In this week's episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki debate secrecy and presidential health, New York City's universal pre-kindergarten, and the legacy of Star Trek.

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

 

 

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

 

 

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AuthorNicole Hemmer

In this week's episode, Neil, Niki, and Natalia debate the canonization of Mother Teresa, the rise of the alt-right, and the menace of taco trucks.

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

 

  • The alt-right has made its presence known in the 2016 presidential race. Niki outlined the rise of the alt-right, something she has written about for U.S. News & World Report. Natalia discussed how the alt-right fit in the larger world of conservatism, citing the influence of George Nash in her thinking. Niki discussed the alt-right’s intellectual self-identity as smarter than the “old-school racist skinheads,” as Milo Yiannopolous wrote in Breitbart News in 2016.

 

  • The founder of Latinos for Trump warned there would soon be “taco trucks on every corner” if Donald Trump didn’t win the presidency. Natalia and Neil discussed whether this served as an effective political threat. Natalia shared how scholars of immigration have identified the lowest tolerance for immigrants as something called “contributionism,” where immigrants are appreciated only for what they contribute to American society. Niki placed the taco truck in a long history of food trucks, including chuck wagons and pushcarts. Natalia remembered the alarm when salsa recently outsold ketchup as America’s favorite condiment.

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

  • Natalia commented on the value of taking Phyllis Schlafly seriously.

 

 

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AuthorNicole Hemmer

In this week's episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki debate Colin Kaepernick's protest against the national anthem, France's burkini ban, and Walmart's high crime rate.

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

 

 

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

 

 

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AuthorNicole Hemmer

In this week's episode, Niki, Neil, and Natalia debate flood relief in Louisiana, the disappearance of Christian intellectuals, and teaching Trump in the classroom.

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

 

  • What became of the Christian intellectuals? This is the question of a provocative new essay in Harper’s from Alan Jacobs, a professor at Baylor University. Neil commented that Jacobs’ essay focused on the lack of prominent Christian public intellectuals, but wondered if any public intellectuals remained in our current moment. Niki observed that Jacobs’ references to Reinhold Niebuhr as a model Christian intellectual of an earlier age made sense as Niebuhr’s works, such as The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness, had highlighted the moral struggle of global events, like the Cold War. Natalia compared Jacobs’ thesis of Christian intellectuals’ retreat from public life with the argument of Christian marginalization made by other evangelical scholars such as Owen Strachan.

 

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

 

 

 

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AuthorNicole Hemmer

On this week's episode, Niki, Neil, and Natalia debate recent court decisions on voting rights, sexism in Olympics commentary, and corporate influence in think tanks.

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

 

 

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

 

 

 

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AuthorNicole Hemmer

On this week's episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil debate the Khans and the politics of grief, Roger Ailes and sexual harassment at Fox News, and the history of juicing.

 

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

 

 

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

 

 

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AuthorNicole Hemmer

On this week's episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki debate the changing role of the vice presidency, the history of beach-going, and the Russian doping scandal overshadowing the Rio Olympics.

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

 

  • It’s the summer and everyone is headed to the beach. But for most of history, people stayed away from the seashore. Neil explained European elites began going to the beach in the eighteenth century during the industrial revolution in order to get “fresh air” and an invigorating plunge in the waters. Natalia recommended Andrew Kahrl’s history of African-American beaches, The Land Was Ours, for understanding the history of racial segregation at the beach, and Jeff Wiltse’s book, Contested Waters, that examines the politics of the swimming pool. Natalia also pointed to Stephen Carter’s novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park, for a depiction of how elite African-Americans found escape in the resort community on Martha’s Vineyard, Oaks Bluff. Neil noted gay and lesbian Americans had also escaped to their own beach communities like Provincetown and Fire Island.

 

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

 

 

  • Niki talked about the history of optimism and politics. 
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AuthorNicole Hemmer

On this week's episode, Neil, Natalia, and Niki debate the history of Pokemon Go, the near-coup in Turkey, and the unintended consequences of political reform.

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

 

 

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AuthorNicole Hemmer

In this week's episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil debate the police shooting in Dallas, the role of conventions in presidential politics, and the rise of anti-vaccine activism. 

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

 

 

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

 

 

 

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AuthorNicole Hemmer

In this week's episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil debate Elie Wiesel's impact on Americans' memory of the Holocaust, the place of Clinton's email controversy in presidential scandals, and the legacy of Guns N Roses.

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

 

 

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

 

 

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AuthorNicole Hemmer

On this week's episode, Neil, Natalia, and Niki debate the legacy of basketball coach Pat Summitt, the place of Women's Whole Health v. Hellerstedt in America's abortion debate, and the House Democrats' sit-in over gun control.

