I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 1-8 November 2021

Australia vs. the Climate. (The Guardian) Episode 2:Copenhagen takes us back to the election of Kevin Rudd in 2007. How excited I was! How disappointed I ended up being! This episode gives us a behind-the-scenes view of the maneuvering around the very disappointing Copenhagen COP. Kevin Rudd has much to say (in his typical Ruddesque way, highlighting his own importance) but other speak too, like Penny Wong, the Australian bureaucrat who attended, and the representative from Tuvalu. All crammed into a tiny room, not enough tickets, backroom meetings…and this is how our future is decided. Meanwhile, we have Abbott taking leadership of the Liberal Party, and the whole thing turned to custard.

By T8612 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

History of Rome Podcast Episode 70 Galba and Otho sees the Generals competing against each other for power in what was known as the Year of Four Emperors. Galba was the governor of Spain, and a very harsh general who, unlike other generals, did not believe in bribing his troops. His off-sider promised the troops that they would receive a bonus, but Galba withheld it, both on principle and also because he was miserly. He was already an old man when he was made Emperor, and Otho, the governor of Lusitania, assumed that he would be chosen as his successor. But when Galba chose Piso instead, Otho led an uprising. Galba and Piso were both beheaded, and their heads put on pikes and kicked around. Episode 71 Otho and Vitellius sees Otho having to face the ongoing unrest up on the Rhine, led by Vitellius. Vitellius was thinking of overthrowing Galba, but when he heard that Otho had already done so, he decided to turn against Otho instead. Eventually the two Roman armies faced each other. After suffering a defeat at Bedriacum in April, Otho committed suicide having served as Emperor for just three months. Episode 72 Vitellius and Vespasian. Meanwhile, Vespasian had been in Judea, where he took very seriously the prophesy that the King of the World would come from Judea (of course, Christians came to interpret this differently.) So he just bided his time, and more and more troops came over to his side, leaving the unpopular Vitellius too weak to fight him. Vitellius tried to resign, but his forces wouldn’t allow him. The battle for Rome ensued, and Vespasian’s troops triumphed. Vitellius was executed soon after. Episode 73 The Only Man who Improved looks at Vespasian, who was in effect the last man standing. He ended up being a better emperor than people thought. He was a good propagandist, emphasizing that he had brought Peace and Victory after years of civil war, and had a self-deprecating nature (quite different to those neurotic Julian-Claudians). He was happy to circulate the prophesy about the King of the World from Judea, and rumours that he could heal people. He certainly healed the treasury by overhauling the taxes, even taxing the urine that was used in manufacturing processes, until he was advised that it was a bad look to tax toilets. He demolished the incomplete Golden Palace that Nero had commenced and built the Colosseum on the site. He reorganized the upper class ranks, getting rid of the corrupt, whether they were his supporters or not. His son Titus put down the Judean Revolt, leading to the burning of the temple against Titus’ orders and the mass suicide pact at the Siege of Masada. Vespasian actually died of natural causes, which was unusual after the suicides and poisonings of his predecessors as emperor.

Rear Vision (ABC) Did you know that the first ebook was created 50 years ago? EBooks: Winners and Losers looks at the changes that ebooks have brought to the publishing industry, with implications for booksellers and authors alike. I’m trying to stop cluttering my house with books, so I tend to borrow my paper-based books from libraries, knowing that at least the author will get a Lending Rights payment. However, I do buy ebooks when they are on special, or if no libraries hold the book I want to read.

History Workshop Podcast. I remember reading Sheila Rowbotham’s Hidden from History (1973) when I did a Women’s History subject at La Trobe back in 1975. This History Workshop interview with her in Daring to Hope: Sheila Rowbotham and 1970s Womens Liberation is almost an “in the family” interview, as Rowbotham was herself one of the founders of History Workshop. Rowbotham has recently released the second volume of her autobiography, where she talks about feminist activism and the 1970s. It seems to me that leftist historians have written more about the 1960s and 1970s and been embraced as part of the leftist historiographical movement than historians of the right (I’m thinking here of E.P. Thompson, and Eric Hobsbawm) and Australian feminists now writing the history of Australian feminism. Although probably I wouldn’t even be aware of memoirs and retrospectives by historians from the right.

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