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History Myths Buzzkilled

Martin Luther King: Arc of the Moral Universe Bends Toward Justice

All too often, researching the origins of well-known quotes leads to a kind of dead end. Famous people are credited with expressions and sayings that were in common use during their time, and those quotes are only attached to, for instance, Churchill or Gandhi, by later generations of admirers. Half the time, the humorous ones have their origins old vaudeville or music hall gags. And many of the serious quotes we investigate here at the Institute can’t be traced to one individual genius author. They seem to fall under the category of “old saying” or “well-known aphorism.” That doesn’t [...]

Andrew Jackson

Who was Andrew Jackson? Youngest POW in the Revolutionary War. War hero in the War of 1812. Passionate dueler. Senator. Seventh President of the United States. Highly controversial historical figure. All these things! Listen as Professor Perry Blatz and I disentangle the history and the mythology surrounding this towering icon of American history. Buzzkill Bookshelf

Patrick Henry Give me Liberty or Give Me Death

Patrick Henry is one of the great early American heroes. In 1773, Henry, along with Thomas Jefferson and Richard Henry Lee, convinced their fellow Virginians to join with the other colonies in opposing British rule. The most famous thing he did, however, and the thing which has passed down through generations of American history books, is give a speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses, showing his level of dedication to the cause of the colonies. On 23 March 1775, the Burgesses were debating whether to mobilize the colonial militia against the British forces. Patrick Henry stood up in [...]

The Nuclear Button

It seems that every time there’s an election in the United States (and especially when there’s a non-traditional candidate), this question comes up: are the candidates temperamentally fit to have the power to “push the nuclear button” or to “be trusted with the nuclear codes”? The problem is, journalists and commentators use those phrases as if there was one actual “button” that the president would push. Buzzkill Institute Researchers decided to examine the history, myths, and misconceptions about “The Nuclear Button,” to find out the real story, and try to understand whether and how we’re spared a Dr. Stangelove-type [...]

Gandhi Be the Change You Wish to See in the World

Today we’re going to look at one of the most widely-known and widely-publicized quotes in modern times. As the spiritual and political leader of Indian independence, Mohandas K. Gandhi is one of the most admired people in the world history. Next to Winston Churchill, Gandhi is perhaps the most quoted. And, the most misquoted. In fact, he’s probably the Mahatma of Misquotation. You’ve seen this quote everywhere: inspirational posters, Facebook posts, coffee cups, and on and on. Quote?: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Answer: No quote. There’s no absolutely no evidence that Gandhi ever [...]

Quote or No Quote 1: Churchill and Poisoned Tea

Welcome to our first episode of Quote or No Quote, Buzzkillers. In these shows, we’ll check into well-known, well-worn, and worn-out quotes that supposedly originated from the brains and mouths of famous historical figures. Too often, historical (and mortal) humans are turned into prophets or demi-gods by generations of us repeating their quotes as if they were divinely inspired. When those quotes turn out to be bogus, it should be obvious that we’ve been putting our faith in the wrong things and the wrong people. One Winston Churchill’s most famous ripostes supposedly occurred at a social occasion in the [...]

Auld Lang Syne

It’s that time of year, Buzzkillers, when we ring out the old and ring in the new. This is the end of another year of busting myths and taking names. We couldn’t be more pleased with the way the old show has developed, and we couldn’t be more stoked about the new things we’ve got planned for next year. The topic of “Auld Lang Syne” is perfect for this episode, because the grand old Scottish song reminds us that, when we forget old friends and old times (as we’re all wont to do every now and then), we should [...]

12 Days of Christmas

Many of you Buzzkillers already know that most Christian churches celebrate Christmas over a period of 12 days. Depending upon the denomination, it lasts from December 25th to January 5th, or December 26th to January 6th. There are lots of theological reasons for celebrating 12 days of Christmas, but we’re here to talk about something a little less lofty than that. We’re going to bust that email myth about the song “The 12 Days of Christmas” that your nut-job uncle sent to you and everyone else he could think of. We know you’re not gullible enough to buy into [...]

Buzzkill Bookshelf

A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. is an excellent collection of the speeches, writings, and interviews of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a philosopher, theologian, orator, and essayist.

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

AMERICAN LION: Andrew Jackson in the White House portrays a strongly drawn human portrait of a pivotal president who changed the American presidency and America itself.

Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots

In Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots, Thomas Kidd shows how Patrick Henry’s ideals that brought him into bitter conflict were crystallized in his vociferous opposition to the U.S. Constitution.

Buzzkill Book Shelf

Buzzkillers! Here are the books that we have featured on certain episodes. We highly recommend them!

American History, British History, and World History Myths Busted by Professor Buzzkill

Don’t forget to check-in every week for new history myths being busted.

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