The study of history might be fascinating to some, but I was never a history buff and it was my least favorite subject in school. Why was it important to memorize facts and dates of things that happened so long ago? Learning to read, write, and add a column of figures were important skills to learn, and I didn’t see how knowledge of history could amount to marketable talents later in life. So how did television change my outlook?
Television is a game-changer
With cable and satellite TV offering us so many channels today, more networks are competing for viewership, and are pulling out all stops to get it. Some reality shows are pushing the limits of what’s appropriate for television, but there are also shows for just about any hobby or interest now, so there’s something for everyone, to include the history buff. While they might not be entirely factual, “Killing Lincoln” and “The Kennedys” brought history into my home via a large screen television, which is a lot more appealing to me than a textbook. I can witness major battles of WWII, and follow Kunta Kinte and his progeny on their journey from slavery to freedom, all captured in high definition.
Although I’ve been a voracious reader since childhood, I read for pleasure, and history books didn’t fall into that category for me. I enjoy visiting historical landmarks and living history attractions because they’re dimensional, and not just dates and facts printed in a book. Today, however, television allows me to live history any day of the week without having to plan a vacation around it. I’ve learned about railroad tycoons and the steel industry from “Men Who Built America”, and more about hillbilly living than I ever thought I wanted to know by tuning in to “Hatfields & McCoys.”
Along for the ride
All manner of antiques show up in “Pawn Stars”, each piece with a story to tell. I can tag along on an archaeological excavation on “Diggers”, as King George and the Ringmaster unearth historical treasures, while adding their own style of entertainment value. I might not be up for a long road trip, but I can do it virtually by hopping in the van with Mike and Frank as the “American Pickers” travel the back roads in search of that perfect piece of Americana.
I don’t know if I could pass a test in Miss Leidemer’s class with the knowledge I’ve gained by watching television, but I’m much less likely to cut class now as I relive history from the comfort of my living room.
More from Marie Anne:
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Free Homeschool Lesson: Teach Genealogy With Scrapbooking