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This week: Caesar’s literature / A fashion show in 1968 / The genocide surprise / My Lai remembered / The history of natural disaster

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.

1. Trump’s Man in Moscow
By Amie Ferris-Rotman, Emily Tamkin and Robbie Gramer | Foreign Policy | March 2018
“Most of Washington is scared to meet with Russians. Jon Huntsman wants to meet as many as possible.”

2. Caesar Bloody Caesar
By Josephine Quinn | The New York Review of Books | March 2018
“When Julius Caesar was thirty-one years old in 69 BCE, so the story goes, and serving as a junior Roman magistrate in Spain, he once stood lamenting before a statue of Alexander the Great because he had achieved so little at an age by which Alexander had already conquered the world.”

3. The Conversation Favourites
By BBC World Service | March 2018
“Meet the women who have inspired us”

4. The 1968 Fashion Show, the History Lesson Melania Missed
By Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell | Politico Magazine | March 2018
“It was supposed to showcase America First fashion. But not long afterward, manufacturing moved to China, and eventually, the Trumps moved into the White House.”

5. The Genocide the U.S. Didn’t See Coming
By Nahal Toosi | Politico Magazine | March/April 2018
“The Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for generations, primarily in the country’s Rakhine state, and have long faced severe discrimination from the Buddhist majority, which views them as illegal migrants. But this latest wave of violence is the worst in modern memory.”

6. 50 years ago, the My Lai massacre shamed the US military
By Tran Van Minh and Grant Peck | Associated Press | March 2018
“The American soldiers of Charlie Company, sent on what they were told was a mission to confront a crack outfit of their Vietcong enemies, met no resistance, but over three to four hours killed 504 unarmed civilians, mostly women, children and elderly men, in My Lai and a neighboring community.”
Also see, from American Experience: “My Lai,” a documentary film

7. Disasters Have Histories
By Chad H. Parker, Andy Horowitz and Liz Skilton | Process :: The Journal of American History/The American Historian | March 2018
“To many observers, disasters can seem like they erupt out of nowhere, in a catastrophic instant, but as historians, it’s our job to place them in time and space. So when I approach events like the recent storms, I start by asking: who was in danger? When did they arrive there? Why? Almost by definition, seeing disasters as products of history makes them seem less random and less inevitable.”

8. Today’s Eerie Echoes of the Civil War
By Manisha Sinha | The New York Review of Books | March 2018
“Even before what historians call the political crisis of the 1850s, the rise of an interracial abolition movement had encountered mob violence in the streets and gag rules in Congress. From then on, abolitionism in the United States was tied to civil liberties and the fate of American democracy itself. By the eve of the war, in 1861, most people in the northern free states felt that the democratic institutions of the country were being subverted.”

9. The Daring Diplomat Who Proved One Person Can Thwart an Empire
By Emily Ludolph | Narratively | March 2018
“A whistleblower puts his life on the line to defy Soviet aggression. Sixty years later, this forgotten story of subterfuge, smears and suspicious death has never felt more timely.”

10. Does anyone have the right to sex?
By Amia Srinivasan | London Review of Books | March 2018
“Desire can take us by surprise, leading us somewhere we hadn’t imagined we would ever go, or towards someone we never thought we would lust after, or love. In the very best cases, the cases that perhaps ground our best hope, desire can cut against what politics has chosen for us, and choose for itself.”

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Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: White House chaos / A stolen puppy returns / Cardi B’s success / McMaster’s surrender / Racism in National Geographic

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.

1. 32 Weeks: The making of a cop
By Emilie Eaton | San Antonio Express-News | March 2018
“A reporter and photographer from the San Antonio Express-News spent a year following a group of cadets to document their training at the San Antonio Police Department’s nationally recognized academy.”

2. Cabinet chaos: Trump’s team battles scandal, irrelevance
By Jonathan Lemire | Associated Press | March 2018
“One Cabinet member was grilled by Congress about alleged misuse of taxpayer funds for private flights. Another faced an extraordinary revolt within his own department amid a swirling ethics scandal. A third has come under scrutiny for her failure to answer basic questions about her job in a nationally televised interview. And none of them was the one Trump fired.”

