November 1st sees the release of the long-awaited film, “Harriet,” loosely based on the life and work of the famous abolitionist and civil rights pioneer, Harriet Tubman. Of course, Tubman is best known for her work with the Underground Railroad, the informal but extensive network of guides and safe-houses that helped conduct fugitive Southern slaves to freedom in the North, in Canada, and free territories. Advanced word has reached us here at the Buzzkill Institute that, like most films, “Harriet” mixes history and legend, myth and memory, and fact and fiction. We hope to bring you more shows on Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, but for this Quote or No Quote episode, we’ve chosen the famous: “I freed thousands of slaves. I could have [...]
Professor Ryan Swanson explains the complex history of the relationship between President Theodore Roosevelt and the modernization of American sports culture. We learn about TR’s “tennis cabinet,” his fitness programs, and his role as the “invigorator in chief.” But we also learn about TR’s dislike of the rising professionalization of sports, and about the proper role of sports in American life. --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Ryan Swanson, The Strenuous Life: Theodore Roosevelt and the Making of the American Athlete In full and intricate detail, featuring an amazing cast of characters from the worlds of politics, athletics, entertainment and more, this is the story of how President Theodore Roosevelt helped shepherd in an American sports and fitness revolution.
As many of you know, Lady Buzzkill can’t stand me. Sometimes I can’t blame her, though. Imagine what it must be like watching a history-based movie or TV series with me. I go ballistic at every false historical reference, and start yelling at the TV. Even I admit that it must get annoying. But I believe in my very soul that my outrage was morally-justified the other night. We were catching up on episodes of The Crown, the Netflix series that’s supposed to be about Queen Elizabeth II. In terms of allocated screen time, however, it’s practically wall-to-wall Churchill, with brief scenes of the young Queen thrown in, almost as an afterthought. It’s as if the series producers knew they could never sell a British [...]
One woman was a scholar, who cast her vote 30 seconds after the polls opened in 1893, in the town of Fielding in New Zealand. One woman was described by her local newspaper as "a gentle white-haired housewife, Quakerish in appearance,” and cast her vote in 1870 in Laramie, Wyoming. One woman was a shop owner in the cotton-mill town of Chorlton-Upon-Medlock near Manchester, who voted in a special 1867 by-election for a Member of the British House of Commons. We seem to be obsessed with firsts. The first person on the moon. The first person to fly an airplane. The first person to accomplish any number of sporting feats. So who was the first woman to cast a vote? Here in the United States [...]
President Kennedy usually gets all the credit for inspiring American to reach for the moon. And President Nixon’s signature is on the ceremonial plaque laid there at the end of the Apollo 11 landing. But President Lyndon Johnson hardly ever gets credit for the American space program. The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Shesol joins us to explain LBJ’s pioneering efforts in the space race. Read more about Jeff Shesol’s here: http://www.westwingwriters.com/team/jeff-shesol Read Jeff Shesol’s New Yorker article here: https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/lyndon-johnsons-unsung-role-in-sending-americans-to-the-moon --- Buzzkill Bookshelf: J. Logsdon, John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon This book uses primary source material and interviews with key participants to provide a comprehensive account of how the actions taken by JFK's administration have shaped the course of the US space program [...]
We continue our discussion with Dr. Andrew Ramey from Carnegie Mellon University about the long history of climate change science. The study of climate change grew rapidly in the 20th century, almost as quickly as climate change itself started to affect the earth dramatically. By the 1970s, however, countervailing forces (including the fossil fuel industry) moved into the scientific debate and started well-funded political campaigns to stop any effective governmental action to reduce climate change. Just at the time when the scientific evidence was undeniable and compelling, politics got in the way. --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming This is one of the [...]
Climate change is a much older subject than is commonly assumed. As early as 1750, Enlightenment thinkers such as David Hume and Thomas Jefferson analyzed and wrote about the role that human activity played in climate change. French scientist, Joseph Fourier discovered the greenhouse effect in the 1820s. So, the study of climate change did not come from a bunch of hippies in the 1970s! Dr. Andrew Ramey from Carnegie Mellon University joins us to explain the early history of climate change research, and we dispel a lot of climate change myths along the way! --- Buzzkill Bookshelf James Rodger Fleming, Historical Perspectives on Climate Change Provides a thorough examination of the historical roots of global climate change as a field of inquiry, from the [...]
Myths about Poland during World War II are everywhere. Professor Philip Nash and I destroy some of the biggest ones in this episode. They include: Polish cavalry going up against Nazi tanks, and the story that Poland fell quickly and easily. Not only that, the overall Polish contribution to Allied victory in Europe is generally unknown and overlooked. Listen to us explain it all. --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Halik Kochanski, The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War Rescuing the stories of those who died and those who vanished, those who fought and those who escaped, Kochanski deftly reconstructs the world of wartime Poland in all its complexity-from collaboration to resistance, from expulsion to exile, from Warsaw to Treblinka. The Eagle Unbowed [...]