Should old acquaintance be forgot? What? Should we forget old friends? What does Auld Lang Syne actually mean? Why do we sing it every New Year’s Eve? Join the Professor as he waxes lyrical and sentimentally about Auld Lang Syne, Scotland, and good auld Robert Burns!
Legend has is that there were special, secret meanings behind the lyrics in the famous Christmas song, The 12 Days of Christmas? Ten Lords a Leaping and Nine Ladies Dancing sounds like a pretty good party! But why wasn’t Professor Buzzkill invited? We explain it all and wish all you Buzzkillers out there a happy holiday season!
Professor Philip Nash explains the complexities of the celebration and commercialism of Christmas -- from the Roman holiday of Saturnalia to the Victorian era to the Nazi period and beyond! Listen to the best explanation of the history of modern Christmas that you're gonna find this side of Bethlehem!
Professor Phil Nash joins us to explain the myths and misconceptions about December 7th, 1941, as well as the complexities of the cultural importance of the attack since then. Did FDR know about the attack ahead of time? And who was the attack more devastating for - the United States or Japan? You’ll learn more about an event that you thought you already knew well!
I mentioned on the show the other day that "It's a Wonderful Life" was re-done as a radio play a couple of times. Lots of Buzzkillers have asked me to find the best version and play it. So here it is! This version is from 1947 on the Lux Radio Theater, and stars Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed (as well as supporting actors). Enjoy! Episode #430.
One of the most popular movies of all time, “It’s a Wonderful Life” (starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed) is a holiday classic. It has also given us a cornucopia of history myths and urban legends. Lend an ear as the Professor analyzes these stories, talks about how the movie was received when released in 1946, and highlights many overlooked supporting actors and plot devices in the film. And you learn why the Professor thinks he also has a “wonderful life”! Episode #398.
One of the legendary stories that re-appear during Thanksgiving season is that no less a luminary and Founder than Ben Franklin thought that the bald eagle was an improper choice as the national bird and a national symbol. Franklin preferred the more “dignified” turkey, and tried to convince Founding Fathers to agree. Apparently they thought Ben was a senile old sentimentalist, and so they ignored him. But is any of this story true? Listen and find out!
The Pilgrims and Native Americans sat down on the fourth Thursday of November in 16-something and started the first Thanksgiving dinner, right? You guessed it. Wrong! It took almost 300 years to get to Norman Rockwell’s painting and the Macy’s Parade. Listen and learn, Buzzkillers!
Historian Ray Boomhower, one of our most popular guests, tells us the story of war correspondent Richard Tregaskis, who put his life on the line many times to bring Americans the stories of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Listen and learn how important war correspondents are to our history! Episode #429
Buzzkillers have asked us to play the original 1938 radio drama, War of the Worlds, that allegedly caused such a panic. Here it is, in all its historic glory, with a short introduction from Professor Buzzkill. Don't panic!
A 1938 radio play based on H.G. Wells' novel, The War of the Worlds, supposedly panicked America. The Martians were invading! People went hysterical and ran for their lives! Or did they? Listen to Professors Jefferson Pooley and Michael Socolow explain what really happened. Encore of episode #387.
Did the United States really “bail the French out in two world wars,” or is it a blustering, bigoted myth? Professor Phil Nash joins us to discuss what actually happened in World Wars I and II, and whether the United States was “bailing out” the French or repaying a major debt from the American Revolution. Join us as we discuss all the issues. Lafayette, the Buzzkillers are here!
