About This Show
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.
Most Recent Episode
Episode 126: Sinclair Broadcasting, Tony Robbins, and Early Admissions
2 days ago
In this episode, Niki, Neil, and Natalia debate the rise of Sinclair Broadcasting, life coach Tony Robbins’ dismissal of the #MeToo movement, and the fraught history of college early admissions. Support Past Present on Patreon: http://www.pastpresentpodcast.com/episodes Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show: Conservative media giant Sinclair Broadcasting Group inspired outrage when a viral video showed anchors reading a prepared script bashing the media. Natalia cited Niki’s S. News article on the role of the FCC in preventing the kind of domination to which Sinclair aspires. Self-help guru Tony Robbins enraged the internet when he maligned the #MeToo movement at one of his stadium-sized seminars. You can watch the full video of his internaction with Nanine McCool here. Natalia cited two classic historical works to understand the history of self-help: Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life and Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism. Natalia also recommended William Davies’ The Happiness Industry and the HBO show “Enlightened.” Natalia recently wrote about how Tony Robbins and other self-help gurus have often stood in the way of social change in a piece for the Washington Post. The Justice Department has launched a probe into colleges offering early admissions. Natalia cited two historians’ book-length works: Jerome Karabel’s The Chosen and Nancy Malkiel’s Keep the Damned Women Out! In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History: Neil discussed the new Little League documentary, Long Time Coming. Natalia discussed Ivanka Trump’s curiously uninformed comments about youth fitness. As a companion piece to Natalia’s What’s Making History, Niki recommended Anastasia Day’s Made by History article, “How the White House Garden Became a Political Football.” Niki discussed two new books on the 14th Amendment by historians, Carrie Hyde’s Civic Longing: The Speculative Origins of U.S. Citizenship and Martha Jones’ Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America.