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: Deciding what milk to drink / Voyager 2 is in trouble / Smarter conversations about feminism in politics / Sex and early menopause / When ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ was terrible

This week: Deciding what milk to drink / Voyager 2 is in trouble / Smarter conversations about feminism in politics / Sex and early menopause / When ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ was terrible

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. Almonds are out. Dairy is a disaster. So what milk should we drink?
By Annette McGivney | The Guardian | January 2020
“A glass of dairy milk produces almost three times more greenhouse gas than any plant-based milk. But vegan options have drawbacks of their own”

2. NASA reports Voyager 2 is experiencing technical difficulties
New Atlas | January 2020
“Voyager 2 has been going strong for over 40 years, but it’s beginning to show signs of its age. NASA is reporting that a fault has caused the spacecraft to lock itself down in safe mode, as engineers work to get it back up and running again.”

3. The Apple iPad turns 10 (and we’re still arguing about whether to call it a computer)
By Dan Ackerman | CNET | Janaury 2020
“Asking if an iPad is a computer is like asking if a hot dog is a sandwich.”

4. We Need a Smarter Conversation About Feminism in Politics
By Sarah Jones | Intelligencer :: New York Magazine | January 2020
“Misogyny, in other words, doesn’t look like a primary challenge from the left. It has nothing in common with proposals to create universal health care or make childcare affordable for all. Misogyny keeps women poor and it keeps them quiet. It is a tangible threat, a baseball bat, a gun.”

5. When ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ Was Bad, It Was Truly Horrendous
By Rob Bricken | Gizmodo | January 2020
“Everyone has their pick, but ‘Up the Long Ladder’ is my dark horse contender for the title, because it manages to be racist, sexist, and terrible sci-fi, all at once.”

6. The Cost of an Incoherent Foreign Policy
By Brett McGurk | Foreign Affairs | January 2020
“Trump’s Iran Imbroglio Undermines U.S. Priorities Everywhere Else”

7. I’m Six Weeks Pregnant, and I’m Telling the World
By Betsy Cooper | The New York Times | January 2020
“Against the mandatory secret first trimester.”

8. Having more sex makes early menopause less likely, research finds
By Hannah Devlin | The Guardian | January 2020
“Study of nearly 3,000 women suggests body may ‘choose’ not to invest in ovulation”

9. This Is How We Live Now
By Emily Raboteau | The Cut :: New York Magazine | January 2020
“A year’s diary of reckoning with climate anxiety, conversation by conversation”

10. Who Should Be on the Next Mount Rushmore?
Politico Magazine | July 2019
“We asked historians to imagine a new national monument for 21st-century America.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Final looks at the midterms and the Great War anniversary / Celebrating Wu-Tang Clan / Divided Sexual America / High blood pressure and dementia

This week: Final looks at the midterms and the Great War anniversary / Celebrating Wu-Tang Clan / Divided Sexual America / High blood pressure and dementia

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 electing two Native American women to Congress is about more than making history
By Sarah Sunshine Manning | The Lily | November 2018
“It’s about asserting indigenous women’s ancestral right to leadership”
Also see, from Texas Monthly: ‘Underdog: Beto vs. Cruz’ on 36 Hours in El Paso
Also see, from Texas Monthly: Beto O’Rourke Lost the Battle But Won the War
Also see, from The New York Times: Down With the Year of the Woman

2. Can Europe’s Liberal Order Survive as the Memory of War Fades?
By Katin Bennhold | The New York Times | November 2018
“The anniversary comes amid a feeling of gloom and insecurity as the old demons of chauvinism and ethnic division are again spreading across the Continent. And as memory turns into history, one question looms large: Can we learn from history without having lived it ourselves?”
Also see, from The New York Review of Books: World War I Relived Day by Day
Also see, from Library of America: Harry S. Truman: Waiting for the Armistice
Also see, from The Washington Post: On this World War I anniversary, let’s not celebrate Woodrow Wilson

3. In revealing new memoir, Michelle Obama candidly shares her story
By Krissah Thompson | The Washington Post | November 2018
“In the 426-page book, Obama lays out her complicated relationship with the political world that made her famous. But her memoir is not a Washington read full of gossip and political score-settling — though she does lay bare her deep, quaking disdain for Trump, who she believes put her family’s safety at risk with his vehement promotion of the false birther conspiracy theory.”

4. The New York Times is digitizing more than 5 million photos dating back to the 1800s
By Laura Hazard Owen | Nieman Lab | November 2018
“The photos will be used in a series called Past Tense.”

