You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

February 06, 2007

No Need For Government-Run Media When You Have The History Channel

This week the History Channel is running something called "Iran: The Next Iraq?":

For over 25 years, "Death to America" has been the rallying cry of the Iranian government, but it's only recently that the threat has become chillingly real and the Islamic Republic of Iran has emerged as perhaps the most clear and present danger to American security. This special will explore the once proud military tradition of Iran, its recent decline in power, and the country's struggle to gain a place among the world's super powers. We will also examine evidence that shows Iran is secretly pursuing a nuclear weapon and just may intend to use on the United States or its allies.

I really appreciate the title. Is Iran the next Iraq? Is it a country that poses zero threat to the United States that we'll attack anyway? Will Americans be persuaded to support such an attack by crappy Soviet-style propaganda on the History Channel?

(Thanks to Sam for the tip.)

Posted at February 6, 2007 12:00 PM | TrackBack

well, what did you expect? the History Channel *is* a Fox-owned station, and we all know that Fox is the official propaganda wing for the Neocon 4th Reich....
I'm really glad I don't have cable.

Posted by: wagggg at February 6, 2007 12:29 PM

If you want to send the History Channel comments, here's a link. You might have to paste this in your browser. Anyway, I sent them an earful.

Posted by: bob48burg at February 6, 2007 12:29 PM

Look, all it takes is a little bit of editing :
1."The United States have emerged as the most clear and present danger to American security." Now, who could quarrel with that?
2. "the US or its allies." Delete. We got allies?
Not demonstrable. Israel, much of the time. Saudi Arabia, when it suits them. The Europeans' DNA prevents them from being anybody's allies. Read Ferguson's "War of the World."
3. Unless the show is narrated by Henry Kissinger, in that croaking, German-accented, convoluted manner, people will try to make sense of the program. They will, of course, fail and tune into "Bowling for Dollars" reruns, the show that represents our national spirit better than anything else. If Kissinger marrates, they will accept his from the German-translated pomposities as wisdom, as does the Washington Post.
Iran, mein Fuehrer, und mach schnell!

Posted by: donescobar at February 6, 2007 12:43 PM

Wow, I guess the History Channel finally wore out all the old, public-domain WW2 footage in their archives.

Posted by: Dayv at February 6, 2007 12:44 PM

This dovetails nicely with a show I noticed on the History Channel yesterday morning called "Saddam and the Third Reich". Here's how they describe it:

"Few people realize that the Baath party was actually formed upon the principles and organizational structure of the Nazi party. Iraq, because of its oil and hatred of Jews, was an important battleground between the Axis and Allied powers in World War II. Nazi propaganda was broadcast throughout Baghdad, and Iraqis often went on rampages against Jews throughout the war. One of the most ardent Nazi supporters during WWII was named Khairallah Talfah. Talfah was Saddam's uncle. After the war, many of the key Iraqi Nazi supporters, all of whom evaded prosecution, wound up involved in Saddam's rise to power. This special examines the key individuals of the Iraqi-Nazi connection, the little-known battle for Iraq in WWII, and the strange link to Saddam Hussein."

So, by the transitive property of the History Channel, Iran is Nazi Germany. QED. Those who don't recognize this threat are as wimpy as Neville Chamberlain's little sister.

Posted by: at February 6, 2007 12:56 PM

I love documentaries so much my marriage is in serious trouble, but I can't watch the (Learn Nothing From) History Channel. The more you know about the topic, the more outraged you get.

Oh well. As Santayana said, "Those who do not remember the past are doomed to watch the History Channel."

Posted by: Mike of Angle at February 6, 2007 01:25 PM

They have had that on before. I've always enjoyed History Channels conservative slant.

I think that special was aired right after Operation Perpetual Escalation (The second Iraq War) started.

