Thursday, February 26, 2009

Favorite Podcast of the Week, Episode 1

Well, yes, the podcasting is going very well. I've discovered quite a number of podcasters that I can rely on, including several who regularly feature historical stories-- American Radio Works, Radio Diaries, Nextbook, The Moth. Though I confess that I have other interests as well! and thus I also like listening to, for instance, Slate's Culture Gabfest, which keeps me up to date on things I can't believe I don't have time to read about anymore in the Arts & Leisure section of the paper.

Anyhow, I had this idea. One week, after listening to two really wonderful podcasts about two completely separate events from 1968, I started thinking that I'd like to curate listening experiences here; that is, to collect, in one place, a set podcasts that either have obvious connections, or not-so-obvious connections, and then annotate them and provide art, and primary documents, and other resources in one spot. And I might still do that, at some point. But I've been wrecked and time-consumed on account of this book I'm writing (its at the publisher's by the way, thanks G-d). So no time for all that. Still, I wanted at least do something, so here's the low-impact first episode version of this idea.

"Mexico 1968." If you click here, you can find both the podcast, and a set of resources that Radio Diaries has compiled about the Mexican student movement of 1968, and the tragic events that, literally and figuratively, killed it. The event is something of a historical mystery, even despite the fact that many people who were there are still alive-- the official reports claimed 4 students were shot dead during the Massacre of Tlatelolco. But others claim that in fact hundreds died. The audio piece is a really well-done oral history-based documentary, one that reminded me, at least, that no matter how much I've read about the 1960s, I still don't know half of the story. Indeed, in the U.S. we tend to think of the protest movements of the '60s as being centered in the U.S. Hardly the case, Europe exploded, Latin America, Africa. The whole world was on fire. And we have to keep trying to find ways to tell those stories, and to combat the left-leaning sort of American exceptionalism.

Here's a nice supportive set of documents: Kate Doyle, of the National Security Archive, has collected recently declassified U.S. documents related to the U.S. government's intelligence about the student movement and the Mexican government's attempts to quell it. They can be found here.