Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The History Channel International Rocks My World

 Posted by Hello

An Artist's rendering of some of my ancestors

Until recently I only had three reasons to push the remote into the triple figures of digital cable; BBC America, VH1 MegaHits and Fox Soccer Channel. It seemed like a lot of money to shell out for Fawlty Towers re-runs, sporadic footage of Norwich City, and fleeting glimpses of the new Gorillaz video so I was getting ready to be a grown-up and cancel the service. I guess Adelphia must have read my mind, because in among the various televangelists and turkey stranglers that pass for premium channels up here in the north woods they decided to bulk out my viewing choices and keep my fingers tapping north of Animal Planet (Ch.070).

Surfing, skateboarding, and snow sports channel? Check. Sundance Channel? Check. NFL channel? Check. Maine PBS+? Check. The Filipino Channel? Check (whaaa?).History Channel International? CH-CHECK!

Aside from the fact that their name sounds like a gathering of Marxist historians, unlike its domestic counterpart the HCI actually acknowledges that there is more to history than the American Civil War, the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, the work of plagarist Stephen Ambrose, and the 39-45 war. My degree is in modern history, and while at college I further specialized in the Middle East and Estern Europe so I am sadly hazy on the doings of medieval history, despite growing up surrounded by ancient cathedrals and castles. Good ole HCI inflamed my nerd passions with a show on the post-1066 wanderings of the Normans; I was in geek heaven. And then! Wonder of wonders, the Discovery Science Channel (just a few channels down) had an hour on archaeological explorations of Viking settlements in Britain and Ireland! Even the flu-ridden Mrs. Weasel rolling her eyes in patient bemusement couldn't disturb my reverie. Every now and then I would exclaim something like "that comb is 1200 years old, and some ancient viking used to comb his hair with it!" with reverent awe but most of the time I was absorbed, watching the path that my red hair, high cheekbone genes took from Denmark to Scotland to Eastern England all those years ago. Add into that my paternal line's heavy set, big nosed, and beetle browed Norman traits from the previous show as well as mental sidebars on the waves of invasion and immigration (Angles, Saxons, Dutch, Huguenots, Irish, etc) and I was away in a reverie of genetics, migration patterns, and the randomness of human reproduction. Ahh, joy.

Unrelated footnote: Do you think the BBC isn't taking the Conclave of Cardnials to elect a new Pope seriously? Todays website headline was "Vatican smoke shows no pope deal" and then offers you a go on the "Vaticam". I'm waiting for one of the reporters to describe the cardinals' quarters as the Po-tel. I love that whacky, protestant BBC!


henryabbott said...

That's what I feel like before the morning coffee.

Mondale said...

Ah, Danelaw is still one of my favourite historical/political concepts. I am deeply proud of my eastern european roots which, combined with my father's Yeoman stock gives a 'slighty too cosmopolitan for Norfolk' feel. A bit o' this, a bit o' that. I would have commented on your fabulous 'Floods of '53' post but i was ill. My dad has some tales to tell about that,.He lived in Gorleston at the tim (right by the sea American friends) and whailst bhe himself wasn't flooded it was all around him. Quite a bit of death. And water.

weasel said...

Henry, you need some of Mas' orange juice.
Bowles, I have a charming image of a moustachioed 8 year old Silver Fox wearing a school cap and waders, sailing model MTBs on the rising flood.

Debbie said...

I don't mean to brag but I get free cable (legally) and have over 1000 channels.
some of my favorites are the Discovery Channel, The science Channel, history and Discovery Times Channel but I was very upset when the added The Cable people decided to add The Military Channel because that is all my husband watches This channel replaced Discovery Wings.
How much can you hear about the Stealth Bomber and every other bomber airplane. I can take so much of the sound of spinning, roaring propellers in my sleep having to wake up and tell my husband to lower the TV. I suppose I should be grateful its the Military channel and not porn. right?

Anonymous said...

At least its not the Military Porn Channel. That is gruesome (I hear).

Debbie said...

or Discovery porn
Excuse the mistakes on the above comment
I'm firing my editor