5. Why Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta F*ck Wit
By Stereo Williams | The Daily Beast | November 2018
“Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the greatest rap group of all time’s seminal debut, ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).’ ”

6. Peace Regimes
By Jesse Kindig | Boston Review | November 2018
“A regime is imposed from without, which begs the questions: whose peace, in this peace regime, is being insured, and who is subject to its imposition? To insist that such a regime is a kind of peace is to willfully forget the violence you are, in fact, wreaking.”

7. Republicans and Democrats Don’t Just Disagree About Politics. They Have Different Sexual Fantasies
By Justin Lehmiller | Politico Magazine | October 2018
“Republicans were more likely than Democrats to fantasize about a range of activities that involve sex outside of marriage.”

8. Pregnancy high blood pressure linked to dementia decades later
By Cheryl Platzman Weinstock | Reuters | November 2018
“Pregnant women who develop pre-eclampsia, a condition involving dangerously high blood pressure, have more than three times higher risk of dementia later in life than women who don’t have this pregnancy complication, researchers say.”

9. The Suffocation of Democracy
By Christopher R. Browning | The New York Review of Books | October 2018
“As a historian specializing in the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, and Europe in the era of the world wars, I have been repeatedly asked about the degree to which the current situation in the United States resembles the interwar period and the rise of fascism in Europe. I would note several troubling similarities and one important but equally troubling difference.”

10. Franco’s family demands dictator be buried with military honors
By Natalia Junquera | El Pais | October 2018
“His seven grandchildren want him to be interred in La Almudena cathedral, in the heart of Madrid”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

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

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.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The Mexican War returns / Trump-era patriarchy / A writer’s advice for life / Bob Dylan’s thoughts / Marilyn Monroe and WWII ‘drones’

This week: The Mexican War returns / Trump-era patriarchy / A writer’s advice for life / Bob Dylan’s thoughts / Marilyn Monroe and WWII ‘drones’

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. Will Mexico Get Half of Its Territory Back?
By Enrique Krauze | The New York Times | April 6
“The United States invasion of Mexico in 1846 inflicted a painful wound that, in the 170 years that followed, turned into a scar. Donald Trump has torn it open again. Among the many lies that he has constructed, none is more ridiculous than his attempt to contradict history by presenting the United States as a victim of Mexico. …”

2. Hillary Clinton: misogyny ‘certainly’ played a role in 2016 election loss
By Amber Jamieson | The Guardian | April 6
“In first post-election interview, former Democratic presidential candidate calls for US intervention in Syria and a ‘patriotic’ investigation into Russia”

3. Trump’s Patriarchal Counter-Revolution
By Jeet Heer | The New Republic | April 3
“Sexism is making a comeback under the president and his heavily male administration, sparking a renewed war over gender equality.”

4. Life Advice From Adrienne Rich
By Emily Temple | LitHub | March 2017
“Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work. It means that you do not treat your body as a commodity with which to purchase superficial intimacy or economic security; for our bodies to be treated as objects, our minds are in mortal danger. It means insisting that those to whom you give your friendship and love are able to respect your mind. ”

5. Q&A with Bill Flanagan
By Bob Dylan and Bill Flanagan | BobDylan.com | March 2017
“These songs are some of the most heartbreaking stuff ever put on record and I wanted to do them justice. Now that I have lived them and lived through them I understand them better. They take you out of that mainstream grind where you’re trapped between differences which might seem different but are essentially the same. Modern music and songs are so institutionalized that you don’t realize it. These songs are cold and clear-sighted, there is a direct realism in them, faith in ordinary life just like in early rock and roll.”

6. These sex addicts can’t stop swiping right on Tinder
By Melkorka Licea | The New York Post | April 2
“Unsurprisingly, many of these hook-ups feel more like cold business transactions than meaningful connections with fellow humans. … But it’s the dependence on one-night-stands that can lead to obsessive behavior, depression, and issues maintaining real connections, therapists believe.”

7. Save All
By Jaeah Lee | The California Sunday Magazine | March 2017
“Archiving the Internet in the Trump Era”

8. The power thinker
By Colin Koopman | Aeon | March 15
“Original, painstaking, sometimes frustrating and often dazzling. Foucault’s work on power matters now more than ever.”

