For most Americans, history is worthwhile only when exploitable as raw material for ideological suppositories: an event cannot take monumental hold over the American imagination without being purged of all un-heroic inconveniences and moulded into a smooth, bullet-shaped commodity which, when slid into the dark, uncomfortable cavities of the national psyche, is expected to provide a soothing, gooey balm of exceptionalist self-adoration (contrariwise, we Canadians take pains to ensure that our history is communicated in ways as visually rebarbative and emotionally attenuating as possible--witness the disgracefully under-produced and woefully inept “Heritage Moments” series).
Now I have seen much of puerile “America-Kicks-Ass” insolence in my time, but nothing prepared me for the supernova of Stalinist revisionism that is First Invasion: War of 1812, an "educational" History Channel video that makes the report of the plenary session of the first COMINTERN look like a fairly even-handed, unbiased analysis of world affairs.
Someone has posted a trailer for this dreck on YouTube. "On September 11th, 1814," the narrator intones, speaking of the attack on Baltimore, "America is on the brink of annihilation". Yes, September 11th ! The implication is clear: "Al-Qaida weren't the first murdering barbarians to attack us. We were once almost annihilated by invading Redcoats and Injuns!".
The thesis of the video is that the War of 1812 was a British/Canadian invasion of the U.S. and that America was a small, practically defenceless victim of British imperial cowardice and irredentist avarice. Keep in mind that this is not a vanity video produced in-house by Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan and sold strictly by skinheads at John Birch Society meetings. This is irreproachably mainstream and, given how many North American teachers feed their students videos rather than books whenever they can, has very possibly provided millions of American young people (and, sadly, thousands of their Canadian equivalents, I am sure) everything they know about that fascinating conflict. Outrageous.
Visit the trailer, if you dare. The comments are hilarious. Clearly, the poster expected a round of applause for his efforts (he even includes a quaint preface to the trailer). Things didn't go so well...