Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Hating the monoliths / Maradona’s darker legacy / How to press flowers / The missing in Mexico / Shakespeare’s heroines

This week: Hating the monoliths / Maradona’s darker legacy / How to press flowers / The missing in Mexico / Shakespeare’s heroines

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. Tributes to Diego Maradona show how easily violence against women is ignored
By Joan Smith | The Guardian | November 2020
“Too often we’re in denial about the fact that heroes — such as Maradona and Sean Connery — might also be abusers”

2. The Can-Do Power
By Samantha Power | Foreign Affairs | January / February 2021
“The Biden administration should … pursue foreign policy initiatives that can quickly highlight the return of American expertise and competence.”

3. Yo-Yo Ma and the Meaning of Life
By David Marchese | Talk :: The New York Times Magazine | November 2020
“It’s all the connections we make in life. Once you’re connected, you feel responsibility. And ‘connected’ means that it’s a circular loop. I know you, but you have to know me, too. There’s an energy circle that goes back and forth.”

4. How to Press Flowers
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | August 2020
“Each bit of plant material should be spread out carefully and sandwiched between layers of nonglossy blotting paper and sheets of cardboard.”

5. The search for the disappeared points to Mexico’s darkest secrets
By Mary Beth Sheridan | The Washington Post | December 2020
“More than 79,000 people have disappeared in Mexico, most of them since 2006. It’s the worst crisis of the disappeared in Latin America since the Cold War. … And Mexico’s numbers keep rising. Last year saw a record. Mexicans are uncovering two clandestine graves a day, on average.”

6. Witty women
By Rhodri Lewis | Times Literary Supplement | December 2020
“Shakespeare’s languages and the origin of his comic heroines”

7. The Monoliths Are Stupid and I Hate Them
By Sarah Jones | Intelligencer :: New York Magazine | December 2020
“They feel like the last authentic objects in the world. Next to them the monoliths can only be props, a brief and frantic distraction. Escape lies just beyond them, in open land and an unblemished sky.”

8. The history of First Ladies’ hairstyles, untangled
By Matthew Sweet | 1843 :: The Economist | November 2020
“Haircuts in the White House are never just cosmetic. There’s a political message in every strand”

9. 2020 Has Been Miserable. Is Extreme Masculinity to Blame?
By Peter Glick | Politico Magazine | November 2020
“Whether it’s the refusal to wear a mask during a pandemic or the win-at-all-costs approach to elections, 2020 has been a banner year for a particularly toxic masculinity”

10. Can mosquitoes spread the coronavirus?
Viral Questions :: Associated Press | August 2020
“No. While mosquitoes can spread some diseases, most notably malaria, experts say COVID-19 is not among them.”

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.’ ”

Kate Stone’s Civil War: Strangers in a strange land

Stone mourns a family friend’s death. She also notes ominously the growing epidemic of deadly disease at a nearby Confederate camp filled with Northern prisoners of war.

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From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

As another oppressive Texas summer begins, Stone mourns a family friend’s death. She also notes ominously the growing epidemic of deadly disease at a nearby Confederate camp filled with Northern prisoners of war.

June 14, 1864

Tyler, Texas

Comfortably seated by an open window in our lone rocking chair, I am munching Confederate cakes all alone with nothing to do. … Johnny is lying on his stomach with his heels in the air … Johnny has taken great delight in Shakespeare and reads and re-reads his favorite plays. He is already a good Shakespearean scholar. Sister is amusing herself with Sally, and the others are off spending this day with Mrs. Prentice. If there is one thing I most detest, it is spending a long summer day away from home. …

Jimmy received a letter from Mr. Hardison telling of Mrs. Hardison’s death in February. We are truly grieved to hear it. She was a high-minded good woman and one of our best friends. She died in Red River County, where they have been living since fall. Her life was a scene of trial from the time they fled from home. He writes most sadly. They have no books, no papers, hear no news, and have made no new friends and are alone on the bleak prairie, strangers in a strange land. We pity them all but most, her poor mother, Mrs. Alexander.

Anna and Dr. Meagher returned a few days ago. He is stationed here now in charge of the Yankee prisoners. The prisoners are in a most pitiable condition, perfectly destitute. Some have only a blanket to wear and others only one garment. There is much sickness and death among them and the authorities are powerless to get clothes for them. No clothes or blankets to be bought. …