CIVIL WAR MEMORY
The Online Home of Kevin M. Levin
April 28, 2011 By Kevin Levin 13 Comments
April 28, 2011 at 6:21 am
I have to admit it, I liked Histeria when I was in college. A great break from studying. I had a fun time trying to figue at who’s voice they were paroding in their depiction of famous people. Like have having George Washington with a parody of Bob Hope’s voice.
Kevin Levin says
April 28, 2011 at 6:29 am
I am ashamed to admit that I never heard of it before today.
April 28, 2011 at 6:53 am
It was an attempt by Steven Spielberg to educate the youth of America, if that explains anything
April 28, 2011 at 6:50 am
Don’t miss the first part of the war, where Abe Lincoln channel’s Johnny Carson and Jerry Seinfeld: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmIw9iCuha0
I loved Histeria! growing up. Such a geeky show, conflating pop culture and cultural history.
Thanks for the link.
Boyd Harris says
April 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm
I was wondering if you had ever heard of this show. They had some great sketches, including a homage to the Cheese Shop from Monty Python set during the Boston Tea Party. Unfortunately, they have yet to release this show on DVD. It is a great show about history and popular culture in the late twentieth century.
Will Stoutamire says
April 28, 2011 at 2:16 pm
Florida is depicted as a blue state in the map in the first video. Interesting… As a kid’s video, I think the Harriet Tubman piece is pretty well done. Not sure how I feel about turning the phrase “total war” into a playful catchphrase in the other one, though.
April 28, 2011 at 3:12 pm
I thought that “total war” reference was in bad taste as well.
Scott MacKenzie says
April 28, 2011 at 9:55 pm
I had a good laugh over a bit in the second installment of Histeria!’s Civil War.
Go to 10:17 in this video for a hilarious parody of the Ken Burns series. As narrators read letters, they start going mad because of the violin music.
Steve Pollock says
April 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm
I typically don’t get offended at anything. And … “offended” isn’t the word I’ll use here. I get what they’re doing and why. I still use the School House Rock song to recite the preamble to the Constitution. Still, this is perhaps the absolute worst, most nausea-inducing thing I’ve seen in a very long time. Sherman as Pee Wee Herman? Total War (used by both Sherman and Goebbels as propaganda means to mobilize their entire nations to obliterate their enemies from existence) as a catchy little child’s ditty? Really?
I’m sorry, I can’t watch the second part. I just can’t. I see so much of what is wrong around us embodied in this one video. Yes, hyperbole, taking it too seriously. I already know that. But that’s my reaction, sorry.
I’m an elementary teacher, and it’s wrong on so many levels, vis-a-vis elementary history education. And, what colors my reaction probably even more, I’m also the great-great-grandson of a corporal of the 111th Illinois, which came down and burned Atlanta, was captured and spent time in Andersonville for doing, and then was repatriated and helped Sherman on the rest of the cute and spritely, hip-hop-happy endeavor known as Total War through the rest of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. He lived the rest of his life with physical problems (and probably mental ones) from the experience.
Again, I apologize, but the trivialization, in any way, in the perhaps laudable service of educating young children, of that war is wrong.
Always love lurking on your blog, but this one brought me out of the woodwork. Thanks for your hard work.
April 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm
Please don’t apologize for the comment. You have every right to express your opinion. Please keep in mind that I use this blog to showcase various ways in which the Civil War is reflected in our popular culture. My posting of these videos should not be understood as an endorsement of the content.
April 29, 2011 at 6:38 pm
Thanks for understanding. Definitely agree that showcasing the way the war is reflected in our culture is both necessary and valuable and so happy you’re doing it. I didn’t mean to imply anything else. This one just … poleaxed me because while I expect and am used to the southern heritage type of cultural thing, a full-blown, Warner Brothers cartoon with high production values was, well highly unexpected.
(And full disclosure: I’m also the son of an SCV member, and a direct patrilineal descendant of a sergeant of Co. A, 34th Mississippi, Tippah Rangers, CSA, who was at Perryville, as well as having the aforementioned Union g-g-grandfather. Like many who are descended from veterans of both sides, there is a definite, shall we say, conflict inside us regarding how we view the Late Unpleasantness/Treasonous Rebellion.)
And thanks, Will. Relieved my reaction wasn’t … singular.
April 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm
Steve, well said. Out of curiosity, I watched the third part…. It only gets worse. Not only is the total war “joke” played out multiple times, but they turned the burning of Atlanta into a jazz song. Stunning and disturbing.
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