#22 History and Herstory

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#22 History and Herstory

Post  weathereye on Wed Jun 24, 2009 1:01 pm

Ah, one of my favourite topics, tackled well in a way that sums up why it's such a hurdle for some people. I'm loving it. Hey, I've been in Mandi's canoe shop (quite a few years earlier) ... actually, I spent a lot of time at Old Fort William. It was an obligatory school trip all through my childhood, and I kept going later even when I didn't have to.

We're going to the ROM this weekend to check out the Dead Sea Scrolls. Too bad my Toronto friends hate museums.
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  ori-STUDFARM on Wed Jun 24, 2009 1:41 pm

Does Jakob know you spent time in Mandi's "canoe shop"?!!
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  Mandi on Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:58 am

ori-STUDFARM wrote:Does Jakob know you spent time in Mandi's "canoe shop"?!!
Shhhhh....
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  Mekka on Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:49 pm

Great show. I love history, mostly a couple of specific bits though. I've yet to find someone who doesn't find at least one era interesting.

I would like to see how different sides of history are taught in different countries. I would love to sit through a lesson of the last few centuries in both a French and a British classroom. Is history written by the victor? How much of national pride is still on the syllabus?
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  Jakob on Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:27 pm

Heck, in Canada different provinces can't even agree on that.
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  Bucho on Sat Jun 27, 2009 6:25 am

I didn't get interested in history until long after I'd left school, partly for the reasons you guys said (that it's taught uninspiringly) and partly because it meant memorising tons of facts and writing tons of essays. I've fallen into an appreciation for learning about the past only in the last few years as I've started to wonder more and more about where western civilization might be going and how our current societies might develop. That leads me to be more interested in what people did than how they lived. Like Jakob I can only stay interested for so long in visiting places that are focused on the living conditions of the era; it is fun to imagine living in that time, but that gets old quick. What holds my attention much better are the political and societal machinations that drive those conditions, that's where the real powerful drama of history lies. The extraordinary people and what they did in what, for them, were their own ordinary times.

The subject of how much we can trust historical accounts fascinates me too, because it deals with peoples' capacity and desire to have their own histories, and the histories of their ancestors, shine a favourable light on themselves. Not long ago I discovered both Dan Carlin's history podcast and another called The History Of Rome by a guy called Mike Duncan and they both regularly remind listeners of what can be summarised very basically by that old dictum, that history is written by the winners. In the end the mystery of it all is both a frustration and a force of compulsion to learn more, and in that way it's like the thing I was interested in at school, physics. The mysteries of our universe and the mysteries of our past drive me nuts sometimes, to the point I feel like I'd sell my firstborn, or at least my replica Princess Leia gold bikini, just to know the truth.
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  kumarhk on Sat Jun 27, 2009 6:43 am

Bucho wrote:Not long ago I discovered both Dan Carlin's history podcast and another called The History Of Rome by a guy called Mike Duncan and they both regularly remind listeners of what can be summarised very basically by that old dictum, that history is written by the winners.
The best history podcast is 12 Byzantine Rulers; I strongly recommend it. http://www.12byzantinerulers.com/
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  Bucho on Sat Jun 27, 2009 7:10 am

Thanks Kumar, I'll check that out fo' shizzle.
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  Mekka on Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:42 am

Cheer Kumar. I've added the first couple of episodes.

I tried Dan Carlin but I found him too dramatic. My irritation with his speaking style drew me out of what he was actually saying.

Via that I came across these though which I am listening to
British History 101 - Fun to hear British history read by an American, nice short episodes.
Classical Mythology - So, so. Not really enough infor to get excited about.
Great Speeches in History - One I rediscovered, I forgot about this one after my main Itunes computer blew up. Nicely inspirational most of the time.
The History Network (Military) - Great telling of military history. Including some little known battles.
Historyzine - 5 star reviews but I haven't had a listen yet, I'm hoping for great things.
Matt's Today in History - Great short episodes (virtually daily) covering famous and little known events that happened on the date the episodes are released.
Oxford Biographies - Another one I'd forgotten after the blow up. Excellent bio's of famous and not so well known people of merit.
Stuff You Missed in History Class - A slightly annoying presentation style but contains some interesting titbits.
Just added Tudorcast (not CBC) hopefully it won't disappoint.

Does anyone else get annoyed by the change in historical tv programmes? Mainly docudrama. The best historical documentary series I've seen has been Timewatch. Now even they feel the need for a dramatisation of events. A lot of which is speculation. I'm quite happy to be given the facts with the presenter telling us what the speculation is. I feel the dramatisation gives credence to guesswork.

