About Katie Lambert
After pitching articles on obscure medical conditions with a touch too much enthusiasm, Katie Lambert was made health editor at HowStuffWorks.com. She also co-hosts the “Stuff You Missed in History Class” podcast as a convenient excuse to talk about dueling and historical plagues. Katie earned her bachelor's degree in English at the University of Georgia. She spends her free time rearranging her Netflix queue, buying books to read in the park, planning imaginary trips to Morocco and Argentina, and deciding which fantastic restaurant she'll try next.
Most Recent: Katie Lambert Postings
by Katie Lambert | September 20, 2010
When Sarah and I were asked to speak at Dragon*Con on a podcast panel with Jonathan and Chris of TechStuff, we jumped at the chance. Sarah wrote a great post about steampunk’s connections to the green movement, but what fascinated me most was the costuming — and the meaning behind the pageantry.
Sarah and I get a lot of e-mails from listeners thanking us for making history fun for them again. But what is it that happens in school that makes us dismiss history as mind-numbingly tedious?
Here’s my guess, from my schooling in several states at both public and private schools.
Charlie Chaplin’s most famous character, the Little Tramp, had its roots in his upbringing, as a middle-class boy who, due to his mother’s mental illness and his father’s alcoholism, ended up in the poorhouse and then an orphanage.
If I were going to pull off an art heist at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, stealing away with some Rembrandts and Vermeers, I’d do it in a fake mustache, just like our thieves. They promised to return the missing masterpieces (worth somewhere between $200 and $500 million) in “about a year” — but vanished.
Catherine de Medici, contrary to her reputation as a Catholic out for Protestant blood, granted religious freedoms that the Edict of Nantes would guarantee nine wars later. But this wasn’t before a marriage sparked a series of assassinations — and mob violence that led to the beheadings, stabbings and bludgeonings of thousands of French people.
In our podcast on the history of vaudeville, we felt remiss in not diving a bit deeper into the lives of our stars. So we put out a call on Facebook and Twitter for your favorite vaudevillians! It was a tough competition, but these were the ones who made it to the microphone.
Remember how we talked about Cleopatra’s sad kids? And Herod’s sad kids? And Elizabeth I’s sad childhood? It’s becoming a bit of a theme, and we’re adding Catherine de Medici and her husband, the future Henry II of France, to the list.
Who wore boots made of cured dog skin for months at a time? I’m sure your first guess was Michelangelo! Obviously. But he’s better known for other things — like sculpting David and decorating the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
The Emanuel Swedenborg podcast was a bit different for us, because we don’t often do interviews. Swedenborg was a scientist and engineer until he had dream visions (recurring theme alert!) about God, along with other, more salacious subjects.
Girolamo Savonarola is known as a book burner and destroyer of Botticelli paintings. As we mentioned in the podcast, he was a reformer of church and government, and the scourge of Lorenzo de Medici. He died by fire and some think he should be made a saint.
Our secret bear theme reared its furry head in A Brief History of Vaudeville. Trained animals were a part of the vaudeville circuit, as were contortionists, strongmen and acrobats. But perhaps most notable were the comedians and actors, many of whom vaulted to the screen when this new media took over.
Tomorrow is the last installment of the Conversations at The Carter Center series for 2009-2010. The subject of the webcast is “Improving the Lives of Women Through Public Health Initiatives.” For more details, please see the promo: http://cartercenter.org/news/features/cc/conversations-video-promo.html.
You can watch the webcast tomorrow, Thursday, April 22 starting at 7:00 p.m. (EST) on www.cartercenter.org.
I have an ongoing fight with a certain HowStuffWorks.com publisher who shall remain nameless because he 1) once worked at a library where his job was to destroy the old books and 2) dogears his library books. These are unpardonable offenses in my book. I am, however, far more lenient about overdue fines, which is good for George Washington — who is, I’m sure, very concerned about my opinion of him.
After the First Revolt, the Roman attitude toward the Jews changed. The Roman emperor Hadrian banned circumcision and talked of building a Roman temple where the Temple used to be.
Bar Kokhba, a man some thought was the Messiah, rose up to lead the Jews to rebellion. It was a bloody uprising, full of tales of horror and victories followed by crushing defeat. Some even think this is when the Jewish diaspora started.
Lorenzo the Magnificent was the most illustrious of the Medici, and he ran Florence like a “benevolent tyrant,” according to Francesco Guicciardini. He was wonderfully political, and this, of course, breeds enemies. Enemies like the Pazzi.
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