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Professor Buzzkill History Podcast

Professor Buzzkill is an exciting blog & podcast that explores history myths in an illuminating, entertaining, and humorous way.
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Professor Buzzkill History Podcast
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Now displaying: Category: general
May 6, 2022

Major social and political forces led to the establishment of Mother's Day as a major and official holiday. This episode explains those forces, and also tells us who founded Mother's Day. Was it Julia Ward Howe with her famous "Appeal to Womanhood" Peace Proclamation in 1870? Or did Anna Marie Jarvis start it, honoring her own mother in 1908? And what does war and campaigns for international disarmament have to do with the history of Mother's Day? 

May 5, 2022

In “They Called Us Girls: Stories of Female Ambition from Suffrage to Mad Men,” Kathleen Stone meets seven of these unconventional women. In insightful, personalized portraits that span a half-century, Kathleen weaves stories of female ambition, uncovering the families, teachers, mentors, and historical events that led to unexpected paths. What inspired these women, and what can they teach women and girls today? Episode 450!

May 2, 2022

The 1937 Hindenburg disaster was one of the most dramatic in the 20th century. But what if the dramatic report we're used to hearing was partly the result of a mechanical error in the recording equipment? What if the emotion that comes through in the "oh the humanity" quote was inadvertently enhanced through this error? Would the disaster "sound" different to us if we heard the genuine report? Listen to this Monday Myth for Extra Credit!

Apr 25, 2022

Thomas Edison invented almost nothing he’s given credit for -- at least not by himself. But he was undoubtedly one of the most important people of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Good old Professor Buzzkill turns on the light and puts the buzz back into hero worship. Grab your phonograph and listen to this Monday Myth for Extra Credit. Episode 449.

Apr 18, 2022
Here's your short Monday Extra Credit Myth for the week! It’s a great “Gone with the Wind” romantic-type story. The defeated, but honorable, General Robert E. Lee offered his sword to the victor, U.S. Grant, during the Confederacy’s surrender at Appomattox Court House. Grant, just as honorably, refused to take it. But did it happen? Find out! Episode 448.
Apr 11, 2022

This quote has been attributed to Rudyard Kipling, George Orwell, John Le Carré, Winston Churchill, and many others. We determine the origin. But how the quote became accepted wisdom is also important historically and culturally. Listen as the Professor waxes about its significance! And remember to stay vigilant! Episode 447

Apr 4, 2022

"We must all hang together, or we will all hang separately" is a famous quote. But did it originate with Ben Franklin, one of the founders of the United States? And does the Franklin attribution tell us something about history and popular memory? The Professor explains! Episode 446.

Mar 28, 2022
Just in time for baseball season! Was Ty Cobb, the Georgia Peach, rotten to the core? He is often referred to as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. But was his professional greatness mirrored by personal reprehensibility? Play ball, Buzzkillers, and don’t forget to sharpen your spikes! Episode 445
Mar 21, 2022
The Professor uncovers the many myths and misunderstandings of the history of the famous 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial," which pitted science against fundamentalist Christianity. The trial was about much more than that, and, at the same time, about much less (including cheap promotion and commercialism). Listen and become enlightened! Episode 444.
Mar 16, 2022
Ever wonder how the shamrock, the Celtic Cross, and the Claddagh Ring became symbols of Irish culture? And which Irish people deserve more historical attention and shouldn't remain "Hidden Hibernians"? Professor Edward O'Donnell explains all in this St. Patrick's Day episode!
Mar 15, 2022
The Professor seems to want to make enemies in this episode. He shows that many things central to Irish culture and identity are actually British in origin -- St. Patrick, “the craic,” and “Danny Boy” come under his withering analytical gaze. But he may surprise you with the ultimate conclusions he reaches. Maybe he’s not that much of a buzzkill after all.
Mar 14, 2022
The Irish slaves myth claims that Irish people were enslaved by the British and sent to the Americas (especially the Caribbean) to work on plantations. The history of Irish slaves has been buried by our politically-correct world, so the myth goes, and has been replaced by an over-emphasis on the enslavement of Africans in the New World. But is there any truth to it, Buzzkillers? Listen and learn.
Mar 10, 2022
The story that the family who owns the Bonne Maman jam company sheltered Jews during the Holocaust has become an internet sensation. Is it true? We examine it in great detail. More importantly, we talk about questions of inherited virtue, inherited sin, and the desperate need for more historical research at all levels! Lots of shouts outs to important and worthy people too! Episode 443
Mar 7, 2022
Lots of people are credited with coining the great phrase, “well-behaved women rarely make history.” These include Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Steinem, Eleanor Roosevelt, Anne Boleyn, and many more. Given time, any powerful woman with self-respect, backbone and verve will get credit for this phrase and sentiment. Listen and learn who said it first.
Feb 21, 2022

