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Professor Buzzkill History Podcast

Professor Buzzkill is an exciting new blog & podcast that explores history myths in an illuminating, entertaining, and humorous way.
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Professor Buzzkill History Podcast
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Now displaying: Page 3
May 1, 2020

This Fireside Chat was FDR’s attempt to assure Americans that, at least in 1940, the government’s main concern was the defense of the United States. But, in “the name of our common humanity,” he also asked Americans to donate to the Red Cross to try to ease the suffering of European civilians. Roosevelt then went on to justify his calls for greater defense production in the United States, obviously because of the increased danger from the Axis powers, but also because it might eventually become necessary for the United States to enter the European war. 

Apr 28, 2020

Civil War historian, Kevin Levin, explains the history and development of the myth of black soldiers in the Confederate army. He analyses camp servants and slaves during the war, how their service was remembered after the war, and how it became fictionalized and mythologized in the 1970s. Yes, the 1970s, not the 1870s. A fascinating episode on Civil War history and memory!

Apr 24, 2020

Today’s show presents FDR’s 1936 Fireside Chat about drought conditions in the US during the "dust bowl" years of the mid-1930s. On September 6, 1936, President Roosevelt addressed the nation about his visits to drought-stricken areas, about the government’s plans for relief, and what he hoped for the future. 

Apr 21, 2020

We are living in interesting times. But is “may you live in interesting times” actually an old Chinese curse, or is the history of the saying more complicated? We take you from Chinese folk tales in 1627 to 20th century British politicians in this episode of Quote or No Quote, trying to track down who said what when. Listen and learn.

Apr 17, 2020

Today’s FDR Friday is the 1935 Fireside Chat on the Works Relief Program and Social Security Act. In one Fireside Chat in 1935 President Roosevelt laid out the plans for two of the largest and longest-lasting civilian government programs in American history. Listen to honesty and competence!

Apr 14, 2020

Find out why the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was one of the most significant conflicts of the 20th Century, and why it's been overlooked. Professor Phil Nash relates the course of the war and its conclusion. We explain why this is one of the most dreadful episodes in European history.

Apr 13, 2020

FDR's first Fireside Chat was about banking. He gave it on March 12th 1933, after the first steps were taken to try to stabilize the American banking system in the first days after his inauguration. So, here it is, in full. And I’ll leave you to try to imagine what it was like hearing it, 87 years ago.

Apr 9, 2020

Professor Sarah Milov explains the political and medical environments in which the 1964 US Surgeon General’s Report on dangers of smoking appeared in 1964. In addition to the medical and scientific concerns in producing the report, there were significant non-medical concerns and obstacles to overcome. One of the most significant of these was the political ways in which the Report was treated, both inside and outside the government. Listen and learn!

Apr 7, 2020

Find out why the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was one of the most significant conflicts of the 20th Century, and why it's been overlooked. Professor Phil Nash explains the background and the first half of this dreadful episode in European history.

Apr 1, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom! The phrase and sentiment, "A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song," is one of the best-known expressions of the intrinsic nature of art and beauty. It has been quoted by presidents and school teachers, and practically everyone in between. And we all "know" that quote comes from Maya Angelou. The US government even said so. But did Maya Angelou really say it? Join Professor Buzzkill as he sings out the answer!

Mar 31, 2020

Are you wondering what it was like when a President addressed the nation competently at a time of crisis and uncertainty? Professor Phil Nash enlightens us about FDR's “Fireside Chats” from the 1930s and 1940s! Were they really as ground-breaking as we all tend to believe? Did they really help the American people get through the Great Depression and World War II? Was it FDR’s tone and confidence that connected to the people, or was there something more mundane that explains the popularity of the Fireside Chats?

Mar 27, 2020

What a great way to get taxes lowered! Get your land-owning husband to agree to lower property taxes if you ride naked on horseback right down main street. That’s just what Lady Godiva agreed to do in 11th century England in order to get her tight-fisted husband to lighten up on his tenants. But is it true or just another mini-myth? Listen in Buzzkillers!

