Sunday, 30 May 2010

The History Channel's "America" Made an Error!

I'm watching "America: The Story of Us" - an episode called "Rebels". It is nearing the end with the battle of Lexington.

Early they talked about Paul Revere's famous ride, where he stopped at several towns to announce... the British are coming!

WRONG!

We were all British back then! He would have sounded like an idiot if he stopped at houses to announce, yell or whisper, "The British are coming!" He did tell everyone that the Redcoats were coming. That makes a lot more sense and also is historically accurate.

But think back to all the things we were told in history. How many fallacies were we told as kids? When I went to school in the 1970s, they were still telling the story about George Washington cutting down a cherry tree as a suck to promote honesty - as history - when it was total fiction. The American Revolution never mentioned that we were terrorists; by definition, the rebels were just that. People love to whitewash history when really honesty is the better course of action.

There was little about the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, both World Wars or any other that is peaceful. The Redcoats happily slaughtered their own to keep the colonies as British lands. We killed our own during the Civil War, white or black. Hitler and Stalin combined exterminated almost 20 million people: Hitler purged others; Stalin, his own. (By the bye, Stalin killed over ten million Russians, fearing that they were all out to get him. What a guy.)

And had the Germans, Russians, British or the Confederates won, the losers would have been terrorists. But to the victor go the spoils - and the opportunity to rewrite recent history to make them look like saints. So of course, when one rewrites the start of the Revolutionary War, it sounds better to tell the story of Revere shouting (duh - he would have quietly told a couple of houses and let them do the work to move on to the next town), "The British are coming!"

However... if you are going to rip sainthood to shreds and tell the story of us, tell it accurately!

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