9. There is no such thing as western civilisation
By Kwame Anthony Appiah | The Guardian | November 2016
“The values of liberty, tolerance and rational inquiry are not the birthright of a single culture. In fact, the very notion of something called ‘western culture’ is a modern invention”

10. Marilyn Monroe’s World War II Drone Program
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | June 2014
“Working 10 hours a day for $20 a week in a World War II defense plant 70 years ago was 18-year-old Norma Jeane Dougherty, wife of a young United States merchant seaman assigned overseas.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Prince and Beyonce / Tubman on the $20 / QEII turns 90 / Abigail Adams / Shakespeare, the American

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

1. Boston cheers Tubman going on the $20 bill
By Eric Moskowitz | The Boston Globe | April 21
“Although Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland and spent most of her free life in upstate New York, she has deep ties to Massachusetts, the center of the abolitionist movement.”

2. Tubman’s In. Jackson’s Out. What’s It Mean?
By Jennifer Schuessler, Binyamin Appelbaum, and Wesley Morris | The New York Times | April 20
“Does having her on the bill make a real difference — either to how we think about our history, or how we think about our money?”

3. What Prince Taught Me About Love. And Sex. And Time.
By Dave Holmes | Esquire | April 21
“Thirty-five years ago, I heard Prince’s voice. Eighteen years later, I was in his presence.”

4. The Best Tweets By People Losing Their Sh*t Thinking Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ Was a Divorce Announcement
Cosmopolitan and Esquire | April 24
“Some people think she’s writing about her dad’s infidelity, not Jay Z’s, but it seems unlikely he is totally innocent here.”

5. Veep’s most profane, brutal and brilliant burns
By Janet Upadhye | Salon | April 24
“The result is 160 seconds of hilarity. Enjoy.”

6. Trump terrifies world leaders
By Edward-Isaac Dovere and Bryan Bender | Politico | April 21
“And Obama’s reassurances aren’t calming them down.”

7. William Shakespeare: a quintessentially American author
By Robert McCrum | The Guardian | April 9
“From Abraham Lincoln’s White House readings to Hollywood westerns and West Side Story, Shakespeare’s plays are an integral part of the American dream. So how did this icon of Englishness become a U.S. phenomenon?”

8. ‘Remember the Ladies’: Edith Gelles on the incomparable letters of Abigail Adams
Library of America | April 18
“Abigail Adams’s letters are the best record we have of the American Revolution from a woman’s point of view. No other Founding family has left such a trove of family letters as the Adamses.”

9. A Busy Queen Elizabeth II Pencils In a 90th Birthday
By Dan Bilefsky | The New York Times | April 20
“Through seven decades, she has remained gloriously and relentlessly enigmatic in one of her signature pastel outfits and colorful hats, chosen, royal experts say, so onlookers can spot her in a crowd.”

10. Kennedy, L.B.J. and a Disputed Deer Hunt
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | August 2014
“Someone present thought the president-elect looked ‘like a football fan.’ Another felt that in the rural Texas setting, Kennedy looked as if he were ‘on Mars.’ ”

2014 in review

Thank you for making 2014 the best year ever. Read the year-end WordPress graphical roundup.

Thank you so much for making 2014 Stillness of Heart‘s best year ever.

Here's an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Free Love Freefall

The revolutionaries were determined to make lasting changes to the various forms of sexual oppression they perceived. It remains to the current generation to ensure their still-blossoming accomplishments do not wither under cold conservative shadows.

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Allyn’s revolutionaries were determined to make lasting changes to the various forms of sexual oppression they perceived. It remains to the current generation to ensure their still-blossoming accomplishments do not wither under cold conservative shadows.
A review by Fernando Ortiz Jr.

*****

Discussed in the essay:

Make Love, Not War: The Sexual Revolution: An Unfettered History. By David Allyn. New York: Routledge, 2001. Pp. 381. $30.95

David Allyn’s Make Love, Not War intelligently and creatively tours a sexual renaissance that ebbed and flowed throughout the 1960s and 1970s, sparking changes of varying longevity throughout society. Latino and black Americans fought throughout this era for equal rights as citizens and for the freedom to pursue and fully embrace the American Dream. The general public’s gradual tolerance of public gay culture, the rise of swingers movements, the gaveling of obscenity trials, the publication of sex studies, and the embrace of the birth control pill all comprise for Allyn a sexual rights movement, a “revolution” that silenced some prudes, raised legal eyebrows, and brought America a few sultry steps closer to the fulfillment of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”1

Allyn designates the early sixties to the late seventies as the era of the sexual revolution, and he links its progression to general economic health in the United States. They rise and fall together. He utilizes dozens of interviews with men and women — some identified and some under pseudonyms — thirty years after their revolution takes place. Sexual histories, sociological studies, essays, novels, and academic reports supplement his study of the birth control pill, lesbian empowerment, gay rights, fights over literary censorship, public excitement over sexually-charged theater and film works, nudist colonies, swinger parties, and the general struggle to strip shame away from anyone’s sexual life.

