Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: San Antonio’s delicious secret / The unexpected new world after 9/11 / Impeachment lessons from the Nixon nightmare / Black female relationships in literature / The Haitian Revolution

This week: San Antonio’s delicious secret / The unexpected new world after 9/11 / Impeachment lessons from the Nixon nightmare / Black female relationships in literature / The Haitian Revolution

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. Pork Chop Tacos Are San Antonio’s Best-Kept Secret
By José R. Ralat | Texas Monthly | September 2021
“While figuring out how to eat one might seem daunting, it’s well worth the effort.”

2. Beyond Forever War
By Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon | Foreign Affairs | September 2021
“A Smarter Counterterrorism Approach Is Now Within Reach”

3. From 9/11’s ashes, a new world took shape. It did not last.
By Calvin Woodward, Ellen Knickmeyer and David Rising | Associated Press | September 2021
“From the first terrible moments, America’s longstanding allies were joined by longtime enemies in that singularly galvanizing instant. No nation with global standing was cheering the stateless terrorists vowing to conquer capitalism and democracy. How rare is that? Too rare to last, it turned out.”

4. Republicans and Impeachment — Lessons from the Nixon years
By Jeet Heer | Start Making Sense | October 2019
“Republicans and impeachment: In the case of Nixon, it took them until the very end to jump ship — and those who defended him (Reagan and Bush Sr.) had better political futures than those who didn’t.”

5. An incredibly resilient coral in the Great Barrier Reef offers hope for the future
By Nikk Ogasa | Science News | August 2021
“The reef’s widest coral has survived for hundreds of years and weathered many bleaching events”

6. Scientists say a telescope on the Moon could advance physics — and they’re hoping to build one
By Nicole Karlis | Salon | September 2021
“The Moon’s lack of atmosphere and darkness could offers unique observations of the universe”

7. Making a Way Out of No Way: Celebrating the Power of Black Female Relationships in Literature
By Dawn Turner | LitHub | September 2021
“The seven books … share similar themes of women empowering one another against formidable odds.”

8. Medgar Evers: A Hero in Life and Death
By Jennifer Davis | The Library of Congress | July 2021
“Medgar Wiley Evers, civil rights activist, voting rights activist and organizer, was born 96 years ago this month in tiny Decatur, Mississippi. He would go on to become one of the nation’s most significant 20th-century voices in the causes of civil rights and social justice before being assassinated at the age of 37.”

9. The Voice of Orson Welles
By Farran Smith Nehme | The Criterion Collection | November 2018
“Nothing but Welles’s voice could have achieved that gentle mockery of the rich midwesterners and their privileges, as when he describes the long process of a lady hailing a streetcar and the sad yearning for Tarkington’s vanished world — too slow for us now, all of it.”
Also see: The Magnificent Ambersons — Surfaces and Depths

10. The Iliad
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2014-2018
Also see: e | The Sun | Brunel | The Haitian Revolution

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: Texans we need to know about / The value of literary glory / Gender stereotypes endure / Trump’s 547 Twitter insults / Hunting the world’s most dangerous terrorist

This week: Texans we need to know about / The value of literary glory / Gender stereotypes endure / Trump’s 547 Twitter insults / Hunting the world’s most dangerous terrorist

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. 31 Texans Taking Charge
Texas Monthly | December 2018
“From gymnast Simone Biles and Houston mayor Sylvester Turner to political megadonor Tim Dunn, here are 31 Texans who are changing the way we think about politics, education, food, philanthropy, and, well, pretty much everything else.”

2. How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime
By Emily Michot and Julie K. Brown | Miami Herald | November 2018
“Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein is a free man, despite sexually abusing dozens of underage girls according to police and prosecutors. His victims have never had a voice, until now.”

3. Is Literary Glory Worth Chasing?
By Tim Parks | NYR Daily :: The New York Review of Books | November 2018
“Is writing worth it? Does it make any sense at all to pursue literary glory? Are the writers we praise really the best anyway?”

4. Outdated Gender Stereotypes Are ‘Very Much Alive’
Home School :: The Atlantic | November 2018
“[P]arents shouldn’t dictate gender roles to their children.”

5. The 547 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List
By Jasmine C. Lee and Kevin Quealy | The Upshot :: The New York Times | (As of November 21)
You can organize it alphabetically or chronologically.

6. Inside the Hunt for the World’s Most Dangerous Terrorist
By John P. Carlin | Politico Magazine | November 2018
“How a British hacker joined ISIS’s top ranks and launched a deadly global cyber plot.”

