In this week’s episode of Past Present, Niki, Natalia, and Neil debate jury selection in the Bill Cosby trial, Wonder Woman and feminism, and the fidget spinner.
The Cosby Trial
In light of jury selection that has begun for Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial, we discussed the history of trial-by-jury. Commentators have drawn links between Cosby’s trial and the O.J. Simpson’s high-profile court case, something we discussed in Episode 25. Natalia recommended Estelle Freedman’s Redefining Rape for understanding how ideas of gender have shaped the history of sexual assault trials.
A new Wonder Woman movie will be released on June 2. Natalia wrote a review for Public Books of several recent books on Wonder Woman, including Jill Lepore’s The Secret History of Wonder Woman and Noah Berlatsky’s Wonder Woman. Natalia also found herself agreeing with an essay in The Federalist by Leslie Loftis that argued Wonder Woman was a pop culture figure that seemed to offend everyone.
Fidget spinners are the latest toy craze, coveted by both kids and adults. Neil compared fidget spinners to the other popular toy of the moment, the Kendama, while Niki situated them in a history of toy crazes, like the Pet Rock. Natalia commented on Rebecca Mead’s New Yorker article that deemed fidget spinners the perfect toy for the age of Trump, and recommended Gary Cross’s history of toys, Kids’ Stuff.
What’s Making History
- Natalia commented on Molly Young’s New York Times Magazine article, “How Amanda Chantal Bacon Perfected the Celebrity Wellness Business.”
- Neil discussed the reemergence of graphology.
- Niki talked about the physical attack of the Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs by the Montana Congressional candidate Greg Gianforte.