38 episodes

How have writers, illustrators, film makers, and musicians shaped the American experience? In this podcast series historian Dr. Darren R. Reid explores American history through the lens of the artist. From classic comics books to music and film, this podcast examines how art and artistry has reflected and informed the American experience.

Featured iTunes podcast (January and February 2014), #1 episodes in Education and Higher Education. Current series, "Comic Book Studies" explores the historic and cultural significance of comic books and graphic novels, exploring issues relating to race, class, gender, and change over time in titles from Superman and Captain America to V for Vendetta and Art Spiegelman's Maus.

Silent Film festival (four episodes) combines classic films mostly from the silent era with new audio commentaries. Films include Charlie Chaplin's The Immigrant, Superman Goes to War, and D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation.

Other episodes include lectures which explore how the Cold War changed the music of Pink Floyd, the lost Beach Boys' album, SMiLE, the music of the American Civil War, and representations of Native Americans in film and literature.

The Artist in American History Dr. Darren R. Reid

    • History

How have writers, illustrators, film makers, and musicians shaped the American experience? In this podcast series historian Dr. Darren R. Reid explores American history through the lens of the artist. From classic comics books to music and film, this podcast examines how art and artistry has reflected and informed the American experience.

Featured iTunes podcast (January and February 2014), #1 episodes in Education and Higher Education. Current series, "Comic Book Studies" explores the historic and cultural significance of comic books and graphic novels, exploring issues relating to race, class, gender, and change over time in titles from Superman and Captain America to V for Vendetta and Art Spiegelman's Maus.

Silent Film festival (four episodes) combines classic films mostly from the silent era with new audio commentaries. Films include Charlie Chaplin's The Immigrant, Superman Goes to War, and D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation.

Other episodes include lectures which explore how the Cold War changed the music of Pink Floyd, the lost Beach Boys' album, SMiLE, the music of the American Civil War, and representations of Native Americans in film and literature.

    American Frontiers 01 - Keepers of the Forest

    American Frontiers 01 - Keepers of the Forest

    To celebrate the launch of my new documentary on Amazon Prime, this new series explores the stories, history, and culture of the Kaingang tribe, providing a unique insight into the history of this people.

    Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance

    Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance

    Perhaps one of the most exciting moments in US history, the Harlem Renaissance was an explosion of art, literature, and performance in New York's Harlem burgh.  One of its foremost participants, Langston Hughes, produced some of the greatest poetry of his generation - words which challenged dominant racial stereotypes whilst celebrating Black identities in a time when they were often suppressed.  In this podcast, Dr. Darren R. Reid examines the role of Hughes and his first published work, "The Negro Dreams of Rivers".

    Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance

    Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance

    Perhaps one of the most exciting moments in US history, the Harlem Renaissance was an explosion of art, literature, and performance in New York's Harlem burgh.  One of its foremost participants, Langston Hughes,

    • video
    Custer's Revenge: Racism and Sexism in Early Videogames (Videogame History #2)

    Custer's Revenge: Racism and Sexism in Early Videogames (Videogame History #2)

    Custer's Revenge on the Atari 2600 is an almost uniquely horrifying celebration of casual racism, sexism, and sexual assault. Released back in 1982, this novelty videogame is a type of revenge fantasy in which George Custer must cross a field of falling arrows so that he can reach -and then rape- a Native American woman. To say that this game is in bad taste is an understatement. A toxic mix of racism and sexism, it celebrated masculinity in a crass and violent manner - a unique and fascinating (if repugnant) cultural artefact from the 1980s.

    • 4 min
    • video
    Custer's Revenge: Racism and Sexism in Early Videogames (Videogame History #2)

    Custer's Revenge: Racism and Sexism in Early Videogames (Videogame History #2)

    Custer's Revenge on the Atari 2600 is an almost uniquely horrifying celebration of casual racism, sexism, and sexual assault. Released back in 1982, this novelty videogame is a type of revenge fantasy in which George Custer must cross a field of falli...