7. In the Era of #MeToo, Men Don’t ‘Know’ About Predatory Men — but Women Do
By Libby Lenkinski | Los Angeles Review of Books | November 2018
“One of the revelations of the #MeToo moment is the broad understanding that every woman in our society has endured sexual violence in one way or another and all of us carry the effects of those traumas with us in various ways in our lives. This is compounded by the intersectional realities of our identities — women of color face a different layer of discrimination than white women, as do Native women, fat women, Latina women, Jewish women, Muslim women, trans women.”

8. The Pugnacious Outlaw Women Behind My Protagonist
By Katrina Carrasco | LitHub | November 2018
“From Hellcat Maggie to the Great Sandwina, eight women who defied their era”

9. Standish Meacham and Multiculturalism in the Public University
By Carson Wright | Not Even Past :: Department of History, UT Austin | November 2018
“In both facets of his academic life, Dr. Meacham was devoted to the building up of marginalized groups. An academic background in the humanities — in History — shaped Dr. Meacham’s view in a way that drove him to make a positive impact at the University of Texas.”

10. 16 in a refugee camp: Here’s what her days are like
By Masuma Ahuja | Girlhood Around the World :: The Lily | October 2018
“Her teenage years are unfolding in the limbo of a refugee camp — a settlement that is inherently meant to be an in-between place, not one where you can expect to build a life or a future — and in the backdrop of a conflict that forced her family to flee from Syria.”

Amerikan Rambler: Podcast 40: Stephen Railton

From Feb. 2017: “Colin and Steve talk about Faulkner, his books, and how he ended up in Charlottesville.”

Stephen Railton has taught in the English department at the University of Virginia for forty years. His specialty is nineteenth century American literature, and he has done major work on James Fenimore Cooper, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Mark Twain.

via Podcast 40: Stephen Railton — Amerikan Rambler: Everybody Has a Story

Amerikan Rambler: Paul Fussell’s ‘Doing Battle’

From Jan. 2014: “The pages he devotes to the research are one of the best endorsements of the joys of the archives you’ll ever read.”

I recently finished reading Paul Fussell’s memoir, “Doing Battle,” about his experiences growing up in Pasadena, California, as an officer in Europe during World War II, and as a teacher and scholar at Rutgers and Princeton. Fussell received his doctorate in English from Harvard, and he is best known for two books that combine history and literature — “The Great War in Modern Memory” and “Wartime,” the latter of which is about WWII.

via Paul Fussell’s “Doing Battle” — Amerikan Rambler: Everybody Has a Story

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Saying sorry … Condi’s regret … Hawthorne’s inspiring words … Latino birth rate drop … A sexy inventor.

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. Why Some People Say ‘Sorry’ Before Others
By Lauren F. Friedman | Scientific American | Nov. 28
“Certain character traits influence people’s willingness to apologize”

2. Rice regrets N.Y.C. vacation in wake of Katrina
Politico Live :: Politico | Nov. 27
“Reflecting on the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that as the administration’s highest-ranking African-American at that time, she regretted being on vacation in New York during the storm crisis.”

3. An implausible candidate’s implausible story
By Helen O’Neill | Associated Press | Nov. 26
“He’s a mathematician, a minister, a former radio talk show host and pizza magnate. But most of all, Herman Cain is a salesman. And how he sells.”

4. Waiting to die: Cervical cancer in America
By Amanda Robb | Al Jazeera | Nov. 22
“Geography largely determines whether US women will suffer from cervical cancer — and whether they will die from it.”

5. Hawthorne Feels Your Pain: Understanding Economic Crisis Through American Literature
By Daniel Honan | BigThink | Nov. 29
“According to Lisa New, professor of English at Harvard University, Americans ought to download Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of Seven Gables to their smartphones. Indeed, classic American literature abounds with examples of how Americans have responded to economic upheavals.”

6. Newt Gingrich, Crackpot Historian
By Tim Murphy | Mother Jones | Nov. 29
“The GOP presidential candidate has a new piece of historical fiction out. Emphasis on fiction.”

7. Latino birth rate drops during recession
By Sara Ines Calderon | NewsTaco | Nov. 29
“Since 2007, the number of Latino babies born in the U.S. has dropped by 11% — or below 1 million in 2010.”

8. Hedy Lamarr: World’s Sexiest Inventor
Life | Nov. 29
“Fascinated by science and eager to find a way to help the Allies during World War II, Lamarr came up with a way to make radio signals jump between frequencies, and thus prevent the signals from becoming jammed.”

9. Visualizing the World’s Food Consumption
Food Service Warehouse | Nov. 29
Guess which country consumed most of the world’s calories.

10. The Sex Addiction Epidemic
By Chris Lee | The Daily Beast | Nov. 25
“It wrecks marriages, destroys careers, and saps self-worth. Yet Americans are being diagnosed as sex addicts in record numbers. Inside an epidemic.”