There’s nothing to say about the animated “Learn Our History” video series for kids that Mike Huckabee is hawking, no matter how excoriating, that won’t make the series seem less degraded than it is. This stuff has to be sampled to be believed.
The series starts, by the way, not with the American Revolution but with the “Reagan Revolution.” (Dig that “gimme yo’ money!”)
And the logo: Washington and Franklin, in washed-out black-and-white, deferentially flank a grinning Reagan in rampant color.
The sad thing about kids learning this twisted cartoon history is that this is what they end up believing unquestioningly when they grow up.
And then any further history they are exposed to is rejected as revisionism.
Dr Hogeland, are you suggesting that the author of this series should *not* be free to start his series anywhere he chooses? Its not like the Revolutionary War isn’t covered at all – just not the first episode! Considering that the parents targeted by the series are most likely Generation-Xers, having grown up with Reagan, it strikes me as a very smart place to start this series; rather than some 18th century costume piece, the first installment focuses on a time parents actually remember. Can’t you picture children discussing the 1980s with their parents around the dinner table after having watched this? Family time is a wonderful thing!
Regarding “Gimme yo’ money”: I left NYC in 1991, and while driving across the Verrazano my last recollection of NYC was a radio report on a man who had been arrested for having thrown someone into an on-coming subway train, had 21 (!!!) previous convictions (!!!) for an assortment of violent actions like assault, muggings etc. That is 22 known victims! My thought was “good riddance to NY” and I have never returned. So while the video may be short of subtlety (and political correctness), it is completely accurate in depicting cities like NYC and DC in the 80s as only one step above a Mad Max movie. Things are only different now thanks to the conservative revival in the US.
Perhaps your sadness emanates from the American Left no longer dominating education, history and the media? As the US educational system has taken a nose-dive since the Left’s takeover of education in the 60s, I can think of nothing that would be worse than the current educational establishment. (Having had the dubious task of educating future educators of America (can you imagine that, Dr Hogeland?), I can’t emphasize the degradation of our Nation’s Schools of Education. Nothing in Huckabee’s short animations could possibly do more damage to our children than those graduating with education degrees right now.
I’m not a doctor.
And I can’t tell if you’re kidding, especially in your first paragraph. I’ll pay you the compliment of assuming that it’s actually obvious to you that I know an author should be — and is, anyway — free to start his series anywhere he chooses, including the highly revealing one chosen here by Huckabee. The tale of your hearing an upsetting news report while driving on the Verrazano Bridge twenty years ago suggests that I have more direct experience than you of what the Huckabee Reagan video is caricaturing — but is the risk of “political correctness” in criticizing the manifest idiocy of these videos so decisive that the videos must be defended at any rhetorical cost? I don’t know what you think I’d have a hard time imagining about the dubiousness of your task, and I can’t see any value in comparing the Huckabee videos to what may be taught in schools of eduction, for which I could not hold less of a brief.
I sincerely apologize for not checking your bio first, your prose suggested to me a very high level of education, so I presumed you had a PhD. If possible, I ask you take my mistake as a compliment. And please let me restate my points more plainly, without tongue-in-cheek, and without (or at least limited) sarcasm, for much of what you write I find compelling.
I don’t defend Huckabee’s videos. I watched the preview, following your suggestion, and found it weak, badly animated and completely uninspired. I won’t be purchasing them. (It found it impossible to sit through his introduction as well.)
Still, your quip of Huckabee’s decision to start the series with the “Reagan Revolution”, suggested to me that you see something more malevolent than I believe is present. If it is nothing more than your observation that his choice is “highly revealing”, then I agree with that. But then, I am still somewhat surprised since even with my relative lack of political sophistication, I am aware of his admiration for Reagan. Seeing no revelation here for me, I must have been confused.
However, I thought my story was apropos (not simply a rhetorical device), although from your reaction, apparently being poorly motivated. From what I saw in the video, I believe Mr Huckabee is depicting the Reagan Revolution as a sort of revival of the American spirit (and its values) rather than as an executive fixing specific problems. And that this revived spirit played no small part in rebuilding the US economy, and the reduction of crime, removing your not-so-well-spoken friend from the streets of DC. You may agree or disagree with his point, but your claim that its manifest idiocy, is a bit too much. The individual spirit is important. And this was the underlying point of my anecdote: the Verrazano realization was that only a fundamental change in the spirit of the people of NYC would turn things around there, and while they were unwilling to take responsibility and change, I would be unwilling to live there.
Further, my comments to Mr Fritz were also intended to point out that Huckabee is not history’s first revisionist, as you well know. Revisionism is rampant and always has been, even on the side of American politics that directly controls Academia. And while Huckabee’s interpretation of Reagan, may be offensive to some, I found nothing in the video clip that was dishonest. In contrast, my experiences in academia over the years have provided me with numerous examples of revisionism of history and indeed science as well, that I find completely offensive (and some dishonesty as well). Either these writers are ideological monsters or perhaps – just perhaps, historians may find the filtering of their retelling of history according to their own ideological beliefs as unavoidable. And if this is the sad case, then I welcome additional, hitherto underrepresented, voices such as Huckabee’s.
All fair enough. By “manifest idiocy” I meant precisely “weak, badly animated and completely uninspired,” to which I’d add politically tendentious. At least when as a kid in the ’50’s and ’60’s I was subjected to one-note rah-rah propaganda, it was fun, exciting, and executed with flair. There’s a place for what Nietzsche called monumental history — and this ain’t that. Criticizing overdetermined uses of history across the political spectrum is part of what I do, not in order to oppose them, but in order to discover what they reveal, and I must say I’ve seen little as flat-out crude in that regard as these videos. And while I don’t see either Reagan’s impact or New York’s problems of the 1970’s (or 80’s, ’90’s, or now) the way you do, that wasn’t what I was talking about.
No offense taken regarding the honorific — just setting the record straight. Thanks for commenting.
My pleasure…. waiting for you review of Ann Coulter’s new book, Demonic.
“Ann Coulter’s new book, Demonic”
A memoir, perhaps?