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Past Present

Past Present brings together three historians to discuss what's happening in American politics and culture today. Natalia, Neil, and Niki bring historical insights to the news of the day, offering listeners an alternative to the reflexive and polarized world of punditry. Interested in the world around you but exhausted by rote reactions and partisan talking points? You've come to the right place.
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Now displaying: July, 2023
Jul 25, 2023

In this episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil discuss the history of summer break in the United States.

Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

·      The idea that a long summer vacation originated in “the agrarian calendar” is a persistent myth. Niki referred to our Episode 40, in which we discussed the history of summer camps  Natalia referred to historian Kenneth Gold’s book School’s In: The History of Summer Education in American Public Schools and historian Jonathan Zimmerman’s Los Angeles Times opinion piece, “How We Got Interminable Summer Breaks From School – And What We Can Do About It.”

 

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

·      Natalia discussed Max Meyer’s Free Press article, “Welcome to the MAGA Hamptons.”

·      Neil and Niki, for the first time in our history, chose the same WMH! They discussed Jason Aldean’s country music song and video, “Try That in a Small Town.” Neil recommended Chris Willman’s Variety article, “Jason Aldean Already Had the Most Contemptible Country Song of the Decade. The Video is Worse.”

Jul 18, 2023

In this episode, Neil, Niki, and Natalia discuss the history of tipping in the United States.

Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

·      Tipping is once again at the center of debates about service, labor, and consumerism. Neil referenced this Phil Magness essay, and Natalia cited this New York Times piece by Michele Alexander. We all drew on this Mother Jones review of Saru Jayamaran’s book Forked: A New Standard for American Dining.

 

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

·      Natalia shared Michael Schulman’s New Yorker piece, “Orange is the New Black Signalled the Rot Inside the Streaming Economy.”

·      Neil recommended the forthcoming Broadway show, Here Lies Love.

·      Niki discussed this episode of the podcast If Books Could Kill.

Jul 11, 2023

In this episode, Natalia, Neil, and Niki discuss male enhancement surgery and the history of the penile ideal.

Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

·      A recent ProPublica article exposed the expanding, and disturbing, world of penile enlargement surgery. Neil referred to this glowing 2016 GQ article about the procedure, and Natalia discussed the comedy of Marval Rex. Niki drew on this Men’s Health article, and we all made use of David Friedman’s book A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis.

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

·      Natalia discussed the new Netflix documentary Take Care of Maya.

·      Neil recommended the new Rock Hudson documentary from HBO, All That Heaven Allowed.

·      Niki shared about Crooked Media podcast, Strict Scrutiny, and her most recent CNN column, “Another Not-As-Bad-As-It-Could-Be Decision from America’s Highest Court.

Jul 4, 2023

In this episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil discuss Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential candidacy. 

Support Past Present on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pastpresentpodcast

Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

 

·      Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is running for president, with some support both from Democrats and Republicans. Neil referred to this TIME interview, and Natalia referenced this Slate article and her interview on the Conspirituality podcast about RFK Jr.’s workout videos.

 

In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:

·      Natalia shared about the new Netflix documentary series Arnold.

·      Neil discussed Raymond Zhong’s New York Times piece, “Something Was Messing With the Earth’s Axis. The Answer Has to Do with Us.

·      Niki recommended Rebecca Makkai’s novel I Have Some Questions For You.

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