It’s now four years since I started blogging. Last year I said I might stop today, but I’m not going to now. I need a blog to promote my forthcoming book, I’m not ready to do anything completely different yet, and blogging is still a useful way of trying out new ideas and keeping in touch with people. I’ve somehow gone for nearly three months without posting anything because I’ve been so busy. Before I can even start writing the book I have to work on a chapter for an edited collection and also finish building a roof. And there’s an article which is probably going to get revise and resubmit soon. Posts should get more regular from now on, but in the meantime, here are some links and news:
- Bench Grass is a new military history blog, with some great posts on armoured warfare. One of the few people who really gets cavalry.
- At Airminded Brett Holman has finished (for now) post-blogging the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. One of the many surprises thrown up by his experiment is that there wasn’t a clear division between the two at the time. The press seem to have been more optimistic than the present myth of The Few would suggest (and it was a big shock to discover that Churchill was mostly talking about bombers in that speech), and some people wanted the Germans to try and invade Britain because they knew it would fail. Despite knowing that German bombs wouldn’t defeat them, the British seem to have massively over-estimated the effectiveness of their own bombing of Germany. Meanwhile Daily Mail readers, then as now obsessed with impractical and morally dubious solutions to exaggerated problems, demanded more reprisal bombings of German civilians.
- The Institute of Historical Research has launched a digital consultancy service and announced a digital editing system called ReScript.
- PhDork at The Pursuit of Harpyness looks at “An Anti-Suffrage Monologue”, in which American suffragette Marie Jenney Howe mercilessly exposed anti-feminist hypocrisy by putting contradictory arguments against equal voting rights next to each other, ostensibly so that readers could pick the one they preferred. This kind of hypocrisy hasn’t gone away. Early-modern women’s historians are faced with Lawrence Stone’s objection that elite women are not worth studying because they’re not typical, and David Starkey’s objection that ordinary women are not worth studying because they had no power. Opponents of women serving in combat roles say that a woman wouldn’t be strong enough to drag her wounded male comrades to safety, and that male soldiers would spend too much time looking after their female comrades instead of fighting.
- Pink Parts is a webcomic set in a strip club and written by Katherine Skipper, who used to work as a stripper. It’s intelligent, honest, funny and really has something to say. Good to see a stripper’s point of view being put across in a medium which is far too dominated by privileged white men. It ties in well with Catherine M. Roach’s book about stripping, which I reviewed last year.
- Comic genius Kate Beaton gives her own interpretations of courtly love and King Lear.
- PEP! is a magazine about comics, music, politics, Doctor Who and other things, edited by my friend Andrew Hickey. It even includes some articles by me. I tried to push myself do something different from my blogging and academic writing, which wasn’t entirely successful but I’m all about failing better. In issue 1 (available as free PDF download or expensive print on demand) I gave an argument in favour of political extremism (from a feminist and postmodern angle) which made some good points and one bad point which went up a blind alley to do with Zeno’s paradoxes, but since it provoked a rebuttal from the editor I must have done something right. In issue 2 (PDF; print version available soon) I took a long and exhausting (but nowhere near exhaustive) look at lazy journalism, bad science and gender ideology relating to spatial reasoning abilities. Since I wrote it in March it’s been superseded by some other things (especially Cordelia Fine’s new book Delusions of Gender, and a new report which disproves gender differences in maths ability) but I’m still pleased that I managed to write something outside my comfort zone.
- Andrew has also written a book about the Beatles. I found the blog posts that this grew out of really interesting, even though I don’t like the Beatles.
- And finally, you can have minutes of fun looking for film and TV locations on Google Streetview. Here are Baywatch headquarters near Santa Monica and Baywatch Hawaii headquarters at Haleiwa.