Professor Buzzkill History Podcast

Professor Buzzkill History Podcast

Professor Buzzkill is an exciting podcast that explores history myths in an illuminating, entertaining, and humorous way.

Episodes

May 23, 2022 10 min
Lots of people take comfort from the quote “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” and it’s usually credited to Martin Luther King. He said it, but was it an original MLK thought? The long history of this famous quote is fascinating and uplifting. Listen and learn! Episode 453.
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Because of the shooting in Buffalo, New York last week, listeners asked me to re-release this episode. It explains how the National Rifle Association become one of the most controversial and divisive organizations in American history. Since the 1970s it has taken a very strict view of the US Constitution’s Second Amendment, and has gone to extremes in its defense of gun ownership. We explain how and why this happened, and dispel hi...
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May 9, 2022 4 min
Was Civil War Union General Joseph “Fightin’ Joe” Hooker’s last name the origin of the slang term for prostitute? He had a perhaps undeserved reputation as a party animal, but did that reputation actually add a new word to the language? Find out, Buzzkillers!
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May 3, 2022 17 min
Major social and political forces led to the establishment of Mother's Day as a major and official holiday. This episode explains those forces, and also tells us who founded Mother's Day. Was it Julia Ward Howe with her famous "Appeal to Womanhood" Peace Proclamation in 1870? Or did Anna Marie Jarvis start it, honoring her own mother in 1908? And what do war and campaigns for international disarmament have to do wit...
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In “They Called Us Girls: Stories of Female Ambition from Suffrage to Mad Men,” Kathleen Stone meets seven of these unconventional women. In insightful, personalized portraits that span a half-century, Kathleen weaves stories of female ambition, uncovering the families, teachers, mentors, and historical events that led to unexpected paths. What inspired these women, and what can they teach women and girls today? Episode 450!
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The 1937 Hindenburg disaster was one of the most dramatic in the 20th century. But what if the dramatic report we're used to hearing was partly the result of a mechanical error in the recording equipment? What if the emotion that comes through in the "oh the humanity" quote was inadvertently enhanced through this error? Would the disaster "sound" different to us if we heard the genuine report? Listen to this Mon...
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April 25, 2022 8 min
Thomas Edison invented almost nothing he’s given credit for -- at least not by himself. But he was undoubtedly one of the most important people of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Good old Professor Buzzkill turns on the light and puts the buzz back into hero worship. Grab your phonograph and listen to this Monday Myth for Extra Credit. Episode 449.
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Here's your short Monday Extra Credit Myth for the week! It’s a great “Gone with the Wind” romantic-type story. The defeated, but honorable, General Robert E. Lee offered his sword to the victor, U.S. Grant, during the Confederacy’s surrender at Appomattox Court House. Grant, just as honorably, refused to take it. But did it happen? Find out! Episode 448.
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This quote has been attributed to Rudyard Kipling, George Orwell, John Le Carré, Winston Churchill, and many others. We determine the origin. But how the quote became accepted wisdom is also important historically and culturally. Listen as the Professor waxes about its significance! And remember to stay vigilant! Episode 447
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"We must all hang together, or we will all hang separately" is a famous quote. But did it originate with Ben Franklin, one of the founders of the United States? And does the Franklin attribution tell us something about history and popular memory? The Professor explains! Episode 446.
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March 28, 2022 4 min
Just in time for baseball season! Was Ty Cobb, the Georgia Peach, rotten to the core? He is often referred to as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. But was his professional greatness mirrored by personal reprehensibility? Play ball, Buzzkillers, and don’t forget to sharpen your spikes! Episode 445
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March 16, 2022 52 min
Ever wonder how the shamrock, the Celtic Cross, and the Claddagh Ring became symbols of Irish culture? And which Irish people deserve more historical attention and shouldn't remain "Hidden Hibernians"? Professor Edward O'Donnell explains all in this St. Patrick's Day episode!
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The Professor seems to want to make enemies in this episode. He shows that many things central to Irish culture and identity are actually British in origin -- St. Patrick, “the craic,” and “Danny Boy” come under his withering analytical gaze. But he may surprise you with the ultimate conclusions he reaches. Maybe he’s not that much of a buzzkill after all.
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March 14, 2022 35 min
The Irish slaves myth claims that Irish people were enslaved by the British and sent to the Americas (especially the Caribbean) to work on plantations. The history of Irish slaves has been buried by our politically-correct world, so the myth goes, and has been replaced by an over-emphasis on the enslavement of Africans in the New World. But is there any truth to it, Buzzkillers? Listen and learn.
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March 10, 2022 17 min
The story that the family who owns the Bonne Maman jam company sheltered Jews during the Holocaust has become an internet sensation. Is it true? We examine it in great detail. More importantly, we talk about questions of inherited virtue, inherited sin, and the desperate need for more historical research at all levels! Lots of shouts outs to important and worthy people too! Episode 443
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Lots of people are credited with coining the great phrase, “well-behaved women rarely make history.” These include Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Steinem, Eleanor Roosevelt, Anne Boleyn, and many more. Given time, any powerful woman with self-respect, backbone and verve will get credit for this phrase and sentiment. Listen and learn who said it first.
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February 21, 2022 14 min
A Presidents' Day Special Monday Myth to start the week! The story that John Hanson, not George Washington, was the real first president of the United States, has been squirreling around the internet for years. Should we think about changing the currency? Should we re-write our kids’ school books? Before you go overboard, Buzzkillers, listen to this Episode 442!
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February 13, 2022 15 min
General Ty Seidule tells us about Major Samuel Tucker, civil rights champion and American hero. Listen to his amazing story and why we should look around us to find the history of the heroes in our own communities. Episode 441. 
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February 10, 2022 19 min
Feb 9th is National Pizza Day in the USA! This is a good time to learn about the "pizza effect." It helps explain why assumptions about the history and development of certain cultural practices and traditions help build hardy historical myths. Learn about the "pizza renaissance" in Italy, the "Hindu renaissance across India, the "Cornish pasty renaissance" in south-west England, and the "Clancy Broth...
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