George Orwell’s Final Warning: Don’t Let This Nightmare Situation Happen. It Depends on You!

≡ Category: Books, History, Literature |Leave a Comment

More than 60 years after his death and the closely preceding publication of his best-known novel 1984, we look to George Orwell as a kind of prophet of the ills of corporatism, socialism, authoritarianism, totalitarianism — any powerful -ism, essentially, in which we can find nasty, freedom-destroying implications.

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Shelf Life: American Museum of Natural History Creates New Video Series on Its 33 Million Artifacts

≡ Category: Biology, History, Museums, Science, Video - Science |Leave a Comment

I once spent a summer as a security guard at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. A wonderful place to visit, but my workday experience proved dreadfully dull.

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Mahatma Gandhi’s List of the 7 Social Sins; or Tips on How to Avoid Living the Bad Life

≡ Category: History, Life, Religion |4 Comments

In 590 AD, Pope Gregory I unveiled a list of the Seven Deadly Sins – lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride – as a way to keep the flock from straying into the thorny fields of ungodliness.

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The Red Menace: A Striking Gallery of Anti-Communist Posters, Ads, Comic Books, Magazines & Films

≡ Category: Art, History, Politics |5 Comments

By its very nature, propaganda distorts the truth or tells outright lies. It targets our basest impulses—fear and anger, flight or fight. While works of pure propaganda may pretend to make logical arguments, they eliminate nuance and oversimplify complicated issues to the point of caricature.

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Wittgenstein Day-by-Day: Facebook Page Tracks the Philosopher’s Wartime Experience 100 Years Ago

≡ Category: History, Philosophy |Leave a Comment

Last week we told you about an ambitious video series — The Great War — that will document how World War I unfolded, week-by-week, over a four-year period, from 1914 to 1918. A new video will be released every Thursday, and it will reflect on what happened during the same week 100 years prior.

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Charles Dickens Gave His Cat “Bob” a Second Life as a Letter Opener

≡ Category: History, Letters, Literature |Leave a Comment

Image via New York Public Library
Increasingly Facebook seems a virtual pet cemetery, with images of recently departed cats and dogs buttressed with words of heartbreak and consolation.

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Watch Harvard Students Fail the Literacy Test Louisiana Used to Suppress the Black Vote in 1964

≡ Category: History |29 Comments

This summer, we revisited a literacy test from the Jim Crow South. Given predominantly to African-Americans living in Louisiana in 1964, the test consisted of 30 ambiguous questions to be answered in 10 minutes. One wrong answer, and the test-taker was denied the right to vote.

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The Great War: Video Series Will Document How WWI Unfolded, Week-by-Week, for the Next 4 Years

≡ Category: History |4 Comments

This ambitious project deserves a mention: Mediakraft Networks has launched a video series on Youtube that will document how World War I unfolded, week-by-week, over a four-year period, from 1914 to 1918. A new video will be released every Thursday, and it will reflect on what happened during the same week 100 years prior.

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‘You Are Done’: The Chilling “Suicide Letter” Sent to Martin Luther King by the F.B.I.

≡ Category: History, Letters |Leave a Comment

In November of 1964, Martin Luther King received a chilling letter, purportedly from a disillusioned member of the African-American community. “King, look into your heart,” writes MLK’s critic. “You know you are a complete fraud and a great liability to all of us Negroes.”
The letter then turns menacing.

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50,000 Norman Rockwell Photographs Now Digitized and Available Online

≡ Category: History, Photography |Leave a Comment

Reference photo for Norman Rockwell’s portrait of Robert F. Kennedy, c. 1968. Courtesy of the Norman Rockwell Museum Collections.
Whatever you think of Norman Rockwell’s paintings and illustrations, you can’t deny them the status of enduring Americana.

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