SNL Flunks American History 101 in Colonial Era Themed Super Bowl Skit

February 4th, 2018 1:45 PM

Alec Baldwin is back again on Saturday Night Live, depicting an ignorant and buffoonish Donald Trump to the besotted hosts of Fox & Friends in last night's opening skit.

"Mr. President, can I say, your speech was maybe the best speech in the history of this country!" gushed SNL's Heidi Gardner as Fox's Ainsley Earhardt, referring to the State of the Union address. Baldwin's Trump quickly agreed, boasting that "a lot of folks" including Paul Ryan said "it was better than Martin Luther King's 'I Dream of Jeannie' speech."

But wait, it gets even funnier (agreed, from a low bar). The just-released FISA memo, Baldwin's Trump proclaims, "might be the greatest memo since the Declaration of Independence, I don't know, I haven't read either one of them."

Got that? Trump is exceedingly clueless -- especially when it comes to American history. Problem is for those peddling this caricature, they don't come across as any smarter. And if the people involved in producing four-plus decades of Saturday Night Live have done nothing else, they've conveyed an abundant self-regard for their own intelligence.

It was all the more genuinely laughable a short time later during a colonial era themed skit poking fun at New England Patriots' fans as arrogant blowhards.

Delegates to the Continental Congress are shown arguing over whether to split from Great Britain. "We must declare ourselves an independent nation!" proclaims one of the delegates. "And fight the British army?! We cannot win, sir!" asserts another. Whereupon a messenger brings "glorious news from Boston! It seems the New Englanders have won an astounding victory over the British at a place called Bunker Hill!"

Wha ....? You did say "Bunker Hill", right? Which was actually a victory for the British, though a costly one that took a staggering toll in Redcoat lives. Nonetheless, the first major battle of the American Revolution is tallied as a win for the Brits, while Bunker Hill Day remains a public holiday in Boston and municipal workers receive yet another day off to celebrate.

It's not just the dozen-odd actors in the skit (including revered alum Tina Fey) who apparently didn't catch the gaffe (or maybe did but were content with letting it pass). So did guest host Natalie Portman, also in the skit -- and who graduated from Harvard, a short Uber ride from Bunker Hill. Aren't the people on this show supposed to be really smart, while lesser mortals -- such as the president -- are irredeemably dumb?

It didn't get much better when a tankard-swaying band of New Englanders showed up in the skit to boast of their latest victory, much like current-day fans of the New England Patriots spouting off over their team's lastest triumph.

The Northeast colonials bray that they are "five for five" in their epic struggles -- "We won 'em all! French and Indian War! ... Won it! ... King Philip's War! ... Killed it! ... Lexington, Concord ... Crushed it! ... And now, Bunker Hill! ... The best one yet, kid!"

Not to nitpick, but that's three for five. The minutemen who confronted British soldiers at Lexington were quickly routed -- while their comrades to the west in Concord stopped the British advance and forced a hasty retreat back to Boston. And lest we ever forget, the opening battles of the American Revolution were fought to prevent a tyrannical government from ceasing its citizens' firearms, which you most assuredly will never hear mentioned on Saturday Night Live.

How to explain this baffling ignorance of basic American history from people we're repeatedly told are profoundly intelligent? The result of three lamentable trends converging -- the demands of teachers' unions usurping instruction in public schools, political indoctrination elbowing out education in higher ed, and the left's disdain for Revolution-era history since it was embraced by the Tea Party.