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VPR Commentaries 2008

Last Updated 2/13/2013 3:03:58 PM

Humanities Commentaries on VPR

2008

 

Historical Memory (12-29-08) Recent events have inspired commentator and Vermont Humanities Council executive director Peter Gilbert to think about how history informs the way we make sense of the present.

Milton Turns 400 (12-9-08)

Vermont Humanities Council executive director and commentator Peter Gilbert tells us that today marks the 400th anniversary of the birth of a man who's been called "one of the most significant writers and thinkers of all time."

Repeal of Prohibition (12-3-08)

This week we observe the seventy-fifth anniversary of the passage of the Twenty-first Amendment—which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment. And if you think that's just dull Constitutional legal history, think again. Here's commentator and executive director of the Vermont Humanities Council Peter Gilbert to explain.

Alistair Cooke at 100 (11-19-08)

Tomorrow is the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Alistair Cooke.  VPR commentator and Vermont Humanities Council Executive Director Peter Gilbert tells us about a new collection of Alistair Cooke's writings to commemorate the occasion.

Spanish Flu (10-24-08)

As we prepare for another flu season, and health officials warn of a possible worldwide flu epidemic, Vermont Humanities Council executive director and commentator Peter Gilbert looks back to the fall ninety years ago, when more people died in one year of the Great Flu Epidemic than in four years of the Bubonic Plague.

Manzanar and the Lone Ranger (10-16-08)

Recently, commentator and Vermont Humanities Council executive director Peter Gilbert went hiking in the Sierras of California. But where the hiking began and ended is the setting for today's story.

Wordsworth in the Tropics (9-30-08)

Like many Vermonters, Humanities Council executive director and commentator Peter Gilbert loves the natural world and the beauty of Vermont. But he knows that that isn't the whole story on nature, and he wonders if the way we think about our relationship with nature isn't changing.

Hawaiian Connection (9-10-08)

Barak Obama isn't the first Hawaiian-born, non-white candidate to make a serious bid for the presidency. Executive director of the Vermont Humanities Council and commentator Peter Gilbert has the story of the man who achieved that distinction 44 years ago.

Afghan Treasures (8-4-08)

Commentator and Vermont Humanities Council executive director Peter Gilbert tells us about a stunning exhibit of Afghani treasures—currently touring the United States—that took him back to his travels in Afghanistan.

New Yorker Cover (7-22-08)

The cover of a recent New Yorker magazine features a satirical drawing of Barak and Michelle Obama portrayed as Muslim terrorists in the Oval Office. As Vermont Humanities Council executive director and commentator Peter Gilbert explains, the resulting uproar has its roots in the very nature of satire and irony.

Poetic Rivalry (7-15-08)

It’s the time of year for hoeing one’s garden. Commentator and Executive Director of the Vermont Humanities Council Peter Gilbert tells us about a Robert Frost poem that seems to be about hoeing a garden and a roadside visit with a friend. But it may, in fact, set forth the terms of a poetic rivalry between two literary titans.

Frederick Douglass on 4th of July (7-2-08)

This summer the Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburg is featuring recordings of eight pivotal speeches by American abolitionists. Commentator and executive director of the Vermont Humanities Council Peter Gilbert says that one of them seems especially relevant today—as the Fourth of July approaches.

Commencement (6-11-08)

It's the season of commencement addresses. And commentator Peter Gilbert, the executive director of the Vermont Humanities Council, offers some advice for graduating students—and all of us—about the difference between goal-setting and the process of getting to that goal.

The Poetry of Pitching (6-3-08)

The New England Collegiate Baseball League season is here, and the champion Vermont Mountaineers play their first exhibition game tomorrow at Montpelier's Recreation Field on Elm Street at 5 o'clock. Commentator and Executive Director of the Vermont Humanities Council Peter Gilbert has some thoughts about the poetry of pitching.

Vermont is Legend (5-20-08)

Commentator and Vermont Humanities Council Executive Director Peter Gilbert is fascinated by how national media invoke Vermont as an idyllic place. But when he recently watched a movie that presents Vermont as a place apart—in a fallen world, he found a story teeming with symbolism.

Poetry Power (4-14-08)

April is National Poetry Month, and commentator and Vermont Humanities Council Executive Director Peter Gilbert has some thoughts about what keeps some people from reading poetry, how they can start, and why they should.

On Robert F. Kennedy’s Martin Luther King Speech (4-3-08)

This week marks the anniversary of Reverend Martin Luther King, Junior's assassination. In the decades since, there have been countless eulogies, speeches and testimony on what King meant to people. Minutes after the assassination, Robert F. Kennedy delivered news of King's death in one of the first such speeches. Kennedy left a lasting impression of King's spirit, and his own. Commentator Peter Gilbert has this reflection.

Extraordinary Knowing (3-31-08)

A big fan of used bookstores as well as libraries, Vermont Humanities Council executive director Peter Gilbert found a fascinating book amidst the miscellaneous volumes on the for sale-shelf at Burlington's Fletcher Free Library. And it has given him and his family a lot to think about.

Letter Power (3-14-08)

There's a new history mini-series beginning this weekend on HBO. And Vermont Humanities Council executive director and commentator Peter Gilbert has discovered an interesting connection between the series—and the U S Postal Service.

Functions of X (3-4-08)

When Vermont Humanities Council Executive Director and commentator Peter Gilbert thinks about voting, he thinks about ballots, which leads him to think about X—the twenty-fourth letter in the Roman alphabet—and the multiple meanings it has in our culture.

Hitler Anniversary (1-30-08)

Exactly seventy-five years ago today, Vermont Humanities Council Executive Director and VPR Commentator Peter Gilbert says there were political developments in Germany that had catastrophic consequences on a global scale.

Inauguration Day (1-23-08)

We don't yet know who it will be, but a year from now, we will have just inaugurated a new President. Commentator Peter Gilbert, executive director of the Vermont Humanities Council, reminds us that a few decades ago, Inauguration Day did not happen until March.

Keep Cold (1-8-08)

There's been much discussion in Vermont about the possible effects of global warming on Vermont's forests—dulling our brilliant autumn colors and harming or destroying the maple syrup industry.  As Executive Director of the Vermont Humanities Council, commentator Peter Gilbert often finds in literature and history connections that resonate with current concerns.  Recently he read in a poem by Robert Frost about another risk of warmer winters.

Commentaries by year:

2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003

 

 

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