Skip to content

Chevy To The Levy

You can’t stop what’s comin’ – ain’t all waiting on you. That’s vanity. – Ellis, “No Country For Old Men”

Through some set of mildly odd circumstances, I’ve recently found myself watching the first two installments the epic six-part miniseries America: The Story of Us, now playing on the History Channel. Something about the show peaked my innate sense of cynicism even before I saw one slick, computer-generated frame of Revolutionary War reenactment from the vantage of a hurling musket ball. If there’s an underlying message in the delivery of this production, it might be that the “us” referenced in the title is bonded only by a shared inability to concentrate on anything longer than thirty seconds if it isn’t packaged like a Battlefield game for Xbox 360. Still, even given the ADD-friendly slant of the series, there are enough fascinating moments in this country’s short, staggeringly inventive history to pull it through – a fact to which anyone enduring the “celebrity commentary” segments can attest. One barely has the time to gather his thoughts over Donald Trump waxing philosophic on the “character of an American” before being hit over the head with Sheryl Crow’s thoughts on slavery. It will be worth sticking this thing out if only to discover if anybody pulled the plug on Andy Dick’s Pearl Harbor soliloquy.

Time, as a point of reference, never appears relevant until it’s too late. Anything that happens before one is brought in to the world, or before one has the facility for conscious recollection, might as well be ancient history. As a kid I placed Hitler somewhere between dinosaurs and the Beatles. Similarly, I’ve never known a time when America hasn’t been the world power. But watching this show with its flashy visual enhancements of our breakneck expansion and the mixed bag, viral repercussions of say, the cotton gin, got me to thinking. The lifespan of a country isn’t terribly different from that of a person. It’s born, if it’s lucky goes through a period of intense creation and growth, then grows older and dies. In an odd manner, I’m as fiercely patriotic as anyone I’ve ever known. But as much as I might like to, I can’t parlay an intense appreciation or sense of nostalgia for this country into some deluded denial of our likely impermanence. At the very least, I’d be doing the History Channel a disservice.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *