BY SAVANNAH RHEINHART, Copy Editor
In my desperate search to fulfill my life goal of being the next Carrie Bradshaw with a little more substance but equally great shoes, I have been pondering a topic for my first column for quite some time and it came to me while doing my favorite leisurely activity.
As a college student, I spend much of my time in front of a screen. A television screen, that is. I have to keep myself sane in a way that requires limited brain power, as most of what I have allotted for the week is gone by Tuesday afternoon.
Whether it is reruns, Netflix, or weekly premiers, television is my haven. That being said, it also grinds my gears on a daily basis. And although I could complain about many aspects of television, like reality shows about overweight child pageant girls, America’s obsession with old storage lockers, or how Charlie Sheen keeps trying to make a comeback, nothing angers me more than The History Channel.
Let me just preface by saying that I love history. Not only am I a history major, but Greenfield Village is my Disney World and historical fiction is my Twilight. This probably makes my hatred of The History Channel seem odd.
When I was just a little tyke on the cusp of discovering my love of all things historic, The History Channel was the place to go for knowledge on anything and everything old. As I’ve grown up and began to delve deeper into my studies of history, The History Channel has become more and more absurd.
One used to be able to turn it on and see a documentary about World War II or an interview with Americans that marched on Washington. Now, all I’m lucky to see is Ancient Aliens. Between the constant Nostradamus “the world is going to end any day now and you’ll all burn in the fiery pits of Hell” marathons, UFO sightings from Billy Bob in Nowhere, Arkansas, and the constant Bigfoot documentaries, The History Channel seems void of all history.
Considering myself an amateur cryptozoologist, I can handle the Bigfoot shows and maybe even the UFO sightings. What really REALLY just ruins it all is Pawn Stars. I’m sure most of you readers have seen at least one episode of this show, which is all you really need. If you haven’t, let me sum it up.
Person walks into Las Vegas pawn shop with item. Owner of item wants money. Giant man, possibly old, possibly bald, possibly gross, doesn’t seem to know its value. Giant man calls his “buddy” to appraise. Owner wants exact amount appraised. Haggling ensues with stock phrases such as “this is a niche market”, “it’s going to be sitting on my shelf for a while” or my favorite “I can’t go any higher, that’s the best I can do, pal.”
Finally, the item is sold. If you’re looking for the part in that scenario where anything historical comes into play, you’re sure to be disappointed. Yes, occasionally, an old item will pop up on the show. And many of those times, it ends up being fake. Who can believe the wanted poster for John Wilkes Booth brought in by a tourist wanting to gamble is a fraud?!
Sadly, the reason why my beloved History Channel has fallen to such low standards is due to one thing: money. Just like everything else in our modern society, money seems to run everything. Watching documentaries about Henry VIII or Russia during the Cold War just don’t attract as much attention as a thirty minute show about a family of giant men arguing over the running of their pawn shop and haggling constantly because there is no need to think.
And as much as I love television for its ability to limit my use of brain power, it is possible to learn and be entertained at the same. If I don’t want to learn anything for a few hours, I’ll turn on Jersey Shore or Fox News. Leave The History Channel for those times we want to become a little smarter.