3. A pardon expert emailed me his life’s work. Then he killed his two sons and himself.
By Gregory Korte | USA Today | March 2018
“A White House correspondent tries to reconcile a professor’s valuable contribution to the study of the presidential mercy with his horrific final acts.”

4. Does the Adult Brain Really Grow New Neurons?
By Helen Shen | Scientific American | March 2018
“The observation that the human brain churns out new neurons throughout life is one of the biggest neuroscience discoveries of the past 20 years. … But new findings in humans, reported online in Nature on Wednesday, pump the brakes on this idea. In a direct challenge to earlier studies, the authors report adults produce no new cells in the hippocampus, a key hub for processing memories.”

5. A Texas family had their dog stolen. It was returned the next day, injured and with a note.
By Fernando Ramirez | Houston Chronicle | March 2018
“Michelle Carnline, an Austin-area resident, said her family’s 6-month-old chocolate Great Dane disappeared from her backyard on a Sunday evening two weeks ago. At first, the family thought their dog, Landon, had somehow managed to escape. But after finding muddy human footprints in the backyard, it didn’t take long to realize what had happened.”

6. Ta-Nehisi Coates Talks Writing, President Trump, and Quitting Twitter For Good
By Doyin Oyeniyi | Texas Monthly | March 2018
“At his SXSW keynote speech, Coates shared the thoughts that he’ll no longer be tweeting.”

7. For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It
By By Susan Goldberg | National Geographic | April 2018
“We asked a preeminent historian to investigate our coverage of people of color in the U.S. and abroad. Here’s what he found.”

8. Cardi B: The Artist Thriving in a System Not Meant for Her
By Amy Zimmerman | The Daily Beast | March 2018
“Cardi B’s remarkable story is one of merit shining through in an industry and a country that’s far from a meritocracy.”

9. Introduction to Reading Other Women
By Rafia Zakaria | Boston Review | September 2016
“Literature can be a primary engine of dialogue and empathy, but it — or rather, the reading public — is often complicit in the silencing of global women of color.”

10. Dereliction of Duty?
By Jonathan Stevenson | The New York Review of Books | March 2018
“His rationale — or at least his rationalization — was likely that the position would best be filled by a warrior-scholar with the spine and rectitude to protect the country against Trump’s rash leadership.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Al Pacino’s career / Denis Johnson / Remembering the Branch Davidians / W.E.B. Du Bois and America / Colin Powell on raising children

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.

1. Al Pacino on His Legendary Roles
By David Edelstein | Vulture | March 2018
“The actor discusses his first major New York retrospective.”

2. Astronomers get glimpse of dawn of universe 13.6 billion years ago
Associated Press | February 2018
“After the Big Bang, it was cold and black. And then there was light. Now, for the first time, astronomers have glimpsed that dawn of the universe 13.6 billion years ago when the earliest stars were turning on the light in the cosmic darkness.”

3. Lying Down in the Dirt
By Janet Steen | Longreads | February 2018
“An Interview with Denis Johnson”

4. The Ghosts of Mount Carmel
By Michael Hall | Texas Monthly | April 2003
“In the ten years since a devastating fire took the lives of 74 Davidians, a group of survivors has returned to the windswept plains east of Waco, like ghosts haunting the site of their former compound. A new church has been built at Mount Carmel, and inside, they listen to their leader preach the same apocalyptic doctrine, and they wait for David Koresh to return.”

5. 33 of the Weirdest Philip K. Dick Covers We Could Find
By Alicia Kroell | LitHub | March 2018
“Eyes, Brains, Babies, and Marilyn Monroe”

6. When W. E. B. Du Bois Was Un-American
By Andrew Lanham | Boston Review | January 2017
“Du Bois … fought furiously against persecution. He crisscrossed the country giving speeches, wrote passionately about his trial, and built a small but vigorous coalition that helped preserve social justice causes during a decade that tried desperately to strangle them.”

