Via TPM, I see that Mike Huckabee is marketing a home remedy for whatever historical literacy your kids might be acquiring in school. As I understand it, Huckabee has marshaled the power of 1990s computer animation software to reveal truths about the American past that only a quintet of impressionable, time-traveling teenagers — one of whom is evidently named “Barley” — could discover. The trailers suggest the series won’t be quite as inspiring as the Drunk History ouevre, but the no-risk, 30-day introductory offer comes with a pair of snappy blue binoculars and something called a “shoulder sack,” so there’s that to consider.
But before I squander my completely undeserved share of LGM’s advertising revenue on a trial membership, I need to know if the videos possess any scholarly rigor. Well, consider me reassured. To guarantee that the videos meet Huckabee’s exacting standard of historical accuracy, multiple levels of quality control have been set into place. Here’s how:
First, our lead researcher goes through various primary and secondary sources, including printed and online resources to determine the most important events and themes that will be included in each episode. Those events and themes are then woven into a script in which the animated characters experience the history first-hand. After its completion, the script is reviewed by at least two members of Learn Our History’s Council of Masters, who suggest changes to make the film as historically accurate as possible.
So it’s peer-reviewed! By a Council of Masters, no less!
Unfortunately, this particular bukkake party includes the University of Dayton’s Larry Schweikart, whom you may remember from such books as Bill Clinton’s Penis Killed the Indians and Four Dozen Strawmen in Search of an Argument. Schweikart has developed a comfortable niche for himself as a Fox News-approved historian, and my guess is that Huckabee’s new series is will turn out to be more or less a badly-animated version of Schweikart’s triumphalist narrative of US history. It would be difficult to survey adequately the depths of hackery this fellow has mined in the last decade. I’ve tried — see the last two links — but you can judge for yourself here, in the introduction to Schweikart’s book about warfare and why the United States, like Charlie Sheen, is always winning. (Surprise! The hippies help!) Schweikart has also written a new book about applying the wisdom of the Founders to contemporary political issues. In the introduction, he warns us that “[w]hen [the food Nazis] come for your Ho Hos, they won’t stop until they dictate every morsel that goes into your mouth.” Yeah, well, something tells me the kids from the Time Travel Academy will have something to say about that.
The rest of the Council is considerably less interesting, although it does include a fellow who received his most recent degree from Wayland
Smithers Baptist University and now teaches at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee. I can’t speculate precisely what historical contributions he might offer to the series, but I expect he’ll be available for Huckabee’s next project, “Fucking Magnets: How Do They Work?”