Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Behind the News with Doug Henwood - podcast review

One of the many podcast recommendations I have been receiving over the past weeks, came from a regular reader of the blog. He recommends the podcast Behind the News with Doug Henwood, which is a commentary podcast on politics and economics with a leftist inclination.

After having taken a couple of issues on my player my impression is that the leftist element is tangible in two aspects. One is the choice of subject, for example there was a whole item about the history, position and future of worker unions in the US. The second is in the way in which the speakers and audience are implicitly assumed to share a preference for liberalism and the Democrats and for a leftist style of economic policy.

The items are rather invariably: an analysis of the latest politics and economics news, followed by two thematic interviews. The show is aired on a New York radio station, before it is finalized for podcast, which results in the occasional inserted update in between items. It makes for slight variations in audio feel, but the true difference in audio feel, which makes this podcast stand out is the choice of music. All in all, this is a good background podcast which apart from having a left focus is also very much centered on the US.

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History of History - IOT podcast review

Before the week is over and the new In Our Time takes over the feed, I want to give a quick recommendation of the latest program. The history of history is a classical IOT that you should pick up, if you are an long time fan of IOT, if you are new to the show, if you are interested in history and if you are following the one history podcast after the other.

If anything, In Our Time is a program about the history of our culture. Needless to say, just as for any culture, history is important and this issue takes on the question how we have been shaping our narrative ever since we started retelling our past. Even if I can recount any specific aspect that stuck with me or any particular piece of interest - this is just generally relevant. And, as said, way into the heart of In Our Time's subject matter.

Lastly, I'd like to point to another piece of meta-history that has made it to podcast and that I have reviewed on this blog. Canadian broadcast TVO's podcast Big Ideas had a lecture by Margaret MacMillan, which pulls a nice twist to all this importance of historiography: over-indulgence in history. The massive application of historicist narrative to hammer down political and ideological points. History as a religion. She is the historian saying as it were: get your dirty hands off our discipline.

More Big Ideas:
The role of the intellectual,
Disaster Capitalism,
The Bad News about Good Work,

More In Our Time:
Darwin special,
The Consolation of Philosophy,
The Great Fire,

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Franz Hipper - veertien achttien recensie

Ik heb al meerdere malen verwoord hoe de grote kracht van de podcast Veertien Achttien ligt in de narratieve kracht. Presentator Tom Tacken weet van elke aflevering een mooi afgerond verhaal te maken. Niet alleen staat dat garant voor de onderhoudendheid van de podcast, het versterkt de geschiedenis in twee opzichten. Het ene is dat meteen goed verhaal de feiten beter blijven hangen.

Het tweede opzicht waarin een goed verhaal de geschiedenis versterkt is dat het je opmerkzaam maakt op bepaalde patronen. Het kan goede, nieuwe vragen oproepen, of nieuwe perspectieven voelbaar maken. Zo ook in het relaas van afgelopen week over de Duitse marine-officier Franz Hipper. Wat altijd domineert in verhalen over de oorlog is hoe slecht de machten voorbereid waren. Het verhaal van Hipper laat zien dat de Duitse Marine echter, door en door modern was en wel goed voorbereid.

Dat is een nieuw perspectief dat verklaring kan bieden voor aspecten van de zee-oorlog. Het kan ook wellicht verklaren waarom de zee-oorlog zo miniem was, zo gespeend van de bloederige herhaling die de landoorlog kenmerkte. Het roept ook nieuwe vragen op, waarom kon die moderniteit in de marine niet doorsijpelen naar het leger en naar de politiek? Bestond die moderniteit ook bij de Engelse Marine, ook voor wat betreft de grotere meritocratie (en minder aristocratie)? Kan die moderniteit ook de muiterij verklaren die het Hipper eind 1918 onmogelijk maakt om een slotoffensief op zee te ontketenen?

Meer Veertien Achttien:
Enver Pasha,
Veertien Achttien premium,
Oskar Potiorek,
Kato Takaaki.

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