We explore ideas and practices once believed to be true but no longer. Each dead idea is explored in all its glorious eccentricity. For example, discover miasma, the theory that plague comes from stinky air; or the medical diagnosis of hysteria, which holds that women's wombs wander around their bodies causing trouble. Join us on a fun romp through the history of ideas that didn’t quite stand the test of time.
The All-Gay Army: Ancient Greece’s Sacred Band of Thebes: An Interview with James Romm
7.6.2021The Sacred Band of Thebes, comprised entirely of gay male lovers, was Ancient Greece’s original response to the gays in the military question. What was that like? How did it function? And what was its lasting legacy? That’s what we’re going to find out today, just in time for Pride Month. Here to help us do it is classicist James Romm, author of The Sacred Band: Three Hundred Theban Lovers Fighting to Save Greek Freedom. By the way, the New Yorker article referenced in the episode is "Ancient Greece's Army of Lovers" by Daniel Mendelsohn. Don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Support the show on Patreon at www.patreon.com/btnewberg and get a hand-drawn portrait. Research, writing, editing, and production by B. T. Newberg. Music and Logo Design by Rachel Westhoff. Additional credits, references, and more at www.deadideas.net.
Report From Minneapolis: Making Sense of the Riots Over George Floyd’s Death
30.5.2020My city is on fire today. This is day four of the riots in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police. And everyone around me is saying, “I’m angry too, but why destroy your own community? It doesn’t make sense.” But is there another way to look at it? In this episode, I share first-hand reports of the riots as well as experiences of income disparity in local schools. By looking behind the violence to the roots of disadvantage, can we turn confusion into empathy?
Covid Cabana: Top 5 Ways to Have Fun Despite the Coronavirus
27.3.2020This episode goes out to all of you at home out there during this pandemic, but we want to dedicate it especially to listener Owyn in Toronto, Canada. He’s faced a string of tough challenges recently, and now there’s the covid challenge on top of it all, but on the bright side, Owyn: it’s your 19th birthday today! Happy Covid 19th, Owyn! Be sure to support the show at www.patreon.com/btnewberg to get your portrait drawn! Music by Rachel Westhoff. Pics, references and more at http://www.deadideas.net.
Fascism II: The Silver Legion: A Real American Fascist Movement – American History
18.11.2019Did you know America spawned its very own homegrown fascist movement in the 1930s? Yup. The Silver Legion's William Dudley Pelley was the original Man in the High Castle. Or... at least he dreamed himself to be. Be sure to support the show at www.patreon.com/deadideaspod to get your portrait drawn! Music by Rachel Westhoff. Maps, pics, references and more at www.deadideas.net.
Fascism I: What Is Fascism, and Is Trump It? – Modern History
4.11.2019TRIGGER WARNING: Politics. Today we explore what characterized early 20th-century fascism, and then ask whether it's fair to call Trump fascist. Be sure to support the show at www.patreon.com/deadideaspod to get your portrait drawn! Music by Rachel Westhoff. Maps, pics, references and more at www.deadideas.net.
Introducing Our New Show: The History of Sex!
14.10.2019It's here! It's finally here! After a full year of development, our new show the History of Sex is here. Cruise on over to The History of Sex on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get podcasts. Also, an announcement: next month, we will have more Dead Ideas!
Best of the Best: Pulp Fiction/Da Derga’s Hostel Mashup – Irish History
25.8.2019It's another best of the best for you! This one has it all: romance, plunder, mimes - and it all ends in a bloodbath! This was our first mashup and it's still one of my favorite episodes. What are your faves? Let me know at [email protected] or on Facebook at @deadideaspod. Also, an update on our upcoming show The History of Sex: we're looking at a release date in October! It's coming up fast! This episode features a rockin' soundtrack by Brooklyn band Twin Guns. Be sure to support the show at www.patreon.com/deadideaspod to get your portrait drawn! Maps, pics, references, and more at www.deadideas.net. Music and graphic design by Rachel Westhoff. Map by Adam McKithern.
Best of the Best: Ghost in the Tablet – Gilgamesh/Ghost in the Shell Mashup – Sumerian History
30.6.2019We’re trying something new here on Dead Ideas. We have a sizeable back-catalog of episodes, many of which new listeners may never have heard, and which long-time listeners may have forgotten. So, we’re reprising classic episodes that are among the best of the best. One of my personal favorites is the finale episode from our cuneiform series. It’s a mash-up juxtaposing the story of the Sumerian hero Gilgamesh with the cyberpunk feel of the thriller Ghost in the Shell. See, one of the things I loved about studying the Sumerians, world’s oldest known city-building culture, is how surprisingly modern they feel. Thanks to the preservation of cuneiform tablets, we know more about them than, say, the Vikings or the Mongols. We even have their letters, giving us their most intimate thoughts and feelings, and that makes them feel strikingly recent – hence the futuristic cyberpunk elements. If you want more on the history of the Sumerians, by all means go back and listen to our full cuneiform series, which still stands as one of our best, but today’s episode stands on its own as a complete self-contained story. The oldest of the old meets the newest of the new in this Cyber-Sumerian retelling of the world’s most ancient epic. Enjoy. Featuring a haunting soundtrack by Belgian industrial band Militia. Be sure to support the show at www.patreon.com/deadideaspod to get your portrait drawn! Maps, pics, references, and more at www.deadideas.net. Music and graphic design by Rachel Westhoff. Map by Adam McKithern.
Put That City to the Sword: Julius Caesar Slaughters Avaricum, Feat. Neil Eckart – Roman History
26.5.2019When was the last time you put a city to the sword? It's not something we do much anymore today. But there was a day and age when it was quite normal to slaughter every last man, woman, and child in a captured city. Neil Eckart of the podcast War and Conquest returns to the show today to talk about Julius Caesar's slaughter of the Gaulish city of Avericum. Be sure to support the show at www.patreon.com/deadideaspod to get your portrait drawn! Music and graphic design by Rachel Westhoff. Maps, pics, references and more at www.deadideas.net.
Gender in Game of Thrones: Its Legacy
19.5.2019What will Game of Thrones be remembered for? I would argue it's not its supposed character realism, nor it's moral ambiguity. Rather, it will be its depiction of unusual gender identities in fantasy. No other major fantasy show that I can think of does that. In the spirit of our upcoming show the History of Sex, let's talk about gender in Game of Thrones! Be sure to support the show at www.patreon.com/deadideaspod to get your portrait drawn! Music and graphic design by Rachel Westhoff. Maps, pics, references and more at www.deadideas.net.