Posted by: Ali Davis | June 5, 2011

Into the Huckabyss

I did it. I just ordered Mike Huckabee’s Learn Our History video series. I’ll be recapping them on this site.

I’m a little nervous about it, and not just because the website makes it pretty clear that it’s not going to be easy to get these things to stop coming if I should change my mind – and even less easy to stop getting charged for them.

My first concern is with the idea of giving Mike Huckabee money.

Huckabee gets a lot of mileage out of being a talk-show-friendly guy with a friendly way of putting things. It’s easy to forget that having an amiable manner – especially the folksy kind –  is not the same thing as being a nice guy.  And Mike Huckabee is really not a nice guy. Really not.

He’s pulled out of the Presidential race – for now – and seems to enjoy being on television, but that doesn’t mean he’s done with politics, or with doing more damage. …Which brings me to my second reservation: Giving him any publicity at all, even what I suspect will be negative publicity.

I pitched the idea of recapping the Learn Our History videos to another (excellent) website just before Huckabee and Ted Nugent announced that he wouldn’t run for President. The site’s lead wizard let go of the idea as soon as Huck dropped out, pointing out that covering him that closely when he was no longer a candidate didn’t quite work.

And, yeah. Why give even more attention to someone I dislike?

Yes, it’s partly because the videos look terrible and particularly delicious to mock. I won’t be coy about that.

But I’m also doing it because the video series is part of an ongoing movement that deeply scares me – the far-right move to wrench education away from real science and history. And, for that matter, real thinking.

Check out the Texas School Board textbook fights for a quick primer – and remember that Texas is a big enough state to influence the major publishers; whether you’re a Texan or not, those books could be coming to a school near you.

Or check out this article for cold, creeping fear that will make you hug your bookshelf. Not to mention your retirement plan and a gas mask – an increasing chunk of today’s kids are learning that Jesus wants them to end Social Security and environmental regulations.

And who knows what other real-world damage will be wreaked by the idea that you’re entitled to your own set of “facts” if you don’t like the ones that the real world presents?

Take a glance at the current Cloudcuckooland fights over the U.S. budget for a preview: We have decades of real-world data that prove that tax cuts for large corporations and super-rich individuals don’t create jobs and are doing near-fatal damage to the economy. But it’s considered perfectly acceptable for the Republicans to pretend just the opposite in their arguments.

And when’s the last time you saw a non-web, non-cable reporter or news commentator call them out on it?

The things that you’re taught as a kid – especially as a young child – become a fundamental part of your worldview. It’s where your fears and values get set. These videos are aimed at young kids. And they seem to be part of an overall movement that seeks to make children less tolerant of people who aren’t Fundamentalist Christians, more selfish, and dangerously uninformed.

So, yes. Huckabee will get fifteen bucks of my money every month, and you’ll get the recaps.

I hope you enjoy them. I have a feeling I won’t.

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