I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 9-16 March 2021

Rear Vision (ABC) Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first 100 days have been referenced several times by Joe Biden. Unlike Biden, Roosevelt had sizeable majorities in both houses, and although he didn’t get everything he wanted, there was more willingness to cross party lines to pass legislation. His initial bill to stop the run on the banks was passed quickly and set him up for further success, much as a successful vaccination program would do for Biden. Although Roosevelt didn’t really know what he was going to do, he knew that he had to do something and he surrounded himself with experts.

The Last Archive. Yesterday I was sitting at the railway station with my 5 year old granddaughter, and she asked if the lady making the announcements was actually in the railway station. Of course, she wasn’t as she is an automatic recording, scheduled fifteen and then one minute before the train arrived. I thought of the disembodied women when listening to Jill Lepore’s The Invisible Lady episode. It’s a wide-ranging podcast, starting with the gimmicky ‘Invisible Lady’ who was put on display in New York in 1804, moving to Emily Dickenson (“I’m nobody, Who are You?….”), the Warren and Bradeis Right to Privacy doctrine, H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man book and subsequent movie, and ending up with Siri and Alexa and other disembodied female voices.

History Extra. This episode 1962:London’s Big Freeze was really good, and it has spurred me to buy (yes, buy!) the book. Between Boxing Day 1962 and the first week of March 1963 – three months!!!!– England was plunged into freezing temperatures. The author Juliet Nicolson looks at this period in her book Frostquake. Written prior to this current lockdown, it tells of a different sort of lockdown with any similarities – transport paralysis, public events cancelled, schools closed etc. It also examines other events of the time: the Beatles, Profumo, the Cuban Missile Crisis etc.

Heather Cox Richardson took a week off from her ‘Reconstruction’ series of podcasts because Trump’s second impeachment was being debated, but she returned on February 19 to discuss the way that women, after the war, found themselves sidelined after the 14th Amendment the the Minor v Happersett decision. So they reframed their identities as “mothers of the nation”, and used the education they had gained from the colleges that had opened since the war to present evidence of the working/living conditions of women.

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