In this episode of Past Present, Natalia, Niki, and Neil debate the White House’s announcement to end DACA, the death of New Age guru and publisher Louise Hay, and the prospect of an all-female Lord of the Flies remake.
We discussed the recent history of DACA and its unique policy history; we all found this Vox article by Dara Lind helpful.
New Age pioneer Louise Hay died last week, leaving millions of her readers and followers bereft. We discussed how her strain of positive thinking has shaped the self-help genre, as Boris Kachka argues in New York, and that it has early origins in 19th-century New Thought, a movement Harvey Green explores in his book Fit For America. Natalia referred to Barbara Ehrenreich’s searing critique of the world Hay helped create in her book Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America.
All-Female Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies is being remade with an all-women’s cast, but with an all-male writing team. We debated the limits of this strategy as a form of feminist liberation, and Niki cited an article in The Lily that made that argument.
What’s Making History
- Natalia discussed Esther Perel’s article in The Atlantic “Why Happy People Cheat” and surmised that it signals a shift in American morality.
- Neil commented on a new interpretation of the Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928) put forth in the New York Times: that the measure often used by historians as an example of failed idealism actually succeeded in changing the nature of global warfare.
- Niki talked about the “better baby” contests of the early 20th century, which exemplify how eugenics and Progressivism converged.