The other night, the History Channel’s primetime offering was Forrest Gump. Now, I realize there are only so many documentaries about Hitler to fill the programming day, but Forrest Gump? It’s not 1994 anymore, so I won’t rehash the debate about whether or not FG is a good movie (hint: it’s not), but it’s definitely bad history. What’s next, explaining Watergate by showing the movie Dick? (It’s a wonderful satire, but also very bad history.) Explaining the Elizabethan Era by showing Shakespeare in Love? And if (as seems inconceivable), the History Channel ever runs out of World War II documentaries, will they start showing Disney’s Bedknobs & Broomsticks? C’mon, gang, I know it seems appealing to chase ratings with crowd-pleasing movie favorites, but ultimately, compromising your mission and your reputation for historical accuracy just for a quick ratings fix seems self-defeating and stupid. But then, as a wise historical figure once said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
Posted December 18 2007 — 5:55 PM EST
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