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

 

 

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

 

 

 

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AuthorNicole Hemmer

On this week’s episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki discuss Brexit, Adult Camps, and Trump’s faltering campaign.

 

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

 

 

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

 

 

 

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AuthorNicole Hemmer

On this week's episode, Neil, Natalia, and Niki discuss the Orlando shooting, focusing on the history of the city, the attack's place in the many histories of violence, and the role of presidential empathy in responding to national crises. 

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

 

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

 

 

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AuthorNicole Hemmer

On this week's episode, Niki, Neil, and Natalia debate the legacy of Muhammad Ali, the aftermath of the Brock Turner trial, and America's first woman nominated to the presidency by a major party.

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

 

  • The sentencing of Brock Turner, the Stanford swimmer convicted of raping a woman, the just six months in jail has provoked tremendous outrage. Neil argued the case had generated so much response because of the powerful letter the victim read in the courtroom to her attacker and the entitled and appalling letter Brock’s father sent to the judge. Natalia commented on Stanford’s influence in the culture and politics of the Bay Area as relevant to the case, but also noted the school’s public statement on the crime. Niki argued the history of victim impact statements raised important questions about how we think about the law, emotions, and fairness in these cases. Neil observed the Supreme Court had taken conflicting views on victim impact statements, banning them in 1987 and then overturning that ruling in 1991. Niki saw the rise of victim impact statements as a response to the legal decisions of the 1960s that extended greater rights to the accused, including Gideon v. Wainright (1963) which required states to provide counsel in criminal cases to defendants who cannot pay for an attorney and Miranda v. Arizona (1966) which established Miranda rights. Natalia thought it was important to understand the Stanford case in the context of sexual violence cases, and recommended Estelle Freedman’s book Redefining Rape. Natalia also shared Freedman’s recent op-ed in the New York Times that showed how feminists used expanding legal rights for women to challenge judges who gave lenient sentencing in rape cases, a relevant historical context for understanding the movement to recall Aaron Persky, the judge in Brock Turner’s case.

 

  • Hillary Clinton made history last week when she became the first woman to capture the presidential nomination of a major political party. Niki situated Clinton’s political career within a long history of American women and politics, starting with Abigail Adams’s 1776 letter that instructed her husband to “remember the ladies” as he worked to establish the new nation. Natalia cited Rebecca Traister’s recent New York magazine profile of Clinton which recounted a lifetime of overcoming gender barriers. Neil found Clinton’s victory speech remarkable for how much it focused on the history-making nature of her candidacy, something the campaign has generally downplayed in 2016.

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

 

 

 

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AuthorNicole Hemmer

On this week’s Past Present podcast, Niki, Neil, and Natalia discuss Harambe, Ken Starr at Baylor, and Peter Thiel’s attack on Gawker.

 

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

 

 

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AuthorNicole Hemmer

On this week’s Past Present podcast, Natalia, Neil, and Niki discuss presidential candidates and income taxes, Obama in Japan, and the history of high heels.

 

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

  • Donald Trump has refused to release his tax returns, but why do Americans care about seeing them? Neil argued that in a post-Watergate landscape, Americans want transparency from the presidential candidates and income tax returns provide one demonstration of this. Niki agreed but noted that Watergate had made Americans forget that Richard Nixon was already ensnared in a controversy over the IRS auditing him in 1973 for how little federal taxes he’d been paying. Natalia remarked that Nixon had called for transparency from politicians regarding finances in his 1952 Checkers speech. Niki commented that tax returns sometimes demonstrated that politicians had given little charitable donations, something that Neil remembered tripped Ted Cruz up when it was revealed he tithed less than one percent of his income.
  • President Obama became the first sitting president to visit Hiroshima since its bombing seventy-one years ago. Natalia argued that American attitudes towards Japan were marked by a juxtaposition of racism and respect as seen in the 1907 Gentleman’s Agreement and in President Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb. Neil mentioned that anti-Japanese propaganda, including cartoons drawn by Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), built American support for dropping the atomic bomb by dehumanizing the Japanese people. Natalia shared the 1945 Frank Sinatra film The House I Live In which used the idea of the Japanese as enemies to unite Protestants, Catholics, and Jews in an American identity. Niki remarked that the question to bomb Hiroshima remained an unsettled one for Americans as reflected in the 1994 controversy over the Smithsonian’s plans for an Enola Gay exhibit. Natalia recommended the popular children’s book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes which taught a generation of American children about the horrors of Hiroshima.
  • Megan Garber’s recent Atlantic essay considered the high heel in long-form. Neil noted that high heels originated as a shoe for men, worn first by Persian equestrians and then taken up by the European aristocracy. 1940s pinup models brought high heels back after a brief absence, Niki observed, which were then mainstream by 1950s housewives. Natalia cited Kathy Peiss’s book, Hope in a Jar, showed a similar history of changing ideas about makeup in this period. Yet Natalia noted in the 1960s, some feminists saw high heels as a tool of oppression, such as the protestors at the 1968 Miss America pageant. But others, like Helen Gurley Brown in her book Sex and the Single Girl, championed high heels as a celebration of an empowered femininity. Natalia also mentioned Peggy Orenstein’s recent book, Girls & Sex, that found college girls feel confident when they wear items like high heels, but the confidence comes from feeling sexually validated.

