Before we get to a rundown of what happened this week in America's most beloved athletic conference (defining America as "from Lincoln, NE to somewhere east of Athens, OH"):
Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy. More than 160,000 Allied soldiers stormed the beaches and took on 50,000 Nazi troops to establish position in Western Europe and begin pushing the Axis back towards Berlin. (The header image is of Tom Harmon, father of Mark and survivor of two plane crashes during the War. He won a Heisman at Michigan and received a standing ovation AT Ohio State.)
.@HISTORY THIS ISN'T HOW STALINGRAD HAPPENED YOU JACKELOPES.— Jane Coaston (@cjane87) May 29, 2014
.@HISTORY I HOPE YOU'RE AWARE THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE COULD HANDLE THE PLOT OF "TRUE DETECTIVE" SO THEY CAN FOLLOW A DAMN BATTLE— Jane Coaston (@cjane87) May 29, 2014
.@HISTORY THE SECOND WORLD WAR IS THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT IN HUMAN HISTORY AND YOU FUTZED IT UP LIKE GODDANG DINGOES— Jane Coaston (@cjane87) May 29, 2014
Perhaps you may be thinking, "Jane, why are you so mad at the History Channel?" or "What's a jackelope**?" So I shall elaborate:
The Second World War is the most important event in the history of humanity*. If there is a turning point in how human beings have human beinged, World War Two was it. Every facet of how we think about ourselves, our sense of nationalism, how countries interact with one another, the nature of warfare, and our moral limits was altered irrevocably the day German forces took the Polish town of Wielun on September 1, 1939, plunging the European continent into war.
An estimated 65 million people died during the Second World War. That estimate could be low - we just don't know. They died in heaps. They died by deliberate starvation by the Japanese in Manchuria, they burned to death in the Allied bombing of Dresden, they were deliberately killed in death camps scattered across Eastern Europe. On November 3, 1943, the Nazis murdered 43,000 people in one day at Majdanek and Trawniki while loudspeakers played music to drown out the sound of shooting. We used two nuclear bombs to end the war in Japan because the millions of deaths caused by the bomb itself and the resulting radiation was preferable over an invasion of the Japanese mainland. That's some serious shit.
My grandfather fought in the Pacific Theater, where 100,000 of his brothers-at-arms died - on Tarawa, at Midway, in the Philippines, on ships and beachheads. My other grandfather drove trucks to resupply Allied forces during the Battle of the Bulge, where General Anthony McAullife told his German opponent exactly what he could do with his surrender ultimatum. He enlisted on April 15, 1942 and served in a segregated unit. He was in a barrage balloon on June 6, 1944, during the largest amphibious invasion in human history. He came back with a SS officer's sword, married my grandmother, and never discussed the war again for the rest of his life.
Recently, the History Channel aired a three-part miniseries about World War 1, the interwar years, and World War 2, and managed to fail more egregiously than whomever Ohio State had on Sammy Watkins in the Orange Bowl. They ignored the war in North Africa, talked about Hitler using platitudes about "leadership," and spouted blatant mistruths about the Battle of Stalingrad, the turning point of the war on the Eastern Front (and the subject of my honors history thesis, FYI). They managed to hire Jeremy Renner to narrate but couldn't find a history professor to tell them to, you know, NOT MAKE SHIT UP.
Look, I get ticked off by like, 12 things, and four of those things are, "why the fuck is there mayo in this?" But nothing upsets me more than historical inaccuracy - especially historical inaccuracy about a subject that could not be more important. The History Channel may now be a font of such programming as "Ancient Aliens" and "somehow about people haggling over alleged historical artifacts" but goddamn it, if you're going to talk about the time when the human race looked over the edge of the abyss and said, "nope," look some shit up first. Have some respect for the millions of people who fought and died and deserve better than a three-day miniseries and Dick Cheney rambling about what it takes to "lead."
This week in the Big Ten:
Tour guides are all fullbacks. RT @McMurphyESPN: Big Ten Experience, interactive digital museum located at B1G HQ, opens June 7.— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) June 5, 2014
If you go to this museum on a family vacation, that's grounds for having your children taken away from you for the state. Ain't nobody trying to see "Indiana football legends."
Alice from "The Brady Bunch" was a Michigan alum, which makes sense if you know that there's nothing more a Michigan woman loves than corny jokes and saving the day with canned soups.
This ends with scenes from the Japanese film "Audition" on your helmet, Purdue. You know it, and I know it.
Why yes, I stopped reading after "melon safety" and immediately began picturing a tough crew of melons wearing hardhats on some job site in Indiana, just working for the weekend, man.
Illinois AD: "We need to win more football games." Jane: "Okay."
Ah, cicadas, the sound of summer and the answer to the question, "what's the most horrifying thing you could see your car coated in?"
You really liked everything, kid? Everything? I've been to East Lansing. I'm not buying it.
I know its not possible, but lord knows I still think Adreian Payne has some secret eligibility stored in a showbox somewhere.
Indiana University began as a seminary, which explains at least 45% of every interaction I have had with Indiana graduates. In a related note, my father attended a seminary for high school - the same one as Tom Cruise.
By "defensive coordinator change," I assume this means they got one.
Oh, this won't end controversially. No way.
"The Penn State Brony" is pretty much where this day is headed.
Nebraska's weather makes other weather look mild and silly.
"Four losses" is not a curse. "Four losses by the same score every single time and a cock crowing at the exact same moment during every game before falling over dead for unexplainable reasons" is a curse.
Sorry to all those kids living and dying for a Shane Mertz jersey.
The 2013 Northwestern story: "ow."
That there's some imaginative headline writing, bro.
Minnesota recruited a pair of twins to its 2015 class, meaning that the crazy switcheroos can finally commence!
Iowa legends will teach "more than skills" at a football camp. What they will be teaching beyond "here's a ball, it goes here" is beyond me. You're not learning about the hard road of life at a football camp, unless that hard road involves running suicides and explaining what "tackle eligible" means.
Congrats to Fran McCaffery's son as he continues to recover from surgery that removed malignant tumors from his thyroid.
Camp Randall is getting better WiFi so now you can drunkenly tweet from the student section even more easily.
Wisconsin has probably offered you a scholarship, and they're just waiting for your answer.
I'm guessing Terrelle Pryor feels differently.
Goddang it Ohio State, stop being touching and kind.
*I will hear arguments for the Black Death, but in terms of human-caused events, WW2 wins.
** Technically, "not a real animal."