The revolution was a multi-pronged and disjointed effort that lurched toward sometimes unclear objectives. Critics may condemn Allyn’s book for its seemingly disorganized structure, but it actually properly reflects the messiness of a series of efforts to change social mores and personal prejudices. Allyn’s great strength as a writer is his ability to gracefully transition from one theme of the era to another.

If anyone wanted to read a new sex manual to improve their sex life, Allyn argues that the sexual revolution made that possible. If a gay man or woman wanted to add legal sexual escapades at a sex party into their urban lifestyle, the sexual revolution made that available. If upper and middle-class women wanted to control their fertility, swap their spouses with other couples, or find and buy a book filled with sexual imagery, the sexual revolution eased strictures, opened doors, and soothed public outrage. Americans could fully and freely explore their identities, fulfill their aspirations, find their limits, and live their lives. For almost everyone, Allyn explores, the sexual revolution provided the freedom from fear.2

Allyn is enamored with the term “revolution,” which is his theme as his historical tour widens its scope over American society. From the very beginning, Allyn credibly admits the duality of his terrain, of which some aspects “were not revolutionary at all but evolutionary.” The era’s development of the pill, the rise of the sexual book publishing industry, the debates over obscene literature, the stronger roles women secured for themselves in American society — all were inherited from earlier eras in American history, all far from original movements. He admits this duality and does nothing to compensate for its contradictory influence on his narrative structure except pair stories of triumph with stories of eventual defeat or threat.

The era’s legacy is a mixed success of progression and regression, like all revolutions in American history. American society generally accepts the use of birth control and the popularity of premarital sex, though religious leaders and worried parents still frown on the still-expensive pill. Uncensored pornography — from hard-core videos to the soft sensuality of Anais Nin — is ubiquitous in the online world and easily found in the most popular bookstores, though erotica still faces many “family-oriented” enemies. Celebrities, news organizations, the military, scientific organizations, national leaders, and students across the United States embrace homosexuality as a normal sexual orientation, gay rights for citizens and servicemen, gay adoptions, and gay unions. But legal recognition of gay marriages retains its legal and political polarizing effect.3

Not everything can change all at once. Not everyone is won over when new ideas, new bathing suits, new aspirations, and new freedoms dawn over the raucous American society. When it comes to sex, each citizen had to make his or her own personal journey. People change as they grow older. Love and desire bring their own contradictory and revolutionary effects on one’s understanding and acceptance of the world around them. Jealousy, lust, insecurity, and fear can easily disrupt carefully constructed arrangements among sexual partners.

His interviews with the revolution’s participants best capture these intimate journeys. However biased or self-conscious they may be three decades later, Allyn’s interviewees echo the bittersweet afterglow the revolution’s sunset left in their lives. One father remembered his son loudly declaring in an airport terminal that his mother took a shower with a male sexual friend. One humiliated teenager remembers when her sexually supportive father left condoms on every bed in case she wanted to have sex with her male guest. Allyn deserves credit for including the long, dark slopes of the era’s gleaming aspirations for sexual liberation. He mostly maintained his balance between giddy celebration of short-term sexual bliss and grim acknowledgement of the long-term emotional consequences.4

His book’s duality also demands answers to eternal historical questions: Do changes deserve to be considered revolutionary if they are not all long-lasting? Was the sexual blossoming in the sixties an aberration in social values, enough to be considered revolutionary, or was the real revolution comprised of religious attitudes and social frigidity that put in place decency laws, targeted erotic literature, oppressed gay communities, marginalized women, and put shame into the hearts and minds of millions of sexual beings? Perhaps Allyn’s era was simply a counter-revolution, an attempt to take further the romantic aspirations of early twentieth century struggles for gender equality, sexual freedom, a more-just democracy, and fulfilled personal desires. Perhaps Allyn’s era consisted of a series of moments when Americans again grappled with and consummated fundamental American ideals that the original revolutionary generation left their descendants in a different and better America to achieve.

The book’s focus is mostly on urban upper and middle-class Anglo citizens. Blacks, Latinos, and lower-class citizens are not part of this study, which leaves readers hungering for a greater variety of voices and experiences. However, his study is linked to the economic health of the U.S. When the economy worsened in the seventies, the sexual revolution sputtered, which suggests the sexual revolution belonged only to those who could afford its luxurious promise. Impoverished minorities had larger and more immediate problems to worry about — how to feed their children and themselves, where to find work, how to avoid or at least endure an oppressive and heartless society — that they could not be concerned about swinger parties, literary censorship, or lesbian rights.

