Tuned In

Pawn in the U.S.A.

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Next Sunday, History channel debuts Pawn Star$, its new reality show set in a Las Vegas pawn shop. What does selling one’s personal valuables have to do with history? Maybe because when historians write about The Great Depression of 2009, this will be one of the first things the textbooks will cite.


Actually, the fig leaf of historical respectability seems to be that, while telling their story, the family proprietors of the shop will assess valuables like the Civil War sabre seen in this video preview. “You will show them history,” the promo says. “They will show you the price.” 

Then you’ll use that price to run up gambling debts! Because you know what they say: those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.