History Channel Launches College Course While Telling Its TV Viewers Professors Are Suppressing the Truth
I’m sure that you’re getting pretty sick of the giants, and frankly so am I. But since the History Channel wants us to take giants as serious topic of study, giving Jim Viera a weekly giant-hunting TV series, it’s only fair that we return the favor. This is especially vital with news this week that the History Channel is moving into the education business. The History Channel has partnered with the University of Oklahoma to offer “the very first TV Network-branded” for-credit $500 online history course, according to a press release. The course is worth 3 semester credits. It will cover American history from the Civil War to the present and will be taught by Steve Gillon, the network’s scholar in residence.
Registration for the course opened yesterday.
University of Oklahoma president David L. Boren lauded the network-branded course as a dynamic way to engage students: “When The University of Oklahoma’s tradition of academic excellence is combined with the storytelling ability and content from HISTORY Channel, students everywhere will have an opportunity to enroll in a new, high-quality course that is designed to be interactive and engaging.”
According to course materials, the University entered the partnership as a branding opportunity. “This partnership combines the academic rigor of an OU course with the quality of a HISTORY Channel production.”
Since the University cites the History Channel’s content—specifically on American history—as a selling point for their course, it is incumbent upon all of us to point out time and again that the History Channel is selling a bill of goods based on creationism, New Age mysticism, conspiracy theories, and lies.
One wonders what happens when academic honesty comes into conflict with the entertainment imperative of the History Channel. What happens when the facts contradict History Channel content? For example, a few days ago History Channel personality Scott Wolter called two scholars, Robert Mainfort of the University of Arkansas and historian Mary Kwas, “frauds” and “hit men” (his words in an Oct. 24 comment) for disagreeing with his revisionist history of the Bat Creek Stone. How would a History Channel course handle such claims? Do students get credit for calling their professor an agent of an Illuminati-Freemason conspiracy?
On the plus side, if History is serious about growing its brand into a line of college courses and, perhaps, a Kaplan-like educational organization, they may find that a steady diet of anti-historical programs like Search for the Lost Giants, Ancient Aliens, and America Unearthed will damage their ability to profit from the education sector. It certainly isn’t making it easy for them to argue with a straight face that History is actually devoted to history… In fact, an official from parent company A+E Networks claimed only that History looked at the past in “compelling, entertaining and groundbreaking ways”—pointedly not accurate, truthful, or insightful ways.
I wonder if History’s pivot toward education is behind some of its recent marketing changes. I noticed, for example, that unlike previous years, History declined to serve as a sponsor of the Paradigm Symposium fringe history gathering. It would be rather hard to credibly offer an American history course while giving money to a gathering of revisionist fringe historians.
None of this is stopping History from launching its fringe series on Bible giants next week. In anticipation of this, I’ve started collecting some of the newspaper accounts of giants that fringe historians cite as “evidence” that a race of prehistoric basketball players once traveled America. These accounts will form the bases of the new Search for the Lost Giants series. Since these newspaper stories are primarily from the nineteenth century, they are in the public domain and require no permission to reproduce. It’s especially interesting to see that the stories of “giants” in the nation’s newspapers explode after the Cardiff giant hoax, and many stories are reported from a biblical framework, and often from secondhand or third-hand sources. Some are obvious hoaxes.
That said, I can’t vouch for the accuracy of each transcription since I have not viewed all of the original sources. Where I have attempted to verify the originals, I’ve found that Nephilim researchers and gigantologists have been deceptive and selective in their presentation of the newspaper stories, sometimes editing out inconvenient facts or literary flourishes that indicate that a story was meant as entertainment rather than news. In one case, for example, Richard Dewhurst removed wording indicating that the newspaper was not reporting on a “giant” from its own observation but rather was writing about the memory of an “informant” who claimed to have seen a giant skeleton at some unspecified earlier point years before—and who also said he couldn’t remember most of the details!
That same article begins with a disclaimer that all but admits that the story is semi-fictional hearsay, one that is rarely (but sometimes!) included in fringe reproductions of the story, such as the one in Richard Dewhurst's recent compendium of giant stories:
The statements which we make below, and the facts detailed, are so strange and almost incredible, and so like the many roorbacks and canards that have from time to time appeared in the press of Europe and America, that we premise them with the declaration that they are strictly true, and that we have not exaggerated what we have seen, one iota. With this much as preface, we will proceed to our story.
And speaking of Bible giants, I received a tip today that a man billing himself as “the Nephilim Hunter” claims to have found a living Nephilim Bible Giant in a cave in Douglas Shire in Queensland, Australia and filmed—well, it doesn’t look like anything to me other than light bouncing off the rock walls.
