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Friday Fun: Trivia And Comment

January 26, 2007

On this day in . . .

– 1926, Television was first demonstrated in London (J L Baird) [Source: HNN]

I had no idea that the invention was around this early. I’ve read Lynn Spigel’s Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America, but I somehow must’ve overlooked the invention details. Of course the date an object was “invented” is itself often a construction since many other technical inventions play a part in making something practically usable. That aide, this once again brings home the twentieth century’s accelerated rate of scientific and technical progress.

– 1939, “Filming begins on Gone With the Wind.” [Source: HNN]

By itself this tidbit isn’t terribly significant, except that it brings to mind a funny story involving my grandmother-in-law. Please indulge me for a moment. She is in her mid-90s, and I recall a conversation with her, a year or so ago, about the recent books she had read. She mentioned that she had recently reread Gone With the Wind and thought it stood up well against the test of time; the first time she read it she wasn’t as impressed. As we talked a bit more she said, “I remember when that came out.” And it struck me, at that point in the conversation, that she was no longer talking about the book, but about going to see the movie! That was 67 years ago, when she was in her mid-20s! It was then, with my historical training and love for history in mind, that I got a small sense of what it must be like to be in one’s nineties today. Think of everything she’s been through. I was blown away. I couldn’t – and still can’t – handle thinking about it.

– 1998, President Clinton said “I want to say one thing to the American people I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky” [Source: HNN & NYT]

This feels like yesterday to me. To a high schooler, I would bet my saying that feels to him or her somewhat like how I felt listening to my grandmother-in-law. As a popular culture moment (I hesitate to say political), this quote from Clinton ranks with the most memorable of his presidency.

– 2006, “Confronted by Oprah Winfrey on her syndicated talk show, author James Frey acknowledged lies in his addiction memoir A Million Little Pieces.” [Source: NYT]

I’m throwing this one in to complain. Does this event qualify as significant enough for the NYT to put it in its “This Day In History?” It’s been significant to me, as an historian interested in book clubs, reading, and print culture, but will the general public want to be reminded of this in 25-50 years? It just seems to me that in the future this will be small potatoes. – TL

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One Comment
  1. I agree – that last one is a stretch. Personally, I cared about it when it happened… but even a year later, I don't really care anymore. haha. So, yeah, imagine how little people will care 100 years from now! (If that item remains on the NYT list…)


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