Americans & gangster films; earliest use of the F-word?; a corpse burst from the ground; high school teachers & history; tragedy in MS.

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With a new movie coming out about Whitey Bulger, Rutgers University professor Bruce Chadwick theorizes about why we love gangster movies so much. Although my professional field is Antebellum and Civil War history, I fancy myself sort of a film history “buff,” and I humbly do not completely agree with his assessment (though mostly.) How can you not recognize the critique that such films make about unfettered capitalism? I would also have emphasized more than he does that most gangster films tend to depict the violence as self contained, with them killing each other but leaving us alone. (Which, by the way, is one reason The Sopranos often annoyed me—they sometimes messed up that formula.). Still, this is an interesting question and an interesting read with a bit of film history.

Did you guys see the cool new Civil War animated map that the Civil War Trust has put online?

Ok check this one out: an historian believes that he has found the first written record of the use of the F word, in a 1310 court record. Don’t fail to read this one because you’ll get a kick out of the defendant’s name.

Here’s our macabre news of the day: a medieval corpse recently burst from the ground in Ireland. Find out why.

Tell us something we don’t know: a new study reveals that a large number of high school history teachers have no educational background in history (but definitely in coaching!). Trust me, this is fully revealing itself in the level of history education and understanding that students bring to college. (And yes, even those that took AP courses).

Lastly, this is surely NOT the way I’d like to see history in the headlines: The victim of the shooting at Delta State was history professorĀ Ethan Schmidt. (It appears that this was not a random shooting, and perhaps the result of a love triangle). Tragic. Here’s an AHA “spotlight” on him from a couple of years ago. A stunning and horrific turn of events.

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