Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Martian probe’s video / Dogs in the White House / Joan Didion on writing / Pop music and segregation / Revolutions of 1848

This week: Martian probe’s video / Dogs in the White House / Joan Didion on writing / Pop music and segregation / Revolutions of 1848

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism. Learn more about my academic background here.

1. Mars Video Reveals Perseverance Rover’s Daring Touchdown
By Alexandra Witze | Scientific American | February 2021
“The NASA spacecraft has also snapped more shots of its surroundings and listened to a Martian wind gust”

2. The Wonder of It All
By Jon Kirby | Oxford American | November 2019
“In Ron McNair’s Orbit”

3. ‘Who pours the kibble?’ And other answers about daily life for dogs in the White House
By Bonnie Berkowitz | The Washington Post | January 2021
“When the two German shepherds entered the White House, they brought a great opportunity to dig into the day-to-day doggie logistics in one of the busiest and most powerful households in the world.”

4. Joan Didion: Why I Write
By Joan Didion | LitHub | January 2021
“All I knew then was what I wasn’t, and it took me some years to discover what I was.”
Also see, from The New Yorker: What We Get Wrong About Joan Didion

5. Fran Lebowitz on Not Sleeping, Not Writing, and Not Naming Names
By Brian Alessandro | Interview | January 2021
“Lebowitz and I discussed her relationship with Warhol … her disdain for bad art, taxing the tasteless, and trigger warnings, among other topics. No matter what she’s saying, it’s always imbued with her trademark wit and bold judgments.”

6. Biden administration could have record number of Indian Americans — more than half women
By Alexa Mikhail | The 19th | January 2021
“The Biden-Harris administration has named or nominated the most Indian Americans for positions in the administration in American history.”

7. Trump’s useful thugs: how the Republican party offered a home to the Proud Boys
By Brendan O’Connor | The Guardian | January 2021
“Early in Trump’s presidency, emboldened neo-Nazi and fascist groups came out into the open but were met with widespread revulsion. So the tactics of the far right changed, becoming more insidious — and much more successful”

8. Developing the Amazon
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: Climate Change and World History | Segregating Pop Music | The Senses of Slavery | The Myth of Race in America

9. Have You Ever Experienced ‘Impostor Syndrome’?
By Nicole Daniels | The New York Times | January 2021
“Do you ever have feelings of self-doubt, that you’re not good enough or that you don’t belong?”

10. Pericles
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2012-2020
Also see: Erasmus | The Kama Sutra | 1848: Year of Revolution | The Safavid Dynasty

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The graceful Cary Grant / Have in drink in Pompeii / Kate Moss and achievement / The Ottoman Balkans / Li Shizhen

This week: The graceful Cary Grant / Have in drink in Pompeii / Kate Moss and achievement / The Ottoman Balkans / Li Shizhen

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism. Learn more about my academic background here.

1. The Acrobatic Grace of Cary Grant
By Angelica Jade Bastién | Current :: The Criterion Collection | February 2021
“It is axiomatic, perhaps, that Cary Grant was as much a creation as the films he starred in.”

2. The Lingering Terror of Silence of the Lambs
By Chris Nashawaty | Esquire | February 2021
“30 years after its release, the Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins masterpiece still fascinates us. But the movie almost never even got made.”

3. Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?
By Kate Julian | The Atlantic | December 2018
“Despite the easing of taboos and the rise of hookup apps, Americans are in the midst of a sex recession.”

4. Reconstructing the Menu of a Pub in Ancient Pompeii
By Farrell Monaco | Atlas Obscura | January 2021
“Eat like a first-century Roman, using recent archaeological discoveries as your guide”

5. Once Upon a Time, Kate Moss Thought She Couldn’t Take a Good Picture
By Mitchell Nugent | Thirstory :: Interview | March 1999
“Moss, then 25, recalled that before her career took off, neither she nor her mom had much confidence in her modeling potential.”

6. Is working in bed ruining your sleep and sex life? Here’s how to fix it
By Linda Geddes | The Guardian | January 2021
“Using the bedroom as a workspace has its pitfalls, from a disturbed body clock to a dampened libido. But it doesn’t have to be that way”

7. ‘I Could Just Vanish’: In Kabul, Pocket Notes to Prevent Anonymous Death
By David Zucchino and Fatima Faizi | The New York Times | January 2021
“As violence engulfs them, some Afghans carry notes with their names, blood types and relatives’ phone numbers in case they are killed or severely wounded.”

8. The Royal Proclamation of 1763
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: The Ottoman Balkans | Apartheid | The Egyptian Revolution | The Social Legacy of Andrew Jackson

9. Quilt artists create textiles to admire or cozy up with
By Kim Cook | Associated Press | January 2021
“Los Angeles-based artist Sabrina Gschwandtner has created a quilt series stitching together 16 mm and 35 mm film strips and backlighting them with a lightbox to illuminate the patterns.”

10. Li Shizhen
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2012-2020
Also see: Cosmic Rays | Gnosticism | Benjamin Franklin | The An Lushan Rebellion

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Trump, the KGB agent? / The Biden-McConnell relationship / Fran Lebowitz Loves Dolly Parton / Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an / Fermat’s Last Theorem

This week: Trump, the KGB agent? / The Biden-McConnell relationship / Fran Lebowitz Loves Dolly Parton / Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an / Fermat’s Last Theorem

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism. Learn more about my academic background here.

