hoping to trademark an entire academic subject. Paradoxically, however, their programming has less than ever to do with the study of the human past. Nowadays, operating under the premise that ‘everything becomes history as soon as it happens,’ they just make shows about whatever the hell they want.

Like, for instance, Ice Road Truckers: a program that follows gruff, prideful bear-men as they drive heavy trucks over the long, treacherous routes of the frozen north. Aside from the odd truck breaking through the ice, most of the show just depicts the truckers cussing at each other over the CB and bragging to the camera about how suicidal and thankless their job is.

"No one appreciates the risks we take. The only thanks we get is extra pay and a multi-season television show."

This show bears no more relevance to history than radish farming does to particle physics. The only link to anything historical that the show’s promoters can come up with is that these cold-weather truckers are “making history” — which sounds like the kind of B.S. logic we’d use to shoehorn Metallica into an eighth-grade social studies paper on “any historical topic.”

Which Has Been Better for America: Metallica or the Homestead Act?
A Paper by Zach West, Class 8D

Despite — or perhaps because of — its conspicuous absence of historical content, Ice Road Truckers has become one of the network’s most successful shows. So they followed it up with Ax Men, which is the exact same thing, only with lumberjacks instead of truck drivers. Hey, what would you rather watch: a show about the Black Death, or a show that has chainsaws?

Zombie movies incorporate a little of both. PROBLEM SOLVED.

And speaking of saws, another new History show, Sliced, explores the subtle and challenging historical issue of cutting things in half. The host shows you how appliances work on the inside, using power saws instead of instruction manuals. It may have nothing to do with history, but it’s kind of fun, as long as they stay away from making episodes on ‘nuclear reactors’ or ‘male reproductive organs’.

At least some of History’s other shows have better claims to historicity. Pawn Stars and American Pickers, for example, are essentially more adventurous versions of Antiques Roadshow. Now, I know what you’re thinking: how could Antiques Roadshow possibly be made any more exciting?

That would be one way.

Pawn Stars follows a high-end Las Vegas pawnshop that specializes in vintage antiques and historical relics. It’s not at all like the other kind of pawnshop, which specializes in giving detectives case-cracking leads.

American Pickers, on the other hand, follows two antiques dealers who travel the countryside buying valuable scrap that reclusive old men have hoarded since the McKinley administration. Some of these hermits make a few hundred bucks selling their old signs and rusty motorcycles to the pickers, who clean it all up for resale; others suddenly become defensive of their forgotten junk and decline to trade, insisting that they’re going to do something with it beyond letting it sit there another forty years. (They won’t.)

"Well, I dunno, see, the Guggenheim was gonna pay me a couple million for this found art exhibit I'm developing..."

"Well, I dunno, see, the Guggenheim was gonna pay me a couple million for this found art exhibit I'm developing..."

The History Channel also seems obsessed with the future — or rather, the end of it. They have no fewer than four programs dedicated to the apocalypse. Life After People and Mega Disasters approach apocalyptic scenarios from a scientific, “what if?” perspective, while Armageddon and The Nostradamus Effect give credence to the prophecies of ancient peoples, who supposedly could foresee our demise, despite being completely surprised by their own.

Oops. Didn't mark that on your fancy Mayan calendar, did you?

But perhaps the most disturbing development on the History Channel is that even their history shows are being invaded by ample amounts of “WTF?!”. In April they debuted “America: The Story of Us,” a miniseries that uses live actors and CGI to recreate everything from starving Jamestown settlers to Henry Ford overseeing his factory.

The odd thing about this show is that the usual tweed-jacket professors have been replaced by a random selection of famous people with no history credentials whatsoever. So, if you’ve ever wanted to hear Melissa Etheridge’s opinions on Westward expansion, or fashion guru Tim Gunn’s take on the industrial revolution, you’re in for a treat! You’ll even get a rare opportunity to hear Sean Hannity talk about how much he loves America.

"But really, the thing I love most about American history is that my viewers don't know anything about it."

In producing this star-studded patriotic tribute, the History Channel did hit upon one idea that is uniquely American: the assumption that fame is an acceptable substitute for expertise.

Despite these questionable choices of programming, I still love the History Channel, and I will continue to watch Modern Marvels marathons to the point of neglecting sleep and personal hygiene. The problem is the slippery slope towards the utterly ridiculous. A line has to be drawn somewhere, or eventually you’ll see the History Channel airing cooking shows, ultimate fighting matches, and Hannah Montana specials in the same afternoon, under the blanket principle that everything in existence will become history sooner or later.

If it ever comes to this, I will shoot my television.

History Channel Admits To Profiting From Nazi Documentaries

From the Onion

November 13, 2002 | ISSUE 38•42

NEW YORK—The History Channel confessed Monday that it used Nazi footage to fatten its coffers. “The time has come to bring our network’s shameful legacy to light,” History Channel president Warren Brabender said. “Over the past 10 years, more than $300 million in ad revenue has been generated through the airing of Nazi documentaries.” The channel will likely be required to pay reparations to Americans who viewed the atrocities.


Freemasons, n. An order with secret rites, grotesque ceremonies and fantastic costumes, which, originating in the reign of Charles II, among working artisans of London, has been joined successively by the dead of past centuries in unbroken retrogression until now it embraces all the generations of man on the hither side of Adam and is drumming up distinguished recruits among the pre-Creational inhabitants of Chaos and Formless Void. The order was founded at different times by Charlemagne, Julius Caesar, Cyrus, Solomon, Zoroaster, Confucious, Thothmes, and Buddha. Its emblems and symbols have been found in the Catacombs of Paris and Rome, on the stones of the Parthenon and the Chinese Great Wall, among the temples of Karnak and Palmyra and in the Egyptian Pyramids –always by a Freemason.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

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