Book Fight!

Tough love for literature

Winter of Wayback: 1916

4 Comments

Well, we’ve come to the end of the road on our Winter of Wayback episodes. After this one, we’ll have to finally admit it’s become spring, and come up with a new theme. But first: once more unto the breach, dear friends! (Shakespeare was talking about listening to a podcast, right?)

In this week’s episode we travel back in time to 1916, where we read an early P.G. Wodehouse “Jeeves” story called “Jeeves Takes Charge” (you can read it for free via that link). Once we sort out the various differences between valets and butlers, we talk about the story’s humor, and why Jeeves became such a popular, enduring character.

If you like that Wodehouse story, you should give this one a read, too: “Strychnine in the Soup” isn’t a Jeeves jam, but it’s really funny. So many comical misunderstandings!

Of course we’ve got lots of 1916-related items to discuss this week, too. Like the most lopsided college football game of all time. And elephant executions. Terrorism and wrongful convictions. The Beatles song “Taxman,” which apparently Tom really hates. A famous shark attack at the Jersey Shore, which apparently turned Americans against sharks forever. And the founding of Piggly Wiggly, which revolutionized grocery shopping.

Here’s a picture of the Pink Palace, the 36,500-square-foot mansion built by Piggly Wiggly’s founder. The dark clouds in the photo are appropriately ominous.

Pink-Palace

And here’s a 1919 political cartoon in which a shark is a stand-in for “capitalism.”

A_close_call_iww_cartoon

While we’ve got your attention, please don’t forget to support our sponsor, Powell’s Books. If you use any of the links around our site to get to the Powell’s site, including this one, for Wodehouse’s Thank You, Jeeves, anything you buy from Powell’s will generate a little money for the show. Which adds up! (To a bar tab every few months, usually.)

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, just by clicking on the little player thingy below. Or download the mp3 file. You can also check us out in the iTunes store, where you can subscribe (for free!) and never miss another episode. Actually, how about doing us a quick favor: click over to the iTunes store and give us a rating and a review. It helps us reach more people and move up the iTunes charts. And it will only take you a minute. Thanks!

We’d love to hear what you think about the various things we talked about this week. You can send us an email, hit us up on Twitter, or just leave a comment here on the site. And speaking of comments, you can still give us yours on the state of the show, while also nominating a book for an upcoming bonus episode. We’ll close nominations later this week, and then we’ll let everyone vote on the nominees.

Thanks for listening!

Stream:

Download Winter of Wayback: 1916 (right-click, save-as)

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Author: mikeingram25

writer, editor

4 thoughts on “Winter of Wayback: 1916

  1. Hmm. The only recent manifesto I can think of is Dogme 95, and that was twenty years ago. All the recent movements I’m vaguely aware of have been DIY stuff, like bandcamp, hackerspaces, self-publishing, deviant art, amateur video, etc. Maybe everyone’s too busy adjusting to and creating new economic and social models to put forth a coherent perspective on How Art Should Be.

    • I feel like the idea of Manifestos is something that tends to fall in and out of fashion over time. Take the 90s for example. While I don’t feel comfortable calling it a post-modern generation, I still agree that certain groups of people that I knew growing up, namely those drawn to art, were also highly suspect of any and all overarching grand-narratives. Manifestos to us were just as much Jerry Maguire as they were Karl Marx, and either way they both seemed lame. In other words, manifestos and their big ideas seemed out of fashion.

      And this is where I disagree with you, Thaeus. I feel like this might be starting to change. The internet has taken the stance against grand narratives to the extreme, creating countless fragmented personalized mini-narratives we can customize to live in our own comfortable info-bubbles. Obviously this comes at a cost as well, maybe it’s harder to have a sense of who you are amidst the blank sea of others, or that it’s harder to find people you connect with deeply. Perhaps in reaction to the gradual decline of shared experiences I’ve gotten the sense lately that people once again are starting to consider the larger picture again, .

      Two examples pop into mind after reading your comments Thaeus, and both actually use your exact wording! I recently read How Should A Person Be by Sheila Heti, and for all its faults it ended up being a great read about Art and what it means to try to be an artist today. Another excellent read: How Should a Game Be by Mike Barthel (http://www.theawl.com/2014/01/how-should-a-game-be). Both this article and Heti’s books leave more questions than answers, and so they can’t be called Manifestos as such. And I’m aware that two texts does not a movement make. But still I know they’ve both influenced me to the point where I would like to take a crack at this How Should a *Blank* Be business myself.

  2. Gah! I wish I could edit that comment, both to fix the anchor tag, and also because I confused “How Should a Person Be?” with “The Golden Notebook”. In my defense, they’re both Katherine Hill episodes. To be clear, “The Golden Notebook” sounded really interesting, not so much the Heti book.

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