Tuesday, March 24

The Debunker: In the New Testament, Is Mary Magdalene a "Fallen Woman"?

by Ken Jennings

March is Women's History Month in much of the English-speaking world. This means the patriarchy is currently keeping the eleven other months for itself but hey, baby steps. Ken Jennings, like many Jeopardy! contestants, would be the first to admit he knows nothing about women. But he'll be with us all month correcting some misconceptions about history—or is it herstory?!?—that even the most ardent Women's Studies majors might miss on the final.

The Debunker: In the New Testament, Is Mary Magdalene a "Fallen Woman"?

If you know anything about Mary of Magdala, it's probably her life as a sex worker. She's the patron saint of "wayward women," after all, and for centuries Catholic organizations operated a network of "Magdalene asylums" where sexually active teens of all descriptions, from single moms to rape victims, could be cloistered away from the respectable population, and made to do their laundry for them. You know, like in that Judi Dench movie.

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Monday, March 23

Music Monday: Songs Of Madness

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! Spring has always brought with it a sort of insanity, so today Scott's chosen to collect five songs of madness. Join him in the crazed bacchanalia that is this week's Music Monday! IEEEEEE!

David Bowie - All The Madmen

 

So clearly this is David Bowie playing Syd Barrett, yeah? This skewed look at madness comes from a guy who had his own issues with being homo-superior over the years, so it carries a hint of authenticity. Also it's great.

It only gets nuttier from here, everyone! See you down the rabbit hole after the jump...

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Tuesday, March 17

The Debunker: Did the Nineteenth Amendment First Give Women the Right to Vote?

by Ken Jennings

March is Women's History Month in much of the English-speaking world. This means the patriarchy is currently keeping the eleven other months for itself but hey, baby steps. Ken Jennings, like many Jeopardy! contestants, would be the first to admit he knows nothing about women. But he'll be with us all month correcting some misconceptions about history—or is it herstory?!?—that even the most ardent Women's Studies majors might miss on the final.

The Debunker: Did the Nineteenth Amendment First Give Women the Right to Vote?

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson stood before the U.S. Senate and urged its members to approve a new constitutional amendment, one that would give women the right to vote. World War I was raging, and women were becoming familiar sights in mills and factories, with so much of the regular male workforce off fighting in Europe. The tide of public opinion on women's suffrage shifted rapidly, in a way that would be familiar to anyone watching the gay marriage debate today. States began to fall like dominoes, and both political parties, eager to stand on the right side of history, embraced the amendment. It was ratified in 1920, just five years after a similar bill couldn't get out of the House and two years after one had failed in the Senate.

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Monday, March 16

Music Monday: Beware The Ides Of March

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! The Ides of March are traditionally when Caesars get a little nervous. After all, it was in the Ides that Julius Caesar was murdered by... aw, we all read the play in high school. Today's Music Monday is a tribute to all the great Caesars of days past. We who are about to rock salute you!

AC/DC - Hail Caesar

 

Julius Caesar is the Caesar most of us think of first, but remember, Caesar is a title, not a surname. Really, anyone with the vision, the drive, and the focus to crush everyone in their way could become a Caesar. What do you think "Czar" really means?

Ave, Caesar! More hails await you after the jump.

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Tuesday, March 10

The Debunker: Does the Word "Squaw" Mean Something Vulgar?

by Ken Jennings

March is Women's History Month in much of the English-speaking world. This means the patriarchy is currently keeping the eleven other months for itself but hey, baby steps. Ken Jennings, like many Jeopardy! contestants, would be the first to admit he knows nothing about women. But he'll be with us all month correcting some misconceptions about history—or is it herstory?!?—that even the most ardent Women's Studies majors might miss on the final.

The Debunker: Does the Word "Squaw" Mean Something Vulgar?

In 1992, Native American spokesperson Suzen Shown Harjo appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and dropped some jaw-dropping knowledge on The Queen of Talk. The word "squaw," she told Oprah, was derived from an Algonquin word meaning "female sexual parts." She went on to say that, as a result, some Indians refer to "squaw" as the "s-word," a rough equivalent of the verboten "c-word" in English.

