With Such Words
if you aren't a hypocrite, your moral standards aren't high enough
Upcoming Project: History Weighs In 
27th-Dec-2011 12:42 pm
talibusorabat: A stack of books & the caption "ARM YOURSELVES!" (Doctor Who: Arm Yourselves!)
Context is everything. Literally. One of the painful things about being a history nerd who keeps up with current events is seeing historical figures taken out of context and used to advance agendas that they would have vehemently opposed. (Considering that several of the "Founding Fathers" were either atheists or deists, I really don't think their ultimate plan was to make America a Christian nation.)

For awhile I've thought "Wouldn't it be cool to have historical figures comment on US current events?" They could explain the context surrounding the statements that they made and how it either is or isn't relevant to the modern world. But I never really knew what to do with it beyond a few vague thoughts like "Wouldn't it be amazing to watch George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt debate foreign policy?" I wasn't sure if anybody would be interested other than me and my mom anyway, so I put it aside and then kind of forgot about it.

I was reminded of it when thinking about the madness of the United States' current political climate. So many of the problems we're facing today are the result of decisions made decades ago, and out of context quotes from men long dead are used to justify solutions that are failing. It seems more important than ever to understand the context of the decisions that have shaped today's world.

So fuck it, I'm making a podcast. Two episodes before November 2012, and possibly more after that if there is sufficient interest. The episodes will be approximately 40 minutes long and in a similar style to shows such as Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper 360. They will have a mix of one-on-one interviews and debates, with a host that gives context to the current issue and how it is relevant to the historical figures.

My goal is not only to clarify the philosophies of people who are well-known but frequently misunderstood. I also want to highlight the philosophies and accomplishments of people who have had a major impact on American history, but who are left out of our white, hetero/cis-sexist, male-dominated textbooks. I want to show that they were not just a narrow portion of their identity (First Nations activist, civil rights activist, transgender activist, etc), but they were powerful thinkers who advocated for a number of intersecting causes.

Beneath the cut I have the topics I want to cover in the first two episodes and the people I am considering to include. I would love input and suggestions on this list. Who is missing that I should consider? Is there anyone I should eliminate? Do you know a really fantastic book about a particular person I should include in my research?

In selecting possible figures to include, I am keeping the following criteria in mind:
- No living figure (they, obviously, can speak for themselves, and would justly object to my putting words in their mouths)
- No one who has died in the past 5 years. I would prefer to work between 1750 and 1950, but that is not always possible.
- People who have at least one primary source - either a book they wrote, or a collection of their speeches. What I'm writing will be an interpretation of their words, but I don't want it to be an interpretation of someone else's interpretation of their words.

The final programs will have no more than 4 guests, so that my research can be deep rather than broad, but right now I'm trying to pull in as many names as possible so I don't miss someone amazing about whom I was never taught.

-- Corporate Regulation
-- Redistribution of wealth
-- Education
-- Banks & the Federal Reserve

Possible 'Guests'
James Baldwin
Sylvia Rivera
Lucy Parsons
Marsha P. Johson
Theodore Roosevelt
Abigail Adams
Alexander Hamilton
Ronald Reagan
Andrew Jackson

-- War on Terror
-- Spreading democracy
-- National security
-- An American Empire?

Possible 'Guests'
Lucy Covington
John O'Sullivan
George Washington
John Quincy Adams
Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt ("Chief Joseph")
Anna Mae Aquash

For those of you who are interested in/concerned about what my process will be :

Step 1: Research the various positions on the current issue. Research the time periods my 'guests' lived in, and my guests themselves. Read as much of their own written material (as opposed to material written about them) as possible.

Step 2: Summarize what I think their position on the topic would be, citing my sources. This summary will be sent to experts to review and critique.

Step 3: Draft the script. The above summary will be turned into a dialogue. Since it is a script, sources will not be explicitly cited, but a bibliography will be kept and will be published with the podcast.

Step 4: Send script out for critique by both experts and editors. While I will be putting words in their mouths, I want the script to be as accurate as possible.

Step 5: Revise.

Repeat Step 4 and Step 5 as necessary.

Then we get into the production part of the process, which I will have more details about later.

If you are or know a historian/expert who is willing to help fact-check my work, please email me. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a white, middle-class, queer, cissexual woman. I studied screenwriting & playwriting in university; I love history, but I do not have any sort of degree in it.

If you'd like to be involved in any other way, let me know! Right now I am very much in development/pre-production, but there will be a multitude of opportunities further down the line.

