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Another Disappointing Disney Biography

Hourly History’s short bio of Walt Disney lets readers down, but not for the typical reasons.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been a fan of the Hourly History book series. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re short histories or biographies that are written to be read in an hour or less. I love finding an Hourly History book about an era or person with whom I’m not familiar and getting a quick education.

I signed up for the Hourly History newsletter a few months back because they offer several free e-books every week. Not long ago, one of the free books was a bio of Walt Disney. As a Disney fanatic – and somewhat of an amateur Disney historian – I was intrigued to see what the Hourly History treatment would bring to the long list of Walt Disney biographies.

Book Review: Neil Gorsuch’s A Republic, If You Can Keep It

Wanted: Civics and Civility

If we are fortunate, the Civil War will be the last time we face destruction by a fire set with our own hands. The threat is now dry-rot, that spreads like a fungus from our lack of understanding of our nation’s fundamental principles, and the lack of communication skills needed to convey them to our fellow citizens. A Republic, If You Can Keep It by Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch is a plea on both counts.

Book Review: Rick and Morty and Philosophy

Rick and Morty and Philosophy is an installment in the deep “and Philosophy” series of books. What can you get out of this book mining an Adult Swim cartoon for wisdom?

A Look at “Bladerunner 2049 and Philosophy”

The “And Philosophy” series of books by Open Court Press generally involves two dozen philosophers giving their take on science fiction books, TV shows and movies. I’ve reviewed several of their more recent books like “The Handmaid’s Tale and Philosophy” and “Bladerunner 2049 and Philosophy”.

The “Bladerunner” is a deep franchise by design. The first movie makes you ask yourself what makes you human while encapsulating a very Biblical narrative of a fallen angel rebelling (and killing) his creator. Roy Batty kills not only his creator but the holy trinity of sorts, the creator of eyes/wisdom and the son of his creator, the rather innocent Jesus-analog. “Bladerunner 2049” begins with the birth of a child, the revelation of which threatens to overturn the moral order and liberate an oppressed people. At the same time, a corporate King seeks to claim the child (and likely dissect him/her) while his right hand angel kills, maims, and deceives to follow her false God’s will. Niander Wallace’s god-complex is his only well-defined, personal characteristic aside from being blind. He just wants to possess and likely corrupt the child to build an army to storm heaven. He’s compared to the Demiurge or false material world god in one of the “Blade Runner 2049 and Philosophy” chapters.

Robespierre’s Radical Liberalism: Reflections on Ruth Scurr’s Fatal Purity

Were Robespierre and the Jacobins Proto-Socialists?

Having recently finished Ruth Scurr’s biography on Robespierre, Fatal Purity, I have had my world turned upside down on the actions of Robespierre and the course of the French Revolution. Don’t get me wrong, I still think the French Revolution was a disaster, a massively overblown response to legitimate grievances against the ancien regime. But Scurr’s biography blew apart many preconceptions that I had about what the French Revolutionaries really wanted, the differences between the various revolutionary factions, and the conditions that lead to the infamous Committee of Public Safety that summarily executed thousands of innocent French citizens.

Like any biography, particularly one about a controversial figure such as Robespierre, Scurr’s biography is subject to different criticisms. She seems to me to try to be objective as possible, but of course, no history is perfect, and is always subject to different interpretations. This being said, the book seems to be generally favorably reviewed, and I am no expert on the French Revolution, so I am not going to review the book. Instead, I am just going to make some general observations about things I learned and what some valuable lessons from Robespierre’s life and role in the French Revolution could be.

I think the most important myth that Scurr’s book shatters is that Robespierre and the Jacobins were some kind of Proto-Socialists. This is a view held by both Robespierre’s admirers and detractors.