Dr. Jesse Curtis shows us how white evangelicals in the 20th century US grew their own institutions and created an evangelical form of whiteness, infusing the politics of colorblindness with sacred fervor. They deployed a Christian brand of colorblindness to protect new investments in whiteness. While black evangelicals used the rhetoric of Christian unity to challenge racism, white evangelicals repurposed this language to silence their black counterparts and retain power. Great Show! Listen and Learn! Episode 428
The Global Cooling “evidence” of the 1970s is a “zombie myth” that has plagued public understanding of climate change ever since. Dr. Andrew Ramey from Carnegie Mellon University explains how this myth started, how the media reported it at the time, and how it has been revived and repeated endlessly ever since. It’s one of the most damaging climate change myths, and it skews the climate change debate in dangerous ways. Episode 427
Dr. Rebecca DeWolf explains the complicated, yet compelling, history of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and lays out possibilities for its eventual inclusion in the US Constitution. She also tells us why the ERA’s history has included a long-standing debate over “gendered citizenship.” This is the most comprehensive examination of the ERA in podcast history! Listen and learn! Episode 426
Civil War historian, Kevin Levin, explains the history and development of the myth of black soldiers in the Confederate army. He analyses camp servants and slaves during the war, how their service was remembered after the war, and how it became fictionalized and mythologized in the 1970s. Yes, the 1970s, not the 1870s. A fascinating episode on Civil War history and memory!
Ron Stallworth, featured in the Spike Lee film, BlackKkKlansman, was a Colorado police detective who convinced the local Ku Klux Klan to accept him as a member in 1979. Using tremendously creative undercover skills, Stallworth was able to dupe the Colorado Springs KKK to accept him as a member. Stallworth was able to gather vital intelligence about Klan activities in the West, including plans for bombings and other major terrorist activities. Find out how he did it in today’s episode!
Super Buzzkiller Professor Philip Nash joins us to dispel myths about Hitler during World War II. We talk about strategic and operational blunders (especially Operation Barbarossa), harsh occupation policies, declaration of war against the US, and imperial overstretch. We also examine the Holocaust and Holocaust deniers, Hitler’s micromanagement, his declining health, the plots to kill him, and his eventual suicide. Join us in the Buzzkill Bunker!
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There's a great quote and sentiment about sticking with a righteous movement for much-needed change, particularly when it's faced with a big, entrenched and powerful foe. That quote goes like this: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." It's often attributed to Gandhi. That's not very surprising. But we here at the Buzzkill Institute don't call him the Mahatma of Misquotation for nothing, and as we'll see in a couple of minutes, if you were forced to boil down one of Gandhi's very lengthy and sophisticated arguments to a bumper sticker slogan, the "First they ignore you…" saying would fit, more or less. Find out the full story in this episode!
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Ada Lovelace is frequently called “the first computer programmer,” but is her story more complicated than that? In this Woman Crush Wednesday show, we give a brief overview of what she contributed to the history of computing, and argue that she was more important than the “first computer programmer.” Find out how we give her more historical praise by listening now!
We examine the many myths surrounding Adolf Hitler’s rise from Chancellor to the outbreak of World War II. These include: how Nazi Germany functioned; the myth of purely tyrannical dictatorship; and the myth of an efficient, orderly dictatorship. We also explore Hitler’s genuine popularity, and explain the successes of Hitler’s diplomacy and expansionism. It’s very deep and complicated, Buzzkillers!
Yes, you read that correctly, Buzzkillers! Trading cards sets like "Fight the Red Menace" were popular in the west, and were regularly purchased by young people (especially boys) during the Cold War. Historian Harriette Kevill-Davies explains the roles these cards played in American and Allied culture during those extremely tense times! Episode 425.
Professor Mar Hicks tells us the story of Stephanie Shirley, one of Britain's computer programming pioneers. Imagine starting your own company with just £6 (roughly $12) and building it into one of the most powerful programming companies in Europe. That was Stephanie Shirley did, starting in 1961. Later in life, she went on to become one of Britain's leading philanthropists and has donated most of her life to helping good causes, especially those close to her heart. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 for her work in information technology and for her extensive charity work. Listen and admire, Buzzkillers!
Dr. Sara Georgini enlightens us about the sophisticated religious beliefs and practices of John and Abigail Adams and their descendants. She also inspires us with stories about how her work as an archivist, historian, interpreter, and writer can help us understand important developments across the generations! Episode 424.
It’s Tuesday, and this is a combined Man Crush Monday and Woman Crush Wednesday! Today we’re going to look at a couple, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. They were a driving creative force behind perhaps the biggest popular music revolution in American history in the 1950s. Often called the first professional songwriters in Nashville, the Bryants wrote songs for The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, and nearly every aspiring singing act of the 1950s.