HBO's Rome Sseason 1 was excellent but I felt let down by season 2. It seemed to lose it's grandeur and became a sexy soap opera.

The Tudors was a sumptuous feast for the eyes. Sod all for the mind and it poisoned my soul.

I think I prefer my history in literature form these days. Producers seem to have a pretty low opinion of their viewers.
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  kumarhk on Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:11 am

Well, Mekka, I think you will enjoy the HBO miniseries John Adams. I'm only three episodes in (there are seven in total), but so far I am enjoying it immensely. There are certain historical inaccuracies, but these are obviously there to facilitate the smoother running of the plot, and they are only minor details anyway. It's well worth a watch if you're interested in the American Revolution and the early days of the United States.
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  Bucho on Sat Jun 27, 2009 5:35 pm

Mekka wrote:I tried Dan Carlin but I found him too dramatic. My irritation with his speaking style drew me out of what he was actually saying.

Haha, that's what I love about him, that and the fact he never pretends to be an authority, simply a student of history. And that's what I was talking about when I said history never grabbed me at school too. If my teachers had the passion that Dan has I'd have been much more into it.


ETA: I should say I absolutely get where you're coming from though Mekka, I tried listening to a public radio show podcast (I think it was CNBC) about advertising and marketing a little while ago and even though the stories were good I couldn't get past the guy's overdone enunciation. And that professional guy sits in contrast to untrained peeps like Jakob and Mandi who naturally have speaking styles that make me think I could listen to them talk about anything.


Last edited by Bucho on Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  Tony on Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:08 pm

Great show, Jakob and Mandi!

Dan Carlin is the best, IMO. 12 Byzantine Rulers and The History of Rome are also wonderful, I subscribe to them all.

FYI, I have written the text for upcoming "Matt's Today in History" for June 29th! Pretty cool, Matt told me he'd mention my charity CD, www.songsforjenny.com and he has thousands of listeners!
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  Mekka on Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:45 pm

Nice one Tony. From what I've listened to up to now Matt seems like a great guy. Someone with a real passion for his podcast. I'm so glad he'll be plugging your album. I'm looking forward to hearing the June 29th episode.

Kumar - I missed John Adams on it's showing over here. ON your rec I will be renting the dvds though. The American revolution isn't my main interest but I always like an interesting way in to a new period.
Though I do hate historical innacuracies. I don't give a fug if they help the plot. Write fact or fiction, don't dress one up as the other.

Buchco - My interest in history was sparked by a great teacher when I was 11. Then the usual 'modern history' syllabus studied by all GCSE students many moons ago. I do believe that a love of history at school needs to be sparked by a good teacher and/or an era that interests you. Luckily modern European history is my bag. Get me into the Tudors or 20th century Europe and I'm happy as a pig in muck.
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  kumarhk on Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:23 pm

Well, it's more of the ... omission of some things and the addition of other things. A detailed list of all the inaccuracies are available at http://is.gd/1gr3F ; I go through them as I watch each part.
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  rob on Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:32 am

History only fascinates me when it's presented to me in broad sweep, a grand theoretical approach rather than going into the specifics of this and that little cog in the wheel, exact dates etc. ( Not that I take to a mechanistic or wholly deterministic view of history) . Dan Carlin's podcast is the only history podcast I have found so far that has kept me listening and riveted . His voice may be a little over the top now and then but it gives the stories he tells some significance, a dramatic weight much needed to hold my attention.

For all other history I turn to literature , both fiction and non-fiction. Fictionalized accounts don't necessarily need be entirely accurate , as long as they give me an idea of how things were back then without marring the flow of the story . In non-fiction I mainly seek for ideas. The political, philosophical , sociological etc ... streams that influenced events, people and the other way around. Details , such as years and dates somehow don't stick in my mind as readily , so it seems futile to know them all by heart. I have a friend who is endowed with a very keen memory of these kind of things, names ,dates .. But when we discuss something I notice that I occasionally bring things to the table he's not as perspicacious or aware of . We fill-in each other's blanks that way. Mine more abstract and conceptual while his is more precise and down to earth. Almost systematic with clear time-lines of crusades and movements.

