Posts Tagged: Recent History

Your Conspiracy Theories Began 700 Years Ago Today

Jacques de Molay was burned at the stake 700 years ago this week. The unfinished cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris—its towers completed just 65 years earlier—stood nearby as de Molay went up in flames. His death sparked conspiracy theories that have traveled through the centuries, across oceans and Ivy League campuses, and onto our flat-screen TVs.

As the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, de Molay was considered a heretic by both the French Monarchy and the papacy. King Philip IV of France had him tortured and burned, slowly, on the Île de la Cité, the tiny Parisian Island in the Seine. It was March 18, 1314—give or [...]


Martin Luther King Jr.’s Lessons For Occupy D.C.

As per the Washington standard, at the center of McPherson Square, just four blocks from the White House, is a bronze equestrian statue of a Union general who was killed in the battle for Atlanta. On Thursday and Friday, Occupy D.C. was contained to the quadrant northwest of the statue, with a pop-up city of a couple dozen tents and propped-up tarps on one grassy strip, facing a disorganized but useful-looking canteen and information booth.

The first impression, to be honest, is that Occupy D.C. is small. Quite small, compared to the throngs in New York's Zuccotti Park, Boston’s Dewey Square or Chicago’s Grant Park, [...]


Footnotes of Mad Men: Your Prison, Your School, Your Hospital

The Foucauldian adage goes something like: prisons, hospitals, and schools have the same architecture because they are all centers of confinement. (But is there anything more confining than the suburban nuclear family? Not according to John Cheever or Matthew Weiner!) In Mad Men episode 305, "The Fog," we got a field trip to all three institutions! A sexy school teacher, a surly prison guard and a McMurphy-hating maternity nurse all served as uniformed ambassadors. So how much has changed and how much has stayed the same inside these linoleum-plastered hallways?


Very Recent History: The French Dip

In March 2003 France stated that it would not support a U.N. resolution to invade Iraq. And with that, a nation constipated with 9/11 rage found the perfect place onto which to crap. Heretofore dopey, jocular anti-France sentiment was exchanged for vitriolic, publicly expressed hatred. And yet, six years later, a hamburger demonstrates why the very fervent wrath the right has produced is nothing to worry about.


Maureen Dowd's Tiny Error

Maureen Dowd picks up a funny little correction today, as her weekend column lifted a paragraph from a blog. And we do mean "little"!


The Vexed Posthumous Life of Oscar Wilde

In 1914 Max Beerbohm wrote to Vyvyan Holland, the younger son of Oscar and Constance Wilde, on the occasion of Holland's wedding. Beerbohm sent his regrets for not having been able to attend the wedding, together with a present.

It has the advantage of being easily breakable if you don't like it. The glasses are (you will be relieved to hear) of British manufacture, but I can't tell you just when they were made. I asked the old man in the shop to tell me the date of them. Whereat he stroked his chin and, looking at me over his spectacles, said "Well, Sir, what would you say to [...]


Recent History: The Collapse Of Soviet Communism

The latest installment of Der Spiegel's continuing look back at the fall of the Iron Curtain focuses on Poland and Hungary.


Recent History: Charles Saatchi, Rudy Giuliani and the Brooklyn Museum

Extremely rich ad man and art collector Charles Saatchi is a wonderful blabbermouth, and he is expert at using his blabber for his own ends. So take this story that he told to the Telegraph about how he insulted the masthead of the Times and they got revenge on him and how it is a wonderful piece of self-image-making.


Twenty Year Anniversary Of F.B.I. F'ing Itself

Twenty years ago this month, N.W.A. were doing good. Songs like "Fuck the Police" and "Gangsta Gangsta" had traveled from the inner-city streets of Southern California to backyard barbecues in white suburban towns. While the group was on a nationwide tour, their album Straight Outta Compton sold its millionth copy. They were making it. But it took the promotional touch of the F.B.I. to really blow them up into megastars.


What Does The Bonus Army Tell Us About Occupy Wall Street?

They called themselves the Bonus Expeditionary Force, or the Bonus Army or Bonus Marchers for short, and in 1932 they set-up semi-permanent encampments in Washington D.C. Nearly 80 years later, people are occupying Wall Street, and many, many other places around the country. And as loud as the shouts of deliberate mass media ignorance were a month ago, the Occupy movement is not all over everything, and it’s as difficult to avoid coverage now as it was to find it then. It seems to be a unique construct, a product of now—nonviolent, persistent and inchoate in the sense of there's too much to say (rather than not being able to [...]


Recent History: Romania's Revolution, 20 Years On

Der Spiegel takes a look back at Romania's 1989 revolution and talks to some of the key players responsible for the executions of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. Fascinating stuff.


Old Hack Can Still Hack

There is this write-around David Letterman story as the cover of New York magazine this week, and it's worth reading so as to see a much-absent prose stylist at work: Peter W. Kaplan, once the scrappy television beat reporter for the New York Times. Let us turn the clock back to 1985!


The Fiery Furnaces Want To Rock And Roll All Nite (And Party Every Day)

Brother-and-sister indie-rock duo the Fiery Furnaces have announced they will release two new versions of their new album I'm Going Away-one recorded solo by Matthew Friedberger, one by sister Eleanor. "Only the words will remain the same," says the statement. "Though in Eleanor's case, the singer remains the same. The song, never. Or mostly never." Both come out in September. Could be great! Except we remember when another little-known indie-rock band pulled a similar stunt…..