Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The History Channel

I love the History Channel, but I'm starting to get a bit irked at 'em. I am no scholar, nor do I bill myself as one, but I am fairly well read on some subjects. I've been noticing a disturbing tendency to "dumb-down" a lot of things lately in some of their documentaries. I've also seen more than one out-and-out mistake/misrepresentation/fabrication. The latest of which was Monday night in their little "Unlocking the Da Vinci Code" show.

Now, I'll admit that their heart is in the right place, because they're trying to straighten out those poor misguided souls who think that the Da Vinci Code is history. Well, it ain't. It's a freakin' novel... with just enough history mixed in to help the story along. Not even good history at that... more like a few centuries worth of rumors and coincidence. But that's not the point I'm trying to make. What I'm actually trying to say is, that if you're making a show to debunk some popular foolishness, shouldn't you have all of your facts straight first?

It may seem like a very small thing, but to me it seemed crazy that no-one caught this. I am NOT by any means a medieval scholar, but even I knew that the First Crusade didn't take Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks. The Ottomans didn't appear on the scene for about another 200 years. Those boys were still out on the steppe in 1099. Now, on their way to Jerusalem, the Crusaders fought the Seljuk Turks on numerous occasions, but if memory serves me correctly, by the time they got to Jerusalem, the Egyptians (Arabs?) had come up and ran the Seljuks out of Jerusalem.... so the Crusaders weren't even fighting Turks by the time they got to Palestine. All the Turks were up north in Syria.

I know that sounds like a small nit-picky thing, but my point is, if they made such a glaring error that even I caught it, what else have they gotten wrong?