One of the best and exciting history books I've recently read was a book recommended by Dan Carlin on his podcast , Jared Diamond's :Guns , germs and steel : the fates of human societies. This book tries out a different approach , a scientific one . It raises questions and attempts to give a conjectural explanation. Mostly speculative but researched well and grounded in logic . An attempt at explaining why in certain parts of the world humans/homo sapiens have prospered and prevailed much more than in other areas or continents on the globe. Think evolutionary processes , direct environmental influences and much more. Highly readable , it's a book you want to keep on your shelve and return to.
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  ori-STUDFARM on Sun Jun 28, 2009 11:04 am

History was ruined for me at school. I took it as a GCSE subject in my 4th year, walked into the class and came face to face with Mr Hill. My new history teacher and my 1st year tutor. He wasn't a particularly bad teacher, however, I had developed a way of just getting under his skin back in the 1st tear. He made no attempts to show his pure hatred for me, even announcing that "I won't be your 2nd year tutor, because I want nothing to do with that twat there!!" (Yes me!) I could go into details of fart sprays and general misbehaving by me. I could also go into details of being pulled to one side and "off the record" being told how sometimes it is possible for a teacher to get away with breaking a students nose if they claim it was self defence. However, I wasn't a particularly bad student and was certainly not a violent one. I think he'd have struggled, but it shit me up at the time!!
We had no more contact with eachother until I walked into his class in the 4th year. His first words were "Fucking hell! Have I got you?"
Me- "Looks like it sir!"
Mr Hill- "Well I still don't fucking like you. Grab a desk and sit behind me in the corner. I don't want to even look at you!"
Me in a sarcastic tone "Thank you sir!!"
Needless to say, I had 2 years of not doing anything. I didn't even do any course work. He pulled me to one side with about 2 weeks to go for you to hand in your 2 years worth of coursework and he said "anything over an ungraded with you and I've failed". That was when I decided I'd better get my coursework in, just to try and achieve more than an Ug. I spent the next 2 weeks stopping up till stupid o'clock rushing through it all. I handed it in a couple of days early and his face was a picture! He told me that I can do a lot better and to redo it. I told him to fuck off, as long as its a piece of paper with my name on, it counts. And I've just handed you something a lot better than a piece of paper with just my name on! I made sure I got witnesses to me handing it in too!! In the end, I got a D. Not bad for a fortnights work!!
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  Bucho on Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:44 pm

Mekka wrote:Does anyone else get annoyed by the change in historical tv programmes? Mainly docudrama. The best historical documentary series I've seen has been Timewatch. Now even they feel the need for a dramatisation of events. A lot of which is speculation. I'm quite happy to be given the facts with the presenter telling us what the speculation is. I feel the dramatisation gives credence to guesswork.

...

I think I prefer my history in literature form these days. Producers seem to have a pretty low opinion of their viewers.

I missed this point before but I totally agree with you. We're lucky enough to have a whole channel devoted to history but most of the shows are unwatchable because they're bogged down by crap dramatisations. All these things do is detract from the theatre of the mind afforded by just hearing the stories told, maybe seeing some of the garments and weapons of the time, run a camera over the places being discussed, maybe seeing a few still pictures and maps. They need to ease up on the ominous mood music too, it's eventually just another pointless distraction.
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  rob on Fri Jul 10, 2009 4:28 am

Sometimes they add synthesized strings. *Shudder. I cannot watch History tv programs.
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  Jakob on Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:41 am

Yeah, History Channel gets it wrong, sadly. It might be hard to do well though.

The last few episodes of Rome we've watched certainly back up Mekka's claim it became a sexy soap opera. I didn't notice so much the first time I watched it. Especially with the collegiate storilines which are less history based and only there to keep Lucius and Pullo in the series.
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  Marius on Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:20 am

I wouldn't mind the dramatizations on The History Channel so much if it weren't obvious they made about five minutes of footage for a 40 minute long program. They just keep showing the same three scenes over, and over, and over, and over.... affraid
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  rob on Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:53 am

Marius wrote:I wouldn't mind the dramatizations on The History Channel so much if it weren't obvious they made about five minutes of footage for a 40 minute long program. They just keep showing the same three scenes over, and over, and over, and over.... affraid

But that's so post-modern rabbit
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  Bucho on Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:13 pm

kumarhk wrote:The best history podcast is 12 Byzantine Rulers; I strongly recommend it. http://www.12byzantinerulers.com/

I've been enjoying this one, I'm up to the end of Justinian. I still enjoy Dan Carlin's more because of his expressive style and the depth he adds with the way he illuminates human experience and human nature, but Lars Brownworth hits a good tone, similar to Mike Duncan who does the History Of Rome podcast, and the story of the Byzantine Empire is obviously pretty ripe for dramatic stories.
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Re: #22 History and Herstory

Post  kumarhk on Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:37 pm

Glad to hear you're enjoying it Very Happy
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