Popular culture

For your viewing pleasure: the gang and me on Hamilton

Hamilton panel SHEAR 2016

This isn’t an embed, folks: just a link. Clicking on this bait will send you to the full C-SPAN video.

It’s finally up, for your full viewing pleasure: the session at the recent Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) on Hamilton, starring R.B. Bernstein, Benjamin Carp, Nancy Isenberg, Heather Nathans, and yours truly, as taped by C-SPAN-3 (perhaps C-SPAN’s equivalent of ESPN The Ocho?). You should watch the whole thing, but for the kind of viewer out there who likes to skip to the end of novels to cut the suspense, my start turn occurs at around the 45-minute mark.  Happy viewing!

Repost: I plead the 5th! Truths, Lies and a not-so-honest Abe. A President’s Day Quiz

The following was originally posted at From the Square, the official blog of New York University Press.

We celebrate Presidents’ Day this year in the midst of presidential primary campaign season, a season in which not only has nearly every candidate disavowed previous political positions, but some have insisted that they never said things they said.

As it turns out, that’s a very defensible presidential position: of the many presidential quotations circulating the internet, a shockingly large proportion were never actually written or uttered by the men to whom they’re attributed.

Accordingly, as a public service, I offer this quiz.

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The Colonial Williamsburg Super Bowl commercial kerfuffle

First, mea culpa, for not even having a reference to this commercial in my Super Bowl American Revolution post, but for some reason it wasn’t mentioned in the media hype days before the game, and hey, it only was shown in the New York, Philly, and DC markets, so you’ll just have to cut me some slack.  But more importantly, this commercial, which aired last night, has some people up in arms, for two reasons. One is that some people are offended by its reference to 9/11, in the service of selling Colonial Williamsburg (CW), or, perhaps, selling anything). The other is that CW, a non-profit, bought the expensive ad at all, at a time when it appears to be struggling financially. For it’s part, CW’s reaction has not been admirable. Here’s my question: why is it that CW picked 9/11 at all? Because, while CW says it wants to “challenge” Americans, it has shied away from that admirable task.

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Super Bowl 50 Commercials, American Revolution style

Here we are again, with that wonderful sports/consumer/corporate/bread-and-circuses phantasmagoria that is the Super Bowl, and, with that, and in fact, central to the real purpose of it, namely, money, all those wonderful commercials. And wherever there is a great (or garish, or both, take your pick) American tradition, the American Revolution won’t be far behind. So, as we did last year, let’s take a walk through this year’s American-Revolution-related Super Bowl commercials. The common implicit theme? Race and the founders.

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