Mar 25, 2020

Lots of people are credited with coining the great phrase, “well-behaved women rarely make history.” These include Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Steinem, Eleanor Roosevelt, Anne Boleyn, and our own Aunt Ginger from the Buzzkill Institute. Given time, any powerful woman with backbone and verve will get credit for this phrase and sentiment. Listen and learn who said it first.

Mar 24, 2020

Almost all history books, encyclopedia entries, and news items place the exact origin of the women’s rights movement in the USA to the meeting at Seneca Falls, New York in July 1848. But did a movement as big as women’s rights have one specific geographic origin at only one meeting? Professor Lisa Tetrault explains the complexity and the multiple histories of Seneca Falls and the American female suffrage movement.

Mar 19, 2020

The Professor seems to want to make enemies in this episode. He shows that many things central to Irish culture and identity are actually British in origin -- St. Patrick, “the craic,” and “Danny Boy” come under his withering analytical gaze. But he may surprise you with the ultimate conclusions he reaches. Maybe he’s not that much of a buzzkill after all.

Mar 17, 2020

Please stop saying "the Spanish flu" when referring to the 1918 Influenza Pandemic. This encore mini-myth episode shows that the question of origin is complex, but that it certainly didn't start in Spain. Find out why it's called "the Spanish flu."

Mar 17, 2020

Ever wonder how the shamrock, the Celtic Cross, and the Claddagh Ring became symbols of Irish culture? And which Irish people deserve more historical attention and shouldn't remain "Hidden Hibernians"? Professor Edward O'Donnell explains all in this St. Patrick's Day episode!

Mar 16, 2020

What can possibly be wrong with St. Patrick’s Day? Not much, except that there’s very little historical basis behind stories about St. Patrick. And there’s certainly no historical basis for excess drinking, green beer, and the Chicago River turned green. Or is there? The Professor becomes more open-minded right before our very ears!

Mar 15, 2020

The blackout of November 1965 was a big event in the north-east of the United States and in Ontario. But did it result in an increase in babies born nine months later? When deprived of other “entertainments,” did people divert themselves with love? Snuggle up with the Professor, Buzzkillers, and hear the full story.

Mar 11, 2020

The number of different images and different sayings or phrases printed on t-shirts exploded in the early 70s. And one of the most striking was the t-shirt from the women’s rights movement which said, "A Woman Needs a Man Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle," most famously worn by the feminist champion, Gloria Steinem. Did she coin the saying? We explain the history behind that great phrase.

Mar 10, 2020

Do women have a constitutional "right to vote" in America? Didn't the 19th Amendment resolve that issue? Professor Lisa Tetrault enlightens us about this very thorny issue in American history and politics. One of our best episodes ever!

Mar 6, 2020

Professor Marie Hicks joins us to talk about gender and employment in the emerging field of computing in Britain, and all the historical myths that surround them. In 1944, Britain led the world in electronic computing. By 1974, the British computer industry was all but extinct. We examine why this happened in the tense post-war world, as Britain was losing its role as a global leader and innovator. Professor Hicks calls this a story of gendered technocracy, and it undercut Britain's flexibility in the technology age. Listen and learn, Buzzkillers!

Mar 2, 2020

It's a Mini-Myth Monday! Like all good Americans, I just had a PB&J for lunch. I couldn’t help thinking of George Washington Carver, the reputed inventor of peanut butter. You won’t be surprised to hear that the invention of peanut butter is much more complicated (and more important) than is usually told. Listen in over your own PB&J, Buzzkillers!

Mar 2, 2020

William Henry Johnson eventually became one of the most decorated soldiers in World War I. His medals and military decorations came only eventually, however. He acted bravely and heroically in the Argonne Forest in May, 1918, killing multiple German soldiers and saving an American comrade, all the while being heavily wounded himself. The French military awards him the Croix de Guerre, their highest honor. Johnson’s heroism was not recognized by the American military and American government until much later. Find out why there was such a delay, listen to this Man Crush Monday episode!

Feb 19, 2020

Anybody who's completed an elementary school education knows that Abraham Lincoln finished his dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863 by saying that, "...we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." But I thought the background of the quote might fascinate you, and also provide more ammunition for your assault on the ignorance among your office-mates and/or neighborhood pals. Listen and learn, Buzzkillers!

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