According to the Hunter, Nephilim can be identified by their smell. “Normally I know the smell of these things but one of the guys had a flaming torch so I couldn’t catch his scent over the kerosene.” Apparently the Necronomicon is actually about Nephilim rather than the Old Ones, for Lovecraft made the ancient book to say: “By Their smell can men sometimes know Them near.” Either that or the Nephilim are really Bigfoot.
10/29/2014 06:14:49 am
"Either that or the Nephilim are really Bigfoot"
10/29/2014 06:25:54 am
There is only one problem with that. Aren't the Nephilim extremely strongly implied to be extinct? I mean, not that Biblical literalists ever had much difficulty ignoring the literal meaning of Biblical texts, but still...
10/29/2014 07:07:44 am
First five returns for googling nephilim bigfoot
10/29/2014 07:17:01 am
The first link you list (came up second for me) is worth visiting just for this video:
10/29/2014 07:42:41 am
That video is amazing.
10/29/2014 07:53:37 am
I agree about People of Walmart. I feel like I'm supposed to like the concept, but something about the execution leaves a bad taste in my mouth...
10/29/2014 08:15:00 am
It's mocking the poor. Just like middle class college students who used to watch Ricki Lake or Maury Povich for the same reason. No real way to sugar coat it.
10/29/2014 08:25:58 am
That's part of it, though I think it goes beyond that. (Besides, it's not like poverty is automatically an excuse for gross vulgarity or stupidity.)
10/29/2014 06:29:50 am
"Scott Wolter called two scholars, Robert Mainfort of the University of Arkansas and historian Mary Kwas, “frauds” and “hit men” (his words in an Oct. 24 comment)"
10/29/2014 08:21:01 am
I don't see a bible giant.
10/29/2014 08:30:51 am
"...well, it doesn’t look like anything to me other than light bouncing off the rock walls."
10/29/2014 09:10:02 am
I see a Beholder. What does that make me? :)
10/29/2014 11:46:47 am
Beholders, Displacer Beasts, Kobolds, Pit Fiends--all the D&D mainstays are really Nephilim.
10/29/2014 11:57:13 am
Bullshit, Mindflayers don't got no wings!
10/29/2014 08:34:12 am
"I’ve found that Nephilim researchers and gigantologists have been deceptive and selective in their presentation of the newspaper stories, sometimes editing out inconvenient facts or literary flourishes that indicate that a story was meant as entertainment rather than news."
10/29/2014 10:56:10 am
Jason, from what I can tell, HISTORY's involvement with the course is limited to providing its brand name for marketing purposes and access to its audiovisual assets. I can't see anything that says what HISTORY's cut of the course fees (if any) would be and I doubt that this information is readily available (though since OU is a public university, it might be obtainable).
10/29/2014 06:23:57 pm
I think its also worth mentioning that History Channel provides quite a bit of support for meetings for the Organization of American Historians (OAH), the national group comprised of historians and educators. It seems that they [History] are deft at negotiating the murky waters between mythhistory and real, actual academically sound, peer reviewed history, like what's found in their journal.
10/30/2014 04:56:23 pm
Cave of Forgotten Dreams is an excellent documentary on Paleolithic archaeology, especially Chauvet Cave.
10/30/2014 05:31:45 pm
spookyparadigm, why must you ruin everything for me, man? :)
10/29/2014 10:56:13 am
"The History Channel has partnered with the University of Oklahoma to offer 'the very first TV Network-branded' for-credit $500 online history course, according to a press release. The course is worth 3 semester credits."
10/29/2014 03:47:55 pm
"Everything else is produced and controlled by OU. In particular, the content of the course is determined by OU faculty, just like any other course."
10/29/2014 04:28:06 pm
Wait, I answered your question? I thought your question was about transfer credit (though I guess it's more general). Anyway, since OU is not going to risk its own accreditation for a little extra cash and publicity, their course is certainly going to satisfy the minimal standards of entry-level undergraduate survey courses (at least formally).
10/30/2014 04:11:34 am
I hate to tell the "Nephilim hunter", but what he saw were rocks making up the back wall of the cave. They only appeared to have a particular shape due to the interplay of shadows produced by the sweeping movement of his flashlight.
10/30/2014 07:41:15 pm
This "living Nephilim" made me think of other fine examples of pareidolia (a word Mike Bara hates): the oddly formed rocks on Mars.
10/30/2014 07:46:01 pm
SHUT UP IT IS A BEHOLDER!!!
10/30/2014 07:51:49 pm
Are you *sure* it's not a...cave fisher? Drider? Roper? Gelatinous cube?
10/31/2014 05:53:19 am
Oh, yeah... Well.. Your FACE is a gelatinous cube!!! :P
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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