    • 4 min
    • video
    01 - Videogame History: E.T. on the Atari 2600

    01 - Videogame History: E.T. on the Atari 2600

    E.T. by Atari is widely regarded as one of the worst videogames ever created. Based upon the wildly popular film Steven Spielberg, it was made in under six weeks by a single developer working on hardware that was, by 1982 standards, utterly archaic. The Atari 2600, the console on which the game was released, had just 128 bytes of RAM – not 128Kb of Ram, but 128 bytes. Building the game on such notoriously underpowered hardware at such ridiculously short notice was a catastrophe. $20 million had been spent by Atari on acquiring the license, but only a few thousand dollars were invested into the actual development of the game which was shipped in vast numbers. At least four million copies of E.T. were manufactured and though the game was initially a commercial success, selling upwards of one and a half million copies, it left a vast inventory unsold which Atari eventually shipped to a landfill site in Mexico and buried.

    The burial of hundreds of thousands of unsold E.T. cartridges was bad enough, but the game’s quality was so notoriously poor that the real damage was caused by the copies which were actually sold. The game found its way into a million and a half homes in time for Christmas, 1982 and, in so doing, helped to sour the American public’s taste in videogames, proving that a well-loved brand was no guarantee of quality. E.T., alongside several other notoriously bad Atari 2600 games from that same era, was an advertisement for why people should not want to play videogames and, in 1983, the market for computer games in the United States collapsed. To be sure, Atari was not the only company responsible for the market crash, but it was a massive contributor. By 1985 the value of videogame sales in the United States had declined from several billion dollars to perhaps one hundred million as consumers across the country lost trust and interest in the medium. E.T., for all its hype and initial success, practically destroyed a medium which had been growing massively since its explosion into American homes in the 1970s. E.T. was the anti-Pong.

    Other than a footnote in pop culture and business history, then, where does all of this leave the notoriously bad E.T? Is it as bad as its reputation would have us believe; is it really the worst videogame ever made? The simple answer to that question is no. In spite of the fact that it was rushed to market and that it is marred by some terrible design choices, Atari’s E.T. possess degree of charm, particularly when its six week production cycle is taken into account. Granted, one must sometimes look deep to uncover it whilst forgiving some pretty significant flaws, as a piece of retro Americana it carries appeal. The gameplay revolves around E.T.’s quest to assemble the phone that will allow him to ‘phone home’. In order to accomplish this, the titular character is able to move around a type low resolution quasi-open world. Players are forced to go in no one particular direction though there is little variety and little to see wherever they do go. As the player explores the world, such as it is, they find themselves chased by government agents, though the real threat faced by players is the game’s extremely buggy nature. The map is littered with pits, wherein the pieces of the phone are to be found, but falling into such craters is as much a matter of chance as it is a matter of design. Once in a pit, players must extend E.T.’s neck to ascend upwards but might well find that they become snared in a pit-loop, immediately falling back into the same hole from which they have emerged. Sometimes these loops can be broken, often they cannot...

    http://www.darrenreidhistory.co.uk

    • 6 min

Customer Reviews

shana mcgee ,

very nice

great job. i love the insight you bring to the comics and early cinema. Keep it up. Your the only one who really covers this kinda thing. And about the other comment, if it was made because of racism, then it is important to show why and how they convey that racism. 5 stars for you. ;)

krsdolbow ,

You've got me thinking.....

which is exactly what I was looking for. I don't want to gather new knowledge to file away in my grey matter. I want challenges to my old software, an intel chip this pod thing provides. Thanks!

Lopkijuh ,

The fun police have arrived and there will be no fun allowed

Is the Lone Ranger racist? Wow, what a struggle it was to get through this mess. It is people like this who teach in our universities and in one way or another just need to lighten up. Racial stereotypes, being offended by anything and everything, this is how this guy felt about watching the Lone Ranger. It must be sad to go through life thinking history of the past was all about racism, predjudice and unfairness related to color of skin or race. This person's view is obviously slanted left where everybody and everything is offensive unless they fall in line with their liberal views.

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