Culture

Culture

Cosmic Aeroplane

I have fond memories of the Cosmic Aeroplane in Salt Lake City. Many times, I lived only a block or two away, and years at a time I was there almost every Saturday. “Salt Lake’s Cosmic Aeroplane (1967-1991) was a major nexus of cultural changes that were rippling through the youth culture in America in…

Culture

Copyright Problems: A Dysfunctional System

We watched Sita Sings the Blues the other day. Haven’t seen it? Picture this. A cartoon that tells the story of the Hindu goddess Sita set to 1920s Blues music. Cool stuff. And it turns out to be a famous instance of copyright problems. Everyone knows copyright can be a pain in the butt but…

Culture

City States in America

The Ancient World had city states. Sometimes they became empires. And then when the empires collapsed they sometimes became nations. (Although–the modern ethnic nation state is more or less a late European invention.) When I was a kid, I used to imagine, particularly on car trips, that the cities around me were like ancient city…

Culture

Myth of the frontier

I keep watch for pieces about the mythology of the American West. Westerns and cowboys are the American myth, hands down. My neo-pagan friends find meaning in Norse culture, in Celtic culture, in every romanticized period of history except America. I’m not going to embed this one because it’s so long: How Historians Killed the…

Culture

Waco

We watched Waco last Sunday night. It was, for me, unimaginably powerful. Here’s a trailer from YouTube. In 1993 the ATF got a search warrant for the Branch Davidian headquarters in Waco, Texas, and an arrest warrant for David Koresh, the religious leader of the group, on weapons charges. Instead of serving the warrants, the…

Culture

Heritage of Hate

I hadn’t planned to write about Southern identity any time in the immediate future. I decided to do it because of this excellent video by The Cynical Historian. He does interesting work and this one is particularly good. The video is particularly timely right at the moment, when America is governed seemingly by un-reconstructed Confederates…

Culture

Daughter of Time

As a Riccardian, Josephine Tey’s novel Daughter of Time is an old favorite. Re-reading last night. I didn’t expect it to provide an example of how researchers go wrong. The story goes like this. Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard is convalescing after an injury. A friend triggers his interest in Richard III and the…

Culture

Victorian Soft Porn

History doesn’t change but our interpretation of it does. It’s all the same events and and the same material culture (as far we can discover it), but when we look back on it we often see different things than our ancestors did. I’ve been looking for a good example to add to my “toolkit” of…