The Rest Is History

Ancient intestines, presidential health conspiracies, and medieval acorns.

By Jaime Fuller

Friday, October 09, 2020

Printed patchwork fragment with image of President James A. Garfield, 1880. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, American Textile History Museum Collection, gift of Katharine Kreiser and Arthur Larson.

• “Poisons, plots, and psychic powers—why is the president’s health such fertile ground for the paranoid imagination?” (New York Times)

• “National memory is not a fixed thing; it can shift. It can be warped.” (Vox)

• “How the ‘Girl Watching’ Fad of the 1960s Taught Men to Harass Women.” (Jezebel)

• “What Makes ‘A People’s History’?” (Los Angeles Review of Books)

• “A new collaborative study by a group of scientists and historians finds a connection between the Spanish flu’s European outbreaks, including its most deadly one at the end of World War I, and a six-year period of atrocious weather taking place at the time, which blew in cold temperatures and torrential rain from the North Atlantic.” (Harvard Gazette)

• On the 1919 race massacre in Elaine, Arkansas: “The documentaries have been done, the articles have been written, the books have been written. They talked to the individuals here in Elaine, talked to the elderly that would talk. But once everybody left, what were we left with?” (Facing South)

• “The first recorded mushroom trip in Britain took place in London’s Green Park on October 3, 1799. Like many such experiences before and since, it was accidental.” (The Public Domain Review)

• “Monuments tell us about who we are, where we have been. So what does that entail when there are three women and fifty-three men represented in the San Francisco Civic Art Collection?” (KQED)

• “Professors are starting to orient Charles Darwin within a rich history of people from all cultures who have grappled with the mechanisms of life.” (Vice)

• “The antics in postwar Nordic children’s books left propaganda and prudery behind. We need this madcap spirit more than ever.” (Aeon)

• “Why ancient intestinal health is important now.” (Cosmos)

• “Charles Lindbergh Is the Reason We Still Don’t Have Cameras in the Courtroom.” (Slate)

• A medieval history of acorns. (

• “If Inglourious Basterds gives me any hope, it’s because it isn’t so much a vision of an alternate past as an invitation to craft an alternate future, one where justice can begin in the stories we tell, if we let it.” (Bright Wall/Dark Room)

• This week in obituaries: Eddie Van Halen, Kenzo Takada, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Derek Mahon, Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr., Quino, Peregrine Worsthorne, Mary O’Malley, Mohammad Reza Shajarian, Georgina Mace, Maynard Solomon, Clark Middleton, Johnny Nash, Jim Dwyer, Murray Schisgal, Soraya Santiago Solla, and Steve Barnes.