Civility, Gays and Gyms, and Mr. Rogers
Past Present Episode 137
In this episode, Natalia, Niki, and Neil debate recent claims that the Left is destroying civility in politics, the LGBTQ+ history of American gym culture, and a half-century of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:
- When White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave the Red Hen restaurant by its owner, many decried the incident as evidence of a decline in civility. Natalia cited historian William Chafe’s book Civilities and Civil Rights. At Vox, Niki wrote about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s own history of being called “uncivil.”
- An Indianapolis CrossFit location recently canceled a workout intended to celebrate Pride Month, and backlash was swift. Natalia wrote about the history of LGBTQ+ culture and American gyms for Slate and also cited historian David K. Johnson’s Journal of Social History article on male physique magazines. She talked more about the issue recently on the All About Fitness with Pete McCall podcast. Neil noted recent Past Present episodes on the “gayborhood” and the “twink” were relevant to this segment’s discussion.
- A new documentary takes a retrospective look at Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fifty years after its release. Natalia cited Aisha Harris’ review in Slate.
In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
- Natalia talked about Brooke Hauser’s biography of Helen Gurley Brown, Enter Helen: The Invention of Helen Gurley Brown and the Rise of the Modern Single Woman.
- Neil discussed the life and legacy of Koko the Gorilla, who recently died at 46.
- Niki recommended Anne Ewbank’s Atlas Obscura article, “The Tragic Roots of America’s Favorite Cherry.”