A Presidents' Day Special Monday Myth to start the week! The story that John Hanson, not George Washington, was the real first president of the United States, has been squirreling around the internet for years. Should we think about changing the currency? Should we re-write our kids’ school books? Before you go overboard, Buzzkillers, listen to this Episode 442!

Feb 13, 2022

General Ty Seidule tells us about Major Samuel Tucker, civil rights champion and American hero. Listen to his amazing story and why we should look around us to find the history of the heroes in our own communities. Episode 441. 

Feb 10, 2022

Feb 9th is National Pizza Day in the USA! This is a good time to learn about the "pizza effect." It helps explain why assumptions about the history and development of certain cultural practices and traditions help build hardy historical myths. Learn about the "pizza renaissance" in Italy, the "Hindu renaissance across India, the "Cornish pasty renaissance" in south-west England, and the "Clancy Brothers" or "traditional music renaissance" in Ireland! Listen while enjoying your favorite pizza pie!

Feb 7, 2022

Hitler storming out of the stadium after Jesse Owens won the 100-meter dash in the 1936 Berlin Olympics is one of the most enduring images we have of the tumultuous history of Nazi Germany. Hitler famously “snubbed” Jesse Owens and all African-American athletes because of his ideas of Aryan racial superiority. But did it actually happen? And did it happen the way we usually think? Find out, Buzzkillers!

Feb 7, 2022

Hitler storming out of the stadium after Jesse Owens won the 100-meter dash in the 1936 Berlin Olympics is one of the most enduring images we have of the tumultuous history of Nazi Germany. Hitler famously “snubbed” Jesse Owens and all African-American athletes because of his ideas of Aryan racial superiority. But did it actually happen? And did it happen the way we usually think? Find out, Buzzkillers!

Feb 3, 2022

Dr. Emily Twarog enlightens us about the "9to5 Job Survival Hotline," an early effort to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. We bust the myth that women were passive in their reactions to workplace abuse, and show how sophisticated organizations, like 9to5, had a huge impact on American culture. Episode 440.

Jan 24, 2022
Did your great granny tell you that your family name was Americanized at Ellis Island? Well, either she was mainlining the after-dinner sherry, or she had bought into an old historical myth. Join Professor Buzzkill as he walks Vito Corleone and other immigrants through the halls of the Ellis Island processing center and find out whether their ethnicity gets mangled! Episode 437.
Jan 20, 2022

Historian Timothy Galsworthy explains the details and complications of the famous Republican "Southern Strategy" in the election of 1960. He tells us how this strategy was developed much earlier than most people realize, and how Nixon had to use a tense balancing act to woo southern voters who traditionally hated the Republican party. Episode 436.

Jan 17, 2022

One of the absolute best stories flying around the web is the one where a young Scottish farmer boy saved a young English aristocrat from drowning. The aristocrat's grateful father paid for the farmer boy's education. That young farmer boy grew up to become a doctor and to discover penicillin. In later life, he received an emergency call to save a prominent politician's life. The farmer boy's name was Alexander Fleming. The life he saved twice? That of Winston Churchill. But listen to the real story! Episode 435.

Jan 13, 2022

Dr. Einav Rabinovitch-Fox tells us how the rise of mass media culture made fashion a vehicle for women to assert claims over their bodies, femininity, and social roles. As women employed new clothing styles, they expanded feminist activism beyond formal organizations and movements and reclaimed fashion as a realm of pleasure, power, and feminist consciousness. Episode 434.

Jan 13, 2022

Dr. Einav Rabinovitch-Fox tells us how the rise of mass media culture made fashion a vehicle for women to assert claims over their bodies, femininity, and social roles. As women employed new clothing styles, they expanded feminist activism beyond formal organizations and movements and reclaimed fashion as a realm of pleasure, power, and feminist consciousness. Episode 434.

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