1. ‘The perfect target’: Russia cultivated Trump as asset for 40 years – ex-KGB spy
By David Smith | The Guardian | January 2021
“Yuri Shvets, posted to Washington by the Soviet Union in the 1980s, compares the former US president to ‘the Cambridge five,’ the British spy ring that passed secrets to Moscow during the second world war and early cold war.”

2. Enemies, a Love Story: Inside the 36-year Biden and McConnell Relationship
By Alex Thompson | Politico Magazine | January 2021
“The two 78-year-old deal-makers have been parties to the collapse of Capitol culture. Now they’ll need to make Washington work again.”

3. The Troubled Task of Defining Southern Literature in 2021
By Ed Tarkington | Algonquin Books :: LitHub | January 2021
“Today, I think, stories set in the South should be recognized not as stories about a particular place and time, but as microcosms of the great crucible in which all Americans now labor in our ongoing struggle over the future of our country’s divided soul.”

4. How Nothingness Became Everything We Wanted
By Kyle Chayka | The New York Times Magazine | January 2021
“Even before the pandemic, American culture was embracing numbness as an antidote for the overload of digital capitalism. But is it a real escape — or another trap?”

5. Everyone, Including Fran Lebowitz, Loves Dolly Parton
By Mitchell Nugent | Thirstory :: Interview | July 1989
“Parton shot down any idea of running for government, saying, ‘If I ever ran in East Tennessee, I’d probably win. I’m just jokin’ but I have been asked to run. But I don’t want to get into that. I don’t get involved in politics. I just have my own views, and I usually don’t tell people my opinions; I keep them to myself.’ ”

6. The Pandemic Has Erased Entire Categories of Friendship
By Amanda Mull | The Atlantic | January 2021
“There’s a reason you miss the people you didn’t even know that well.”

7. If I’ve already had the coronavirus, can I get it again?
Associated Press | January 2021
“It’s possible, but such cases seem to be rare.”

8. The Slavic Vampire
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an | Who are the Turks? | The American Revolution in Global Context, Part I | The American Revolution in Global Context, Part 2

9. Is Letterboxd Becoming a Blockbuster?
By Calum Marsh | The New York Times | January 2021
“The social media network has finally left the cinephile niche and entered the mainstream.”

10. Lawrence of Arabia
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2020
Also see: The Anarchy | Paul Dirac | Fermat’s Last Theorem | Hannibal

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Thoughts from the Second Gentleman / The history of land borders / Caligula’s gardens / Cleavage and modern culture / Demonic possession

This week: Thoughts from the Second Gentleman / The history of land borders / Caligula’s gardens / Cleavage and modern culture / Demonic possession

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism. Learn more about my academic background here.

1. What Has the Pandemic Done to Our Eyes?
By Eve Peyser | Intelligencer :: New York Magazine | January 2021
“Take a minute every hour to look away and close your eyes. Somehow in the darkness, with your eyeballs moist and safe, everything feels just a little bit better.”

2. I Might Be the First Second Gentleman, But I Don’t Want to Be the Last
By Douglas Emhoff | GQ | January 2021
“Douglas Emhoff reflects on his unique place in history at the side of his wife Kamala Harris.”

3. The Oldest, The Longest, The Weirdest: A Brief History of Land Borders
By Simon Winchester | Harper :: LitHub | January 2021
“The great majority of the world’s land borders were fashioned in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: a fierce acceleration of nation building got under way in 1850, became territorial mayhem between 1875 and 1899 … and reached its climacteric in the first two decades of the 20th century. …”

4. Trump revived Andrew Jackson’s spoils system, which would undo America’s 138-year-old professional civil service
By Barry M. Mitnick | The Conversation | January 2021
“Less than two weeks before Election Day, Donald Trump signed an executive order that threatens to return the U.S. to a spoils system in which a large share of the federal government’s workforce could be fired for little or no reason. … While President Joe Biden appears likely to reverse the order, its effects may not be so easily undone. And he may have his own reasons for keeping it temporarily in place.”

5. Busted! What The Great and Bridgerton reveal about cleavage
By Morwenna Ferrier | The Guardian | January 2021
“Corset sales are up, even in lockdown, as the nation binge-watches glossy costume dramas. But even in the 18th century, the cantilevered look could be fraught”

6. Caligula’s Garden of Delights, Unearthed and Restored
By Franz Lidz | The New York Times | January 2021
“Relics from the favorite hideaway of ancient Rome’s most infamous tyrant have been recovered and put on display by archaeologists.”

7. Which winter sports are safest to play during COVID-19?
Associated Press | December 2020
“The best physical activities for limiting the risk of coronavirus infections are the ones you do alone or with members of your household”

8. ‘Demonic Possession’ in Early Modern Europe
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: History of the Ottoman Empire, Part 1 | History of the Ottoman Empire, Part 2 | European Imperialism in the Middle East, Part 1 | European Imperialism in the Middle East, Part 2

9. How to Scatter Cremated Remains
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | October 2020
“Note the location with GPS coordinates. At sea, human remains, including ashes, must be thrown at least three nautical miles from land.”

10. Coffee
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2013-2020
Also see: The Valladolid Debate | The Amazons | Japan’s Sakoku Period | Ice Ages