Archive for September 2014

Hell is the History Channel: What I Learned from Watching Too Much Holiday Television

What is it about holidays that inspires History Channel producers to air every Hell documentary they have in their catalog?

Here are a few titles to consider: “The History of Hell,” “Hell Throughout the Ages,” “Nazis in Hell,” “A Beginner’s Guide to Hell,” “Nostradamus on Hell,” “Gates of Hell,” “Hell on Earth?” (Full disclosure: I made some of those titles up. Some of them.)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above binge-watching wide-eyed apocalypticists, barely-hinged conspiracy buffs, and actual scientists and theologians who got fooled into taking part in these things, all of them torturing logic to within a sliver of its hard-fought little life. But come on. This whole thing is becoming a little one-note.

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Even this guy thinks it’s becoming a bit much too much.

And don’t be fooled. No matter what the official topic of a show happens to be, they’re only a few degrees from talking about HELL.

Apocalypse? Hell.

World War III? Hell.

Redneck Nazi Snakehunters? Hell.

Here’s a Sample Lineup…

President’s Day – Check out this show on a volcano some people believe to be the literal gateway to HELL. (Get used to the word “literal,” by the way. We literally use it all the time.)

Seriously, though, people have believed this for thousands of years, and it’s hot and smoky, a lot like HELL, so it’s, you know, plausible?

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Though the uninitiated observer will likely miss it, this opening is clearly marked “This way to HELL. Mind the Gap.”

Independence Day – Consider this: Many of the U.S. founding fathers were Freemasons, and Freemasons are well-known for possibly believing in HELL. Also, many Christians believe Freemasons are secretly devil-worshippers. Guess where the devil lives? HELL.

This is a win-win, guys. Let’s say six hours’ worth.

Labor Day – Remember when you were a kid and that preacher came to your church to talk about HELL? You know the guy. He had crazy eyes and smelled like aftershave and carpet cleaner, and it seemed like he enjoyed the thought of people roasting in HELL just a bit more than a normal person should. Remember how badly he scared you and your friends?

Well, we found that guy and a lot of others just like him, and now they’re here to haunt your adult dreams, talking about HELL all day long. (Spoiler Alert: They’re still fairly certain you’re going to HELL.)

Halloween – Um, Halloween? It’s almost got the word “HELL” right in there. Settle in, folks. We’ll get you to November.

Thanksgiving – Hey, as long as you’re stranded on that couch, here’s a battery of programs on plagues and pestilence, which just happen to be the bailiwicks of two of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. And you know that when those guys show up, we’re only a step or two away from total HELL.

Christmas – Forget that loser marathon of The Twilight Zone over on SyFy. Remember Nostradamus? No? Well, you will after (literally) twelve full hours of programming detailing his prophecies, none of which were vague in any way and all of which bore some relationship to HELL.

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Bill Nostradamus: Noted expert on Hitler, the JFK assassination, World Wars I through III, and HELL.

And these Nostradamusy programs are all narrated by that authoritative sounding dude whose voice you can’t quite place.

New Year’s Day – Let’s get down to the nitty gritty here, shall we? It’s a brand new year, which means it would be the perfect time for the earth to open up and swallow us all.

So the earth opens, and guess what you literally see? Apart from all that scientific stuff, we mean.

Correct answer is HELL.