The History Channel decided that they needed to make a 10 hour mini-series exploring the romantic revolutionary war period of The Lone Star State, an era in the 1830's when the winds of change blew over a few hundred miles of uninhabitable desert and scrub land and a bunch of people kicked out of every decent state in the nation hid out here until Mexico got sick of them.
As always, a little background:
I didn't move to Texas until 1979, but I did grow up here, between Dallas, Houston and Austin, and I've been lucky enough to spend time in San Antonio. I'm partial to the state, but I am also well aware of our checkered past and present. I do love my state, but it's often the way you love a fun but very disappointing relative. Say, a brother. Just for example. Purely hypothetically.
|This guy was Governor for almost my entire adult life. and, he'd like to be your President.|
Growing up in Texas, you're sort of constantly inundated in Texas history in public school (or, so it was when I was a kid), and names like Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston are up there with your American founding fathers. Names like William B. Travis and David Crockett have passed right into mythology as martyrs of freedom. Also, we have cows and horses and we're all pretty fond of Tex-Mex and barbecue, so we have a lot to offer kids. On top of this, I was 11 in 1986 when we had the State Sesquicentennial (that's the 150th birthday), so it was a whole thing when I was in 4th grade. Prince Charles came! It was a major deal, man.
In college I had an extra credit class free and wound up taking "Texas History from Prehistory - 1845".
So, and this is a wildly unpopular notion, but there is, in fact, a bit of a difference between the legendary version of history as is taught in public school K-12, and what actually happened and why. Or, at least, an interpretation of history that doesn't necessarily reflect the narrative of the progress of rich white dudes as a sort of destiny for all. I know many people find this idea upsetting, especially uncles at Thanksgivings. But, it is also true, full stop.
I wound up taking the follow up Texas History class, and, ha ha, also got myself a history degree (woooo! so full of good ideas), focusing as much as possible on Southwest US History in a program that was much more about a broad base of history. So, ask me to try to remember Roman History sometime. It is super awkward because it's mostly me blinking at you then saying "uh, aqueducts".
When I saw the History Channel had decided to make a dramatized version of Texas history, I was skeptical. They don't really have a track record that I'm aware of, and of late, most of their history has involved bearded people pretending to be rednecks on TV and lots of hunting of bigfoots and whatnot.
And right I was. This show is terrible. And weirdly so.