Overall, Allyn’s conflicted book is a valuable contribution to the study of postwar America. He brings together a detailed examination of various aspects of a sexual renaissance that benefited and benefited from other struggles for other freedoms. The arguments from this era came down — and still do — to eternal American issues: How much equality is necessary to fulfill our founding principles? How much are Americans entitled to? Where does private control — over our bodies, our gender, our children’s education, our moral principles — end and a democratic society’s standards begin? Allyn’s revolutionaries were determined to make lasting changes to the various forms of sexual oppression they perceived. It remains to the current generation to ensure their still-blossoming accomplishments do not wither under cold conservative shadows.


1. David Allyn, Make Love, Not War: The Sexual Revolution: An Unfettered History (New York: Routledge, 2001), 3-4. Allyn asserts that the every aspect of the sexual revolution “had an impact on how we as a nation have come to think of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
2. Allyn, 4-5.
3. Allyn, 8, 295-296.
4. Allyn, 217, 297-299.

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats prepared a 2013 annual report for Stillness of Heart.

The WordPress.com stats prepared a 2013 annual report for Stillness of Heart.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Bomb threat at UT Austin / What men and women really want / The presidency through Obama’s eyes / Codex of Archimedes

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.

1. UT Bomb Threat Declared A Hoax, Response Questioned
By Audry White | The Texas Tribune | Sept. 14
“At about 8:35 a.m., a caller told university staff that bombs around campus would detonate 90 minutes from the call. UT officials, though, did not issue an emergency text alert to the campus until about 9:50, just 15 minutes before the supposed time of detonation.”

3. First Planets Found Around Sun-Like Stars in a Cluster
Jet Propulsion Laboratory :: NASA | Sept. 14
“NASA-funded astronomers have, for the first time, spotted planets orbiting sun-like stars in a crowded cluster of stars. … Although the newfound planets are not habitable, their skies would be starrier than what we see from Earth.”

2. Women from Venus? Men from Mars? The Real Sexual Gender Divide
By Michael Castleman | All About Sex :: Psychology Today | Sept. 13
“Men and women feel more similar about sex than most people imagine.”

4. Our Diplomats Deserve Better
By Prudence Bushnell | The New York Times | Sept. 13
“Diplomats don’t often make headlines until something horrible happens.”

5. Obama’s Way
By Michael Lewis | Vanity Fair | October 2012
“To understand how air-force navigator Tyler Stark ended up in a thornbush in the Libyan desert in March 2011, one must understand what it’s like to be president of the United States — and this president in particular.”

6. The Salton Sea: Death and Politics in the Great American Water Wars
By Matt Simon | Wired Science | Sept. 14
“Considered to be among the world’s most vital avian habitats and — until recently — one of its most productive fisheries, the Salton Sea is in a state of wild flux, the scene of fish and bird die-offs of unfathomable proportions.”

7. William Noel: Revealing the lost codex of Archimedes
TED | April 2012
“How do you read a two-thousand-year-old manuscript that has been erased, cut up, written on and painted over?”

8. Hollywood’s Spacesuits
By Diane Tedeschi | Air & Space Magazine | Sept. 13
“A sci-fi historian’s guide to movie spacesuits, from wacky to realistic.”

9. Working on the Railroad
By Rick Beard | Disunion :: The New York Times | July 11
“[O]ne of the most important public projects of the 19th century took 20 years to approve.”

10. Obama by the Numbers
By Mark Warren and Richard Dorment | Esquire | Sept. 14
“Here, as a service to clarity and sanity, is the story of the Obama administration in raw, irreducible numbers.”

**************

TUNES

Tonight I’m spending some time with the blues, specifically with the Texas Blues Café. Check out the line-up and then listen here.

1. Zed Head — Till I Lost You & Electraglide Shuffle
2. Dean Haitani — All Roads Lead To Rome
3. Freedom and Whiskey — Kettlebottom Blues
4. Josh Gracin — Please Come Home for Christmas
5. Marc Broussard –Home
6. Paul Rodgers — Muddy Water Blues
7. Victor Wainwright and the Wild Roots — What You Want
8. Hill Country Review — Highway Blues
9. Too Slim and the Taildraggers — Testament
10. Kevin Ball — Mexi-Tele’ Blues
11. Duffy — Hanging On Too Long
12. Storyville — There’s a Light