As Lady Buzzkill and I can tell you, it’s tough to be born to wealth and privilege. The constant socializing, serving on the boards of charities and non-profits, being invited to an endless number of weddings and events by everybody who’s anybody, and on and on. In the face of these massive temptations to live the easy life of privilege, it takes a stainless steel backbone and a stupendous sense of civic responsibility to do the kind of humanitarian work we do here at the Buzzkill Institute. Our Woman Crush Wednesday this week overcame the same sorts of pressures to do important work in the early 19th century. Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, who lived a short life from 1815 to 1852, is [...]
Journalist Mary Pilon joins us to discuss the history of the game Monopoly and its wonderful twitsts, turns, complications, and lawsuits! It all starts during The Depression and doesn't stop until the 21st Century! Make sure to listen, and tell a playing partner about the show!! --- Buzzkill Bookshelf: Mary Pilon, The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game (2016). The Monopolists reveals the unknown story of how Monopoly came into existence, the reinvention of its history by Parker Brothers and multiple media outlets, the lost female originator of the game, and one man's lifelong obsession to tell the true story about the game's questionable origins.
Something arrived in the mail the other day that reminded me of a party I went to in LA five or six years ago. It may have been Hollywood, or it may have been Santa Monica (I can’t remember). Lady Buzzkill and I were out there, socializing with our west coast set (you know, the George Clooney crowd) when I heard a shout from across the room. “Prof!,” came the shout, “Prof baby!” I looked over my martini and who was it but my old Buzzkill buddy, Spike Lee. Hadn’t seen him for a few years, but, as Lady Buzzkill hob-nobbed with some of her chums in the theatre world, Spike and I reminisced about the old days. In the course of our gabbing, [...]
I got so sick of idiots posting completely ahistorical things about American Political Parties on Twitter and Facebook, that I called Professor Nash in for an emergency episode. We were able to diagnose the interpretative problems, stop the bleeding, and heal the wound. We explain why political parties have had the same name, but totally different attitudes and policies over the centuries of US history. This episode is necessary listening for the elections coming up this year! Listen and be enlightened! ---- Buzzkill Bookshelf James Reichley, The Life of the Parties (2000). This classic work traces the decline of political parties resulting in divided government and an ineffectual political process―but he also shows us what it will take to restore the party system and [...]
Professor Colin Woodward joins us to discuss the importance of slavery in the minds of Confederate soldiers, as well as its effects on military policy and decision making. He tells us about the Rebels’ persistent belief in the need to defend slavery and deploy it militarily as the war raged on. Slavery proved essential to the Confederate war machine, and Rebels strove to protect it just as they did Southern cities, towns, and railroads. Listen and learn, Buzzkillers! ---- Colin Woodward, Marching Masters: Slavery, Race, and the Confederate Army during the Civil War (2014). In Marching Masters Colin Woodward explores not only the importance of slavery in the minds of Confederate soldiers but also its effects on military policy and decision making. Beyond showing [...]
Are we cursed to be living in interesting times? Would a boring era be easier on the Buzzkill blood pressure? And is “may you live in interesting times” actually an old Chinese curse, or is the history of the saying more complicated? We take you from Chinese folks tales in 1627 to 20th century British politicians in this episode of Quote or No Quote, trying to track down who said what when. Listen and learn! ---- Buzzkill Bookshelf: Feng Menglong, Stories to Awaken the World: A Ming Dynasty Collection, Volume 3, Shuhui Yang (Translator), Yunqin Yang (Translator) (2014). This translation provides an unparalleled view of the art of traditional Chinese short fiction. As with the first two collections in the trilogy, Stories Old and [...]