Franco Columbu, Kamala Harris, and NYC’s Gifted and Talented Program
Past Present Episode 195
In this episode, Neil, Niki, and Natalia discuss the legacy of late bodybuilder Franco Columbu, the candidacy of Kamala Harris, and a proposal to eliminate selective testing for New York City public high schools.
Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:
- Italian bodybuilding icon Franco Columbu has died. Niki referred to the film Pumping Iron, in which he appeared with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Natalia cited the importance of physician Kenneth Cooper’s 1968 book Aerobics in both mainstreaming the idea of working out and challenging the pre-eminence of weightlifting as a dominant form of exercise.
- Kamala Harris is running for president, and working to establish an enthusiastic base. Neil recommended Dana Goodyear’s New Yorker profile of Harris. Niki recommended Elizabeth Hinton’s book From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America.
- New York City is considering scrapping test-based admissions to its selective high schools, causing intense controversy. Neil cited Kyle Smith’s New York Post op-ed defending the system. Natalia and Niki both recommended historian Ellen Wu’s book Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority, and Natalia cited historian Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life and historian Tom Sugrue’s Twitter thread on the New York City controversy. Niki referred to historian Jean Theoharis’s book The Strange Careers of the Jim Crow North: Segregation and the Struggle Outside the South.
In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
- Natalia recommended a new Luminary podcast about Ivanka Trump, Tabloid.
- Neil discussed Joshua Sokol’s New York Times piece, “Florida’s Panthers Hit With Mysterious Crippling Disorder.”
- Niki shared Ben Smith’s Buzzfeed News piece, “A Top White House Reporter is Taking Over the Washington Free Beacon.”