7. Trump’s Fantasies Meet the Harsh Reality of His Presidency
By Jeet Heer | The New Republic | February 2018
“He got rich by spinning a false narrative about himself. That strategy isn’t working in the White House.”

8. Kids need structure
By Colin Powell | TEDxMidAtlantic | October 2012
“How can you help kids get a good start? In this heartfelt and personal talk, Colin Powell, the former U.S. Secretary of State, asks parents, friends and relatives to support children, starting before they even get to primary school, through community and a strong sense of responsibility.”

9. The Afterlife of Pablo Escobar
By Jon Anderson | The New Yorker | March 2018
“In Colombia, a drug lord’s posthumous celebrity brings profits and controversy.”

10. Slavery and the American University
By Alex Carp | The New York Review of Books | February 2018
“From their very beginnings, the American university and American slavery have been intertwined, but only recently are we beginning to understand how deeply.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Monica Lewinsky and #MeToo / The last days of John Kelly? / Remembering the 2017 Oscar disaster / Hitler’s, Mao’s and Stalin’s death tolls / Inside the U.S. embassy in Havana

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.

1. Emerging from ‘the House of Gaslight’ in the Age of #MeToo
By Monica Lewinsky | Hive :: Vanity Fair | February 2018
“On the 20th anniversary of the Starr investigation, which introduced her to the world, the author reflects on the changing nature of trauma, the de-evolution of the media, and the extraordinary hope now provided by the #MeToo movement.”

2. ‘The Newsroom Feels Embarrassed’: Backfires and Explosions at The New York Times as a Possible Future Chief Re-Invents the Paper’s Opinion Pages
By Joe Pompeo | Hive :: Vanity Fair | February 2018
“A yoga-pants refusenik, a climate-science skeptic, and a tech writer with a neo-Nazi pal, among other offenders, have put James Bennet in the crosshairs.”
Also, from the Washington Post: ‘Criticize our work privately’: NYT editorial page chief sends a 1,500-word treatise to colleagues

3. How Long Can John Kelly Hang On?
By Matt Flegenheimer | The New York Times | February 2018
“Last year, Democrats and Republicans alike agreed that if anyone could bring order to the Trump administration, it was the retired four-star Marine general. Were they wrong?”

4. “They Got the Wrong Envelope!”: The Oral History of Oscar’s Epic Best Picture Fiasco
By Scott Feinberg | Hollywood Reporter | February 2018
“One year after the craziest, most improbable and downright embarrassing moment in Academy Awards history, 29 key players open up (many for the first time) about the onstage chaos, backstage bickering and who’s really to blame for Envelopegate and the two minutes and 23 seconds that ‘La La Land’ beat ‘Moonlight.'”
Also, from the Hollywood Reporter: They’re Back: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway to Present Oscars Best Picture

5. Personal Connections with the Civil War West
By Maria Angela Diaz | Muster :: Journal of the Civil War Era | February 2018
“While listening to the papers of my own panel, walking around the book exhibit, and attending several of the other panels, it got me thinking about being a Mexican-American woman, a historian of the Civil War era, and how I’ve related to, or at times not been able to relate to, the field that I’ve chosen to study.”

6. How showing vulnerability helps build a stronger team
By Daniel Coyle | Ideas :: TED.com | February 2018
“If you’d like trust to develop in your office, group or team — and who wouldn’t? — the key is sharing your weaknesses”

7. When Government Drew the Color Line
By Jason DeParle | The New York Review of Books | February 2018
“Government agencies used public housing to clear mixed neighborhoods and create segregated ones. Governments built highways as buffers to keep the races apart. They used federal mortgage insurance to usher in an era of suburbanization on the condition that developers keep blacks out. From New Dealers to county sheriffs, government agencies at every level helped impose segregation — not de facto but de jure.”