Posted by: Jason at February 6, 2007 02:13 PM

I hope they clarify whether such a program, if it exists and if it is intended to be "used against the US and its allies" would be used aggressively or if they would use it against invasion forces or in retaliation against an attack if its deterrent effect failed. The former would seem to be suicidal while the latter seems totally rational. If distinction is not considered then the piece is pure propaganda.

Posted by: Carl Pagan at February 6, 2007 02:21 PM

the History Channel *is* a Fox-owned station

Actually, it isn't.  It's part of A&E Television Networks, jointly owned by The Walt Disney Company (37.5%), The Hearst Corporation (37.5%), and NBC Universal (25%).

So, you know, not FOX, but nothing terribly trustworthy.

Posted by: Dayv at February 6, 2007 02:54 PM

I also noticed the original "Planet of the Apes" was on the History Channel over the weekend. I hope people aren't looking to them for credibility.

Posted by: Susan at February 6, 2007 03:02 PM

I suppose if Henry Ford were alive today, he'd have to say: "The History Channel is more or less bunk."

Posted by: donescobar at February 6, 2007 03:20 PM

A relatively new coinage to refer to our traditional Westasian enemy [i.e. I just encountered it recently at Moon of Alabama, the site for refugees from the late, great Whiskey Bar of Billmon - but I see by googling that it's at least a couple of years old] is


Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at February 6, 2007 04:19 PM

I meant


please excuse that slip of the finger

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at February 6, 2007 04:25 PM

the once proud military tradition of Iran, its recent decline in power

The Iranian army managed to prevent Iraq from toppling its government in spite of the fact that the West supported Iraq while Iran was diplomatically isolated. Clearly this means that Iran is a weak country with no reason to be be proud of its armed forces.

Posted by: Gag Halfrunt at February 6, 2007 04:47 PM

I am continually appalled by the militant and nationalistic History Channel. How many programs are about warfare? Sure, they dwell upon WWII, but most of their history-related programming focuses on military history. My favorite is the one where they reinact actual battles in Afghanistan against the Taliban, so the viewers at home can share the excitement and glory of gunning down the Muslim Threat.

Posted by: Disgruntled History Major at February 6, 2007 05:23 PM

Oh we're
Marching, Marching on to TEHRAN
With the Eagle and the Sword
We'll TEACH them ALL about Democracy
And CLAIM the OIL for our Reward
Marching, Marching on to TEHRAN
We'll SPILL their BLOOD along the Way
Yes, increase Halliburton's BOTTOMLINE
And take the OIL for our Pay

Marching, Marching on to TEHRAN
Without a sound from Congress' Halls
They WON'T utter a single Word
'Cause NONE OF THEM have got the BALLS
Marchimg, Marching on to TEHRAN
We'll have OUR Children clear the Way
And GRAB THE OIL for our Pay

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 6, 2007 05:50 PM

>> the world's super powers

What the hell is this plural crap?!
Super powerzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Who's the world's SOLE superpower, huh?

So much anti-americanism on the teevee... it's gross.

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at February 6, 2007 05:53 PM

I also noticed the original "Planet of the Apes" was on the History Channel over the weekend. I hope people aren't looking to them for credibility.

Posted by Susan


Considering the atavistic Chimp-in-Chief who now occupies the Executive Mansion, the All Hitler/All the Time Channel's credibility may no longer be suspect.

Did anybody know that Hitler used drugs and was a very bad man who committed atrocities after being supported by German corporate elitists who enabled him to be in a position of ultimate power?

Give them a break, people! In 40 or 50 years they might show a documentary about another evil fascist who was under the influence of drugs and committed atrocities world-wide after being slipped into the ultimate position of power by American corporate elitists!

Personally, I can't wait to see that one! Where's my popcorn?

Posted by: JLaR at February 7, 2007 12:55 AM

ah the hitler channel.

they;re just looking to find a new source of footage, cause most of the ww2 vets are probably too old to care about tv anymore.