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

 

Posted
AuthorNicole Hemmer

On this week’s Past Present podcast, Niki, Natalia, and Neil discuss the history of America’s death penalty, political correctness, and Hillary Clinton’s “enthusiasm gap.”

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

  • The last U.S. pharmaceutical company has stopped selling drugs used for lethal injections. American attitudes about the death penalty have shifted dramatically over time, Niki noted, including a significant drop in public support after World War II because of European allies banning the practice. Natalia mentioned Mary Dudziak’s book Cold War Civil Rights which showed how the international community looked at the death penalty as another example of America’s racial problems during the Cold War. Natalia also argued that events like the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings led to President Clinton signing the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act which cut back on regulations on executions. Neil cited the rise of DNA science and the funding of “innocence projects” for changing American attitudes about the death penalty.
  • What’s wrong with political correctness? Both the right and left are taking on America’s P.C. culture. Jonathan Haidt warned in the Atlantic last year about the “Coddling of the American Mind,” and Jonathan Chait recently wrote for New York Magazine about “Not a Very P.C. Thing to Say.” Natalia traced the origins of political correctness to the debates within the American communist movement in the 1930s. Neil noted the positive meaning of political correctness in the 1950s and 1960s when politicians used it to speak about their own correct policies. That changed in the 1970s and 1980s, Niki argued, when politics were no longer seen favorably and in the 1990s when the Dartmouth Review and Dinesh D’Souza’s Illiberal Education (1991) began to push back at P.C. campus culture.
  • The Harvard student Sam Koppelman recently wrote about the challenge of supporting Hillary Clinton on a liberal campus. Throughout this election, Clinton has suffered from what has been called an “enthusiasm gap.” Natalia argued Clinton struggled from being seen as a status quo candidate, while Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump benefitted from being viewed as critics of the system. But Niki remembered when Clinton was recently “cool,” such as in the popularity of Clinton memes like “Texts from Hillary.” Niki also discussed the Bradley effect, a theory concerning the discrepancy between voter opinion polls and election outcomes, as a possible component of the 2016 race.

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

Posted
AuthorNicole Hemmer

On this week’s Past Present podcast, Nicole Hemmer, Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, and Neil Young discuss the changing racial demographics of American evangelicalism, the decline of running, and digital imperialism.

 

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

  • Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention recently wrote in the New York Times that the white evangelical church of old is no more. Neil noted the significance of Moore’s piece, considering the SBC originated from a split among Baptists over slavery in 1845. Natalia compared white American evangelicals’ increasingly close relationships with conservative Christians in Africa, South America, and Asia to the global network of religious people of color who have united to block sex education that Jonathan Zimmerman writes about in his book, Too Hot to Handle. Neil argued Moore’s comments had to be seen in light of his efforts against Donald Trump, but also betrayed a refusal to acknowledge evangelical support for Trump, such as seen in his recent article for Christianity Today.
  • Millennials are killing running! Instead of running, Natalia explained, millennials prefer group-based fitness classes with built-in socializing elements. Niki noted that trend served as the antithesis to Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone argument about social fragmentation. Although running as an exercise has a short history in the United States, Natalia explained John F. Kennedy’s 1960 Sports Illustrated article, “The Soft American,” that worried about Americans’ poor health and lack of vigor had helped spur the running craze. Many of those runners turned to Bill Bowerman’s 1967 classic, Jogging, the first book about the sport. As Natalia has written for Well + Good, women faced a bumpy road in taking up the sport.
  • The Indian government has rejected Facebook’s bid to provide its Free Basics internet program in the country. Neil situated that rejection in a longer history of colonial resistance to imperial rule. Those rulers, Natalia observed, had articulated their imperial project in a language of uplift and civilization, something she saw in the technology entrepreneur Marc Andreessen’s controversial tweets responding to India’s decision.

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

 

Posted
AuthorNicole Hemmer

On this week’s Past Present podcast, Nicole Hemmer, Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, and Neil Young discuss Dennis Hastert, Phyllis Schlafly, and Malia Obama taking a gap year before entering Harvard. 

 

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

 

 

 

Posted
AuthorNicole Hemmer