Eventually this project will have its own website, but for now you can keep up with updates by tracking this tag.
27th-Dec-2011 06:47 pm (UTC)
ravenrants: (politics: criticize with affection)
Woe that US history was not my focus, or I'd offer to fact check. That said, if you want any proofing or a sounding board for your scripts, let me know because I adore this idea and want to help in any way I can.
27th-Dec-2011 07:00 pm (UTC)
talibusorabat: A cartoon Asian boy with his arms outstretched "YAY!" (Up: YAY!)
YAY! I will very likely take you up on those offers when I get there. :D Right now, signal-boosting would be fantastic. And if you have time to do some googling and go "Okay, Katie, these are books/articles you need to read", that would be a huge help. The less time I have to spend finding my sources, the more time I can spend actually reading them.
27th-Dec-2011 07:03 pm (UTC)
ravenrants: (politics: have a little faith)
Let me see if I can find my old 20th Cent. US notes and I'll get back to you. I'm assuming you're preferring stuff that's available free and online, yes?
27th-Dec-2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
talibusorabat: An older brunette woman reading "reading is sexy" (BSG: Reading is sexy)
Haha, yes, since I have absolutely no budget for this. But I do plan to spend a great deal of January parked in a library. :)
27th-Dec-2011 07:16 pm (UTC)
ravenrants: (Default)
Let me work some Google-fu and see if I can work you up a place to start on a few of these. Do you have any that you're particularly worried about?
27th-Dec-2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
talibusorabat: A white man with large goggles "thinking thinky thoughts" (Dr. Horrible: Thinky Thoughts)
Anyone who's not a president. >.>;;

From what I've read so far, though, I think I will very likely include Sylvia Rivera, Lucy Parsons, James Baldwin, and John O'Sullivan, so I'll need material from/on them.
27th-Dec-2011 07:25 pm (UTC)
ravenrants: (kick ass: WWII Hit Girl)
I will see what I can do. /salutes
27th-Dec-2011 07:32 pm (UTC)
asmaria: (Howard Link)
Sorry that I can't be of much help to you, but good luck with your project! That link was very interesting. (and I laughed when he explained honey)

It is sad to say that a lot of people won't think beyond what they see right in front of them. I hope you can make an impact for the better.
28th-Dec-2011 12:33 am (UTC)
talibusorabat: A young woman is giving a speech "[insert generic motivational speech here]" (Avatar: Generic motivational speech)
Thanks! :D If you know/meet anyone who you think might be interested in helping, please pass this link along. Signalboosting is plenty helpful.
28th-Dec-2011 12:36 am (UTC)
asmaria: (Default)
I will! At the moment I don't think I do, but I'll keep my eyes peeled!
28th-Dec-2011 12:27 am (UTC)
sophiap: votive candle and small, round stones on a slate ground (Default)
I think this sounds like an awesome idea. The list you have is intriguing, especially as there are several people on there I assume had views that are antithetical to your own.

Under "Global Power," William McKinley would be a fascinating (if terrifying) addition.
28th-Dec-2011 12:33 am (UTC)
talibusorabat: A young white man holding up a slip of paper "I'm totally qualified to comment on this!" (Doctor Who: Totally qualified!)
Oooooooh, William McKinley, yes! I will have to look into him. Thanks for the suggestion!

Haha, yes. The goal for me is to have this be as intellectually neutral as possible, so I'm trying not to stuff it with historical figures who share my particular worldview. If I continue this project after these two episodes, I will someday include Andrew Jackson, which will be a party considering my deep-seated, passionate dislike of him. XD
28th-Dec-2011 12:42 am (UTC)
sophiap: votive candle and small, round stones on a slate ground (Default)
Jackson was truly an awful human being on so many levels.
28th-Dec-2011 03:01 am (UTC)
pleonasm: (Default)
Seconding everyone who has been saying this looks really neat! I look forward to seeing it.
30th-Dec-2011 12:08 am (UTC)
talibusorabat: An Indian man and woman ride on a bike in the countryside (Dil Bole Hadippa: Biking in paradise)
Thank you!
2nd-Jan-2012 08:17 pm (UTC)
rubyredrose: (ruby red rose)
Hi! I'm just lurking on friend of friends' blogs, do you mind if I follow you? :)

Oooh... this sounds fascinating! I am always interested in historical fiction that does it's homework. And this? It sounds like the best kind of parody.

Even if you were only doing the folks you agree with, it would be interesting. But if you plan on doing the bat**** crazy ones too, it would be FABULOUS.

I am even less qualified than you to fact check, but you seem to be taking the sources I would pick, so I'd say you're going in the right direction. I would also see if any of the authors doing biographies (experts) are online... sometimes you luck out and find someone willing to either help out, or knows someone who would like to.
4th-Jan-2012 03:15 am (UTC)
talibusorabat: A young white man looks dapper "ambassador of awesome" (White Collar: Ambassador of Awesome)
Ooh, thanks for the suggestion. :D And yes, please do! I hope you don't mind a varied assortment of ramblings. XD
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