I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 17-24 June

Heather Cox Richardson continues on with her Facebook chats, although now they are on her You Tube Channel as well. On her History Channel, she is now talking about the History of the Republican Party, which she knows well because she wrote To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party in 2014, after a number of earlier books dealing with the Republican Party. In Part I she focuses on Abraham Lincoln. What a fascinating life! I guess that Americans just grow up with all this, but I knew nothing about his early life.

In her History and Politics Chat on June 16th dealt (at rather excessive length, I thought) on the history of taxation and whether Republicans or Democrats are responsible for increasing taxes. She points out that during Eisenhower (Republican), top bracket taxation was 95%! She then went on with a really interesting response to why all those Confederate statues were erected between the 1890s-1920s (an expression of white supremacy, she argues) and how to view any statue. She finishes off with the question of voter suppression and whether anything can be done to stop if (yes, she says, if Americans have the will to do so).

Talking Politics: History of Ideas is a program produced in conjunction with the London Review of Books, so it’s rather earnest and demanding. David Runciman (who I discovered on Start the Week last week) starts off the series with Thomas Hobbes 1651 book Leviathan, the book that Runciman feels began the modern state, written in the midst of the English Civil War. I’d heard of his description of life being ‘nasty, brutish and short’, but I didn’t realize that he was talking about life before men agreed to have one person (the sovereign, the government) to have complete authority so that they wouldn’t fight amongst themselves. Demanding, but interesting.

Nothing on TV. This is such a fun series. Robyn Annear (of Bearbrass fame) has used the quirky stories that can be found in the National Library of Australia’s TROVE newspaper collection as the basis for this fantastic podcast. It’s very fitting that she starts and finishes her podcast with the ‘pop’ of a wine cork, because Episode 4 Champagne and Anarchy is about the first Governor General of Australia, Lord Hopetoun and his curious friendship with anarchist ‘Chummy’ Fleming. Bound back ‘home’ for London, Lord Hopetoun decided to provide 100 pounds and 300 bottles of champagne for the unemployed of Melbourne to celebrate the crowning of Edward VII in June 1902. He handed the arrangements over to Chummy Fleming, who distributed the largesse over two days from his small bootmaker’s shop in Argyle Place Carlton. Really good- listen to it!

History Workshop. This episode Populism, the Left and progressive resistance dates from May 28, 2019 and I thought that it might have been overtaken by events and no longer worth listening to. Not true – D.D. Guttenplan is a journalist and historian, and in this podcast, he talks about the long, often subterranean thread of progressive politics. In this podcast, he mentions the presence at demonstrations of many grey-headed people who are there for every protest (something I have noticed too, as one of the grey-headed people. I was so pleased to see young people at the Black Lives Matter protests when we grey-heads were too frightened of COVID to attend). He talks about populism as a feeling of loss, and something that can be harnessed by the left as well as the right, and something can be beneficial as well as dangerous.



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