This is just a quick note to let you know that you can now follow Open Culture on Twitter. If you subscribe, you’ll know whenever we post something new on the site. To get going, create a Twitter account (if you don’t already have one), access our Twitter page here, and then click the word “Follow” beneath our logo, and you’ll be all set. If you’re wondering what Twitter is all about, you can watch this handy video.
Here’s a nice vintage clip that comes out of a YouTube Channel called The Great Performers, which we’ve added to our page: Best YouTube Collections. The video features Arturo Toscanini conducting Beethoven’s 5th at Carnegie Hall in 1952. You can find the second movement here.
Abraham Lincoln has never exactly gone out of fashion. More books have been written about him than any other American president. But even so, he has recently dominated our thoughts, our public discourse, in a way that we haven’t seen in some time. And that’s because he started something in American history that ended with the inauguration of Barack Obama last week.
To mark the occasion, I wanted to highlight an excellent series of podcasts that focuses on Lincoln and the Civil War. Created by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, this series features talks by some of America’s leading scholars of the Civil War period, and at least two Pulitzer Prize winners. Among the lectures, you’ll find the following:
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (iTunesU) – Doris Kearns Goodwin
Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam (iTunesU) – James McPherson
No Party Now: Politics in The Civil War North (iTunesU) – Adam I.P. Smith
Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (iTunesU) – Allen Guelzo
Abraham Lincoln: A Biographer’s Notes (iTunesU) – Richard Carwardine
Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (iTunesU) – David Blight
Here’s a piece from one of my colleagues, Scott Hutchins. Take it away Scott…
Steven Soderbergh was in San Francisco as part of the roll out for his four-and-a-half-hour, two-part epic Che, about the Argentinian doctor turned revolutionary Che Guevara. Guevara is no stranger to American screens, especially after the popular film, The Motorcycle Diaries. So we wondered why Soderbergh wanted to make another movie about him. Soderbergh is widely considered one of the most talented directors at work in Hollywood today, but even some of his fans are scratching their heads over this most recent film. In the New Yorker, film reviewer Anthony Lane says, ‘I still have no idea what truly quickens his heart.’ In this interview, we certainly discovered what gets his blood pumping. Soderbergh (who also directed Traffic, Erin Brokovich, and Sex, Lies and Videotape) discusses his shaken faith in the power of film, what he has in common with Fidel Castro, and how nothing will ever be solved in the Middle East as long as monotheists are involved. You can read the full interview at therumpus.net.
As you probably know, Open Culture launched a new look last week, and it seemed worth devoting a few words to it. With the new design, I was hoping to give the site a more inviting look and streamline the overall navigation. I was also hoping to make it clear that user contributions are always welcome. If you have tips on good media, send them our way. And if you ever want to write a guest blog post, please feel free to let me know what you have in mind. The more individual readers contribute, the more our community of readers benefits.
I definitely want to send a word of thanks to the folks at Rolling Orange, who handled all of the design and implementation. An excellent group to work with. Also, I want to thank Eric Oberle who has been very generous with his tech support since the beginning.
Lastly, this is a great time to ask you what you would like to see from Open Culture in the future. What should the site do more of? What should it do less of? What good things haven’t we thought about? Your input would be really appreciated. Feel free to send thoughts from the contact page, or add any thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks in advance to all…
Open Culture scours the web for the best educational media. We find the free courses and audio books you need, the language lessons & educational videos you want, and plenty of enlightenment in between.