Posted by: almostinfamous at February 7, 2007 06:15 AM

The show was produced in 2005 and first shown on History Channel in December 2005, then again last year in June. Whenever the war talk heats up, out it comes -- readymade propaganda.

Posted by: Nell at February 7, 2007 09:16 AM

Sorry for the double post, the site was being weird.

Posted by: Dayv at February 7, 2007 09:18 AM

to Dayv:

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at February 7, 2007 09:30 AM

My apologies for the multiple posts. I got a 'cannot find server' error, and when I reloaded the comments, my comment wasn't there. Next time I'll just assume it went through.

Posted by: Nell at February 7, 2007 09:54 AM

Ah, the War and Bible Channel... by turns boring and ridiculous.

And a "History Channel" was such an exciting, promising prospect. We got ripped.

Posted by: balance at February 7, 2007 11:59 AM

Mike Meyer,

Nice reworking of the old Firesign Theatre tune. Just for shits and giggles, here's the original (unfortunately still too relevant with its choruses of brainless Fundies...):

@ALBUM: Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers
@SONG: The Rough-As-A-Cob March

(source: From "Big Book of Plays", page 62-63)

Choir: We're marching, marching to Shibboleth,
With the Eagle and the Sword!
We're praising Zion 'til her death,
Until we meet our last reward!
Men: Our Lord's reward!
Women: Zion! Oh happy Zion!
O'er wrapp'd, but not detained!
Men: Lion, f'rocious Lion!
His beard our mighty mane!
Women: At First and Main!
Men: Oh, we;ll go marching, marching to Omaha,
With the Buckram and the Cord!
Women: You'll hear us "boom" our State!
Men: Ha, ha! As we cross the final ford!
Women: The flaming Ford!
Choir: Zion! Oh mighty Zion!
Your bison now are dust!
As your cornflakes rise
"Gainst the rust-red skies,
Then our blood requires us must
Go ...
Men: Marching, marching to Shibboleth,
With the Eagle and the ...
Women: The Buckram and the Cord!
Men: Sword! Praising Zion 'til her death!
Women: Ha, ha!
Men: Until we eat our last reward!
Women: The flaming Ford!
Choir: Zion! Oh righteous Zion!
There is no one to blame!
For the homespun pies
'Neath the cracking skies
Shall release the fulsome rain!
Tenor: Shall release!
Men: Shall release!
Soprano: Shall release!
Women: Shall release!
Choir: Shall release the vinyl rein!

Here's hoping that we don't all wind up crossing that Flaming Ford through the unwanted agency of The Decider.

Posted by: JerseyJeffersonian at February 7, 2007 05:32 PM

Love that Firesign. THE FIGHTING CLOWNS is a lot more relevant. "Oh, Afhganistan, Save us from Babylon, if they can take your name away, can they take us too.(they do, man)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 7, 2007 07:45 PM

In early 2003 I remember them showing a pseudodocumentary about Normandy in which they talked to various sons of WW2 leaders- Eisenhower's kid, Montgomery's kid, etc. It was so obvious and disgusting, but at least they didn't have a story about the Faith of George W. Bush like Newsweek. Remember that, with the butcher-in-chief praying on the cover?

And I remember another occasion when they talked about the cars of various presidents, and they showed FDR's Ford V8 with hand controls, which is supposedly the 1st car specially built like that, and then they cut to some auto historian who offered the throwaway line that "people liked FDR even though he didn't do anything about the depression, because he gave people hope."

For me that was the moment I came closest to throwing the TV set out the window. The bit with the WW2 sons at least had the snarky compensation that Rommel's son spoke better English than Dubya.

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at February 7, 2007 11:16 PM

My pappy was a WWII/Korean War vet and a 20 year lifer. Had he lived to see this incessant nonsense on the Hitlery Channel, he would be saying the same thing that he used to say whenever John Wayne's (as well as all other) war movies were shown on TV: "Goddamned propaganda movies! How can you kids watch that crap?"

Posted by: JLaR at February 9, 2007 05:38 AM