My article yesterday in The Hardball Times, "Babe Ruth, Ring Lardner, and Baseball on the Verge in 1916" was called "a fine piece" and quoted extensively in Lee Smith's This Week in baseball column in The Weekly Standard.
My first piece for the Hardball Times. Two very different men had pivotal experiences with major league baseball one hundred years ago. What do those experiences reveal about how the status of the big leagues was changing in American society? Read on to find out
I had the pleasure of an extended discussion of Commercializing Childhood with David Levine, Professor of Law at Elon University and host of the Hearsay Culture radio program on KZSU Stanford University Radio. The show airs today at 5 pm ET on http://kzsu.stanford.edu/ and will be available in podcast form shortly.
This afternoon at 5 pm, I will be moderating a panel at Temple Emanuel in Greensboro on the Cone family and their impact on the Jewish community of Greensboro. The event is in advance of the the Touring Theatre’s upcoming production, *Dr. Claribel, Miss Etta and the Brothers Cone," which will premiere in Greensboro on April 23rd. The event will feature a reading from the play, music from the Sinai Mountain Ramblers, and the panel with author and historian Leonard Rogoff, family member Alan Cone, longtime community Dr. Edgar Marks, and Weatherspoon Art Museum Curator of Collections, Elaine Gustafson.
On February 10th, I presented a paper entitled "Using Facebook as a Community Engagement Tool for the William Penn Project" at the annual Pathways to Achieving Civic Engagement (PACE) Conference for North Carolina, which was held on our High Point University campus. This paper is part of my endeavor to spread the word about the value of Facebook as an instrument for organizing and enriching undergraduate history courses.
My piece on the origins of the American ritual of giving children presents on Christmas was published in The Atlantic on Christmas morning. Here's an excerpt:
"Christmas gift-giving, then, is the product of overlapping interests between elites who wanted to move raucous celebrations out of the streets and into homes, and families who simultaneously wanted to keep their children safe at home and expose them, in limited amounts, to commercial entertainment. Retailers certainly supported and benefited from this implicit alliance, but not until the turn of the 20th century did they assume a proactive role of marketing directly to children in the hopes that they might entice (or annoy) their parents into spending more money on what was already a well-established practice of Christmas gift-giving."
"Identifying these and other parallels between the Star Wars films and nineteenth-century children’s literature is more than just a fun parlor game for history and sci-fi nerds. It’s an indication of how little the moral expectations for children’s entertainment changed over the course of 150 years, even as the means of delivering that entertainment have increased so dramatically. These expectations derived largely from families seeking to shape the nature of their children’s consuming habits, and they predate and survive the twentieth-century expansions of corporate marketing to children that so many commentators have bemoaned. Thus when parents like me walk into a store and complain about the conflicts that omnipresent Star Wars merchandise create with children who beg for the newest action figure or t-shirt, we can place some of the blame on Disney. But perhaps we should also assign some of the responsibility – at least for the nature of those products – to ourselves."
Read "This is Why you Love Star Wars," my take on the relationship between nineteenth-century children's literature and the Star Wars movies, at the History News Network.
The Atlantic published an extended, thoughtful, and positive piece on Commercializing Childhood yesterday. You can read it at http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/12/american-kids-magazines/418956/.