8. The Instagram matchmaking queer women via old school personal ads
By Biju Belinky | Dazed Digital | February 2018
“Spoiler alert: it’s led to cross-country love affairs”

9. The Sound and the Fury: Inside the Mystery of the Havana Embassy
By Tim Golden and Sebastian Rotella | ProPubilica | February 2018
“More than a year after American diplomats began to suffer strange, concussion-like symptoms in Cuba, a U.S. investigation is no closer to determining how they were hurt or by whom, and the FBI and CIA are at odds over the case.”

10. Who Killed More: Hitler, Stalin, or Mao?
By Ian Johnson | The New York Review of Books | February 2018
“[T]he Hitler and Stalin numbers invite questions that Mao’s higher ones do not. Should we let Hitler, especially, off the hook for combatant deaths in World War II? It’s probably fair to say that without Hitler, there wouldn’t have been a European war.”

Amelia Earhart Visits San Antonio

Amazing photographs

The Top Shelf

Today in history, Amelia Earhart, who became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, arrived in San Antonio on February 26, 1936.  After her arrival, she was taken to the Alamo where under the voices of a church choir singing “The Eyes of Texas”, she was presented with the six flags of Texas.  The next day she lectured at the Thomas Jefferson High School on, “Flying for Fun.”  The following images taken from the San Antonio Light Collection shows Amelia Earhart attending the welcoming ceremony at the Alamo.

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Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Teaching your daughters / ‘Project Runway’ and depression / Donald Glover / Women rewriting the story / Black fatherhood and ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’

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.

1. Why I’m Teaching My Daughters to Be Rude
By Danielle Lazzarin | The Cut :: New York Magazine | February 2018
“I would no longer teach them that they owe anyone smiles or gratitude for being noticed. I would no longer train them to weaken their boundaries for the sake of being polite.”

2. How ‘Project Runway’ Helped Me ‘Make It Work’ When I Was Depressed
By Juliet Escoria | Vice | February 2018
“Although I hate to admit it because it makes me feel sappy and basic, the show is inspiring — and Tim Gunn is a literal angel.”

3. Donald Glover Has Always Been Ten Steps Ahead
By Bijan Stephen | Esquire | February 2018
“He’s become one of the most powerful and influential individuals in town. So what’s next? We sat down with the legend in the making.”

4. Pushing back: why it’s time for women to rewrite the story
By Sarah Churchwell | The Guardian | February 2018
“Poe, Updike, Roth, Mailer: many male authors have contributed to a culture in which the credibility of women is undermined. It’s time to put a stop to the gaslighting.”

5. A Kingdom of Dust
By Mark Arax, Trent Davis Bailey and Denise Nestor | The California Sunday Magazine | January 2018
“I grew up in the suburbs where our playgrounds were named after the pioneers of fruit and canals of irrigation shot through our neighborhoods to the farms we did not know. For half my life, I never stopped to wonder: How much was magic? How much was plunder?”

6. Radiation Will Tear Elon Musk’s Rocket Car to Bits in a Year
By Rafi Letzter | LiveScience | February 2018
“Down on Earth, a powerful magnetic field and the atmosphere largely protect human beings (and Tesla Roadsters) from the harsh radiation of the sun and cosmic rays. But spacefaring objects have no such protections.”

7. New members of the editorial board
By Kristen Epps | Muster :: The Journal of the Civil War Era | February 2018
“The talented historians joining us in 2018 are Tera Hunter, Fitzhugh Brundage, Laura Edwards, Pekka Hämäläinen, and Susannah Ural.”

8. Controlling the Chief
By Charlie Savage | The New York Review of Books | February 2018
“Trump’s generals — some still in uniform, some now civilians — are clearly trying to mitigate turmoil and curb potential dangers. That may be at once reassuring and disturbing.”

9. Port Aransas Isn’t Giving Up
By Rachel Pearson | Texas Monthly | January 2018
“Returning to my devastated hometown, I found my friends and family putting on a brave face in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.”

10. Deep Space Nine Is TV’s Most Revolutionary Depiction of Black Fatherhood
By Angelica Jade Bastien | Vulture | January 2018
“The family they represent is wholly unique on television: a window into the future of black identity that never forgets the trials of our past or the complexity of our humanity.”

A Month in Special Collections: January

The Top Shelf

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