Heather Cox Richardson has her own YouTube channel now. She’s continuing with the Facebook chats (and in her History and Politics chat she explains why) and then posting them onto You Tube. Her History and Politics Chat of 26 May 2020 looks at the influence of the ‘Spanish’ flu on the November 1918 election (she doesn’t think it had that much influence); the question of whether Ford was right to pardon Nixon (she says no because it was a precedent for presidents being above the law- although she does note that Ford also pardoned ‘draft-dodgers’ who had fled to Canada, so it was supposed to be a ‘pardons for everyone’ gesture; and she finished off talking about propaganda.
The History and Politics Chat of 9 June 2020answered three questions 1. What happened to the Baby Boomers? Why didn’t they have more effect on society? (Her answer: after Goldwater’s defeat, the Movement Conservatives moved into more bread-and-butter local elected positions – school boards, text book boards etc- and exerted their influence on day-to-day life). 2. The creation of Washington D.C. (not very interesting for an Australian listener) 3. Why does Mitch McConnell have so much power in the Senate? (Because the Senate Republicans keep supporting him). And she finished off describing what a ‘doglicker’ was.
Her History Chat of 28 May is a break between her most recent book How the South Won the Civil War and her previous book about the history of the Republican Party. In this episode she looks at a letter purported to have been written by Jourdan Anderson to his former slave owner Col. P. H. Anderson on August 7, 1865. This was after Lincoln had been assassinated but before Congress reconvened. She reads the letter, then deconstructs it as a historian does. It’s a good example of historic method.
The Documentary (BBC) has been running its Lockdown series, but this is the last one. This seems strange given that the trajectory of the pandemic is still unknown. With the Lockdown series, they invite ordinary people to upload a recording via their phones, talking about how the lockdown has affected their day-to-day life. This episode Lockdown Tales from Panama and Brazil actually has input from more countries than these two, including Rwanda, Australia and America. In the American one, the caller is going to resist any further restrictions as an infringement on his constitutional rights. I wanted to kick him.
Another episode In my present isolation takes a very old-fashioned approach of asking six writers on different continents to physically write a chain letter, adding their own perspectives to what has been written previously. As you might expect, it’s beautifully expressed and it makes you regret even more that the art of letter writing has been replaced by emails and Twitter.
Start the Week (BBC) had an interesting discussion on a program called Our Coercive Politics, featuring David Runciman, presenter of a 12 part podcast series Talking Politics: History of Ideas and Ute Frevert, the author of The Politics of Humiliation: A Modern History (which sounds really interesting). The discussion ranges across the power of the state during the covid pandemic; Hobbes, Gandhi and Fanon; the power of humiliation; and George Floyd.
Outlook (BBC World) If you’re a millionaire who has climbed the highest peak on all the continents, done Antarctica etc. etc. what’s left to do? Go in a one-man submersible to the deepest part of the five oceans. That’s why Victor did in Voyage to the bitter deep. And what did they find there? The Titanic, and plastic.
Saturday Extra with Geraldine Doogue usually has some good segments. This old one How do we view James Cook 250 years later features historians John Gascoigne (writer of many works about navigation and the Enlightenment), Mark McKenna (recent Quarterly Essay: Moment of Truth: History and Australia’s Future) and Alison Page, artist, creative, Councillor at the National Maritime Museum and Chair of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence. They mentioned a book very much championed by the right (i.e. foreword by John Howard; praised by Keith Windschuttle; featured at the Sydney Institute) called Lying for the Admiralty by Margaret Cameron-Ash. In it, she argues that Cook didn’t miss Sydney Cove at all, but instead was following secret Admiralty orders to keep quiet about important discoveries for fear that the French would settle there instead. I haven’t heard of this book, or any academic response to it.
Rear Vision Here I was, thinking that it was a new program-1929 Revisited– but instead it was first broadcast on 27 April 2008, after the GFC. Still, listening to the gyrations of the stock market on the news each night, inexplicably rising in the midst of Covid-19, it’s sobering to see that in the months leading up to October-November 1929, the share market was bobbing around then too.