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Monday, March 09

Music Monday: Happy Birthday John Cale

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! There aren't many composers who can go from fronting the seminal punk band to playing what many would describe as classical music. John Cale has never stopped making music that's interesting and exciting, and seeing how today's the date of his birth, Scott's decided to pay this cool guy a little tribute. Perhaps you can join in, eh?

The Velvet Underground - Sister Ray NSFW due to elementary school-style body part talk your boss might not like

 

The debate with John Cale isn't where to mention the Velvet Underground, it's when. Do you close with it? Do you lead with it? I just decided to throw this beloved game-changing song in at the very start. Lou Reed gets most of the credit for being up front, but try to imagine this song without John Cale's organ. YOU CAN'T.

More like John Cale hits inside, after the jump.

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Tuesday, March 03

The Debunker: Did Feminists Burn Their Bras?

by Ken Jennings

 

March is Women's History Month in much of the English-speaking world. This means the patriarchy is currently keeping the eleven other months for itself but hey, baby steps. Ken Jennings, like many Jeopardy! contestants, would be the first to admit he knows nothing about women. But he'll be with us all month correcting some misconceptions about history—or is it herstory?!?—that even the most ardent Women's Studies majors might miss on the final.

The Debunker: Did Feminists Burn Their Bras?

"Bra-burning," a shorthand term for the outspoken second-wave feminism of the 1960s and 1970s, was often deployed with a condescending snigger by the older generation—those nutty women's-libbers, burning their bras! What a crazy thing to worry their little heads about. Today, the term has been used for so many decades that most people probably assume bra-burning was a not-uncommon street-corner sight during the turbulent sixties, like sit-ins and bell-bottoms.

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Monday, March 02

Music Monday: 3-2-1 Count

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! 3. 2. 1. 5. Well, it's not perfect, but it's as close to a countdown and we're gonna get for a while. So today, Scott's choosing 5 songs that count. Three, two one... GO!

Peter Schilling - Major Tom

 

Four, three, two, one! Of course, this song is also a sorta-cover of Space Oddity, just in case there's anyone left who didn't know that.

More to come after the jump. Count on it.

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Tuesday, February 24

The Debunker: Do People Breathe in Oxygen and Breathe Out Carbon Dioxide?

by Ken Jennings

In addition to his day job as Woot's full-time "Debunker," Jeopardy! wunderkind Ken Jennings moonlights as an author of books, and this month he has a new one in stores. It's the fifth in his Junior Genius series, this time chock-full of amazing facts about The Human Body. To mark the occasion, he'll spend all of February debunking anatomical anachronisms and medical misinformation for us. Finally: the inside scoop about our own insides.

The Debunker: Do People Breathe in Oxygen and Breathe Out Carbon Dioxide?

Well, okay. Yes, you do breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, which is why you're still alive. Fine. But you also breathe in plenty of carbon dioxide and breathe out plenty of oxygen. It's a lot more complicated than the diagram you remember from third grade where the people are pumping out carbon dioxide and the trees are pumping out oxygen.

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Monday, February 23

Music Monday: Opera

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! Opera is often considered to be complex, hard to get into, overly dramatic... and that's all wrong wrong wrong. Scott's here to set you all straight with five lovely opera pieces that you will enjoy. Or else.

Jacques Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann - Barcarolle

 

Let's start with a setting here: the day after having his heart broken by an underage robot, the writer awakes in a whore-covered tavern where his muse is protecting him. No, that's not the start of a new Warren Ellis anime! That's the second act of "The Trials Of Hoffman" and it's like an opera MADE for comic book nerds! Where you at, Christopher Nolan? Why can't you do for this what you did for Batman! Also, the music is lovely, as you'll see when you listen to the above video.

Can you believe there's still more to come? Well, there is. Come inside and enjoy.

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