Impressions of America: History Podcast
By Impressions of America
Impressions of America: History PodcastMar 19, 2022
Hollywood Monopolies, Streaming, & the WGA/SAG-AFTRA Strikes
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn discuss the historical context from the 1940s through today for the monopolistic actions of today's streaming companies, the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, and the direct action individuals can take to help.
Christmas Film Review and End of Year Roundup
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn celebrate Christmas by diving into a modern Christmas classic, Klaus (2019). We then take a look back at the year, both on the show and in American politics.
A big thank you to all our listeners and guests who have made 2022 such a special year for the podcast. Apologies for some slight sound quality issues with this episode that were due to some technical issues on the recording.
Politics - The 2022 Midterm Elections with Ian Saxine
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn were joined by historian and author Ian Saxine to discuss some of the big stories from the 2022 midterm elections, including John Fetterman defeating Dr Oz in Pennsylvania, a big night for Ron DeSantis in Florida, and what might be next for Beto O'Rourke. And stay listening to the end of the episode for some Ross Perot discussion (and impressions).
Cuba and Operation Pedro Pan with John Gronbeck-Tedesco
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn are joined by historian and author John Gronbeck-Tedesco to discuss his new book Pedro Pan: The Migration of Unaccompanied Children from Castro's Cuba. We discuss the 1959 Cuban Revolution, its impact on the Cuban parents who made the choice to have their children leave the country, and the ongoing legacy of Cuban immigration.
NASA During The Cold War with Brian Odom
The Paramount Accords
In this bonus episode, Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn look at the Paramount Accords and discuss the ramifications for the film industry on them being repealed. And at the end of the show we re-introduce ourselves for any new listeners, and discuss some of our favourite episodes of Impressions of America from the past four years.
Taking the Family to Disneyland: Mental Escapism from Atomic Threats
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn discuss Vaughn's research into Disneyland and its place in post-war America. We look at how Walt Disney created a theme park unlike any other and use Disney's other forms of media to promote it.
Talking History with Ian Gordon
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn are joined by historian Ian Gordon to discuss all things history, including the books that inspired us to study the subject, finding areas of study you're passionate about, and how new technologies and platforms such as podcasts and online learning are changing how history is being taught.
The Modern Democratic Party – with Ian Saxine
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn are joined by historian Ian Saxine to discuss how the Democratic party have fared in comparison to other centre left parties in the West in the 21st century, and look at how they have responded to challenges from the Republican party during that time. We also dive into the history of the party in modern times after the political realignments that took place in the mid-20th century, and discuss how that continues to impact the party today.
And check out Ian’s history podcast @MainelyHistory
Conservative and Liberal Halls of Fame - Round 2
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn discuss what the terms ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ mean to them, and then they each give their nominations for the Conservative and Liberal Halls of Fame, which they originally created back in 2021.
George W. Bush - Second Term Troubles
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn conclude their series of shows on George W. Bush by looking at his second term as president. We cover a range of topics, including the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the NSA's domestic spying program, Hurricane Katrina, the 2006 mid-term elections, and the 2008 great recession. And at the end of the show we discuss Bush’s legacy.
The Cold Civil War
Simon and Vaughn discuss the ongoing troubles in America and look at the ‘Cold Civil War’ that is taking place right now.
The Multiverse of Impressions Podcasts
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn take a break from usual business to talk about the other podcasts that we work on, including The Joy of Star Wars and The Golden Age of Murder. We also let Vaughn rant about Dr. Oz running for Senator in her home state of Pennsylvania.
The Big Short – with Felix Salmon
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn are joined by Felix Salmon from the Slate Money podcast to discuss the 2015 film The Big Short. We look at how the film depicts the events of the housing market crash of 2008 and discuss what the films gets right and what it gets wrong. And stay tuned to the end of the episode to find out what Vaughn thinks about trading water as a commodity.
George W. Bush – September 11th, Afghanistan, and Iraq
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn continue their series of episodes on President George W. Bush by looking at the events and immediate fallout of the September 11th terrorist attacks, as well as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Will Smith, The Oscars, and Don't Say Gay Bill
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn discuss Will Smith slapping Chris Rock and dive into a brief history of the Oscars. They then discuss some other recent news stories, including Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, and Donald Trump hitting a hole in one. Also, Simon says nice things about Tobi and Vaughn, much to the shock of Tobi and Vaughn.
The Vietnam War and The Serpent Papers – with Jeff Schnader
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn are joined by novelist Jeff Schnader to discuss his Vietnam War era novel, The Serpent Papers.
George W. Bush and the 2000 Election
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn start their new mini-series of shows on the George W. Bush presidency by looking at the 2000 election and his battle with Al Gore to become president.
Marvel, the MCU, and Modern Cinema
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn are joined by Dominic Tunney to discuss the history of comic books, comic book movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and how modern cinema has changed over the past two decades.
Masculinity at the End of History: Late '90s Cinema with Adam Nayman
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn are joined by author and film critic Adam Nayman to look at the cinema of the late 1990s and in particular films such as Fight Club and The Matrix that portray the common theme of white men in comfortable office jobs rejecting their reality in search of a greater purpose.
Ellen Schrecker Interview - The Lost Promise
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by historian Ellen Schrecker to discuss her latest book The Lost Promise: American Universities in the 1960s.
Favourite Films and End of Year Awards
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn each pick 2 films that meant a lot to them as a teenager, and then we hand out our first end of year Impressions Awards. We also briefly mention our new upcoming Star Wars podcast, and at the end of the show we celebrate Christmas and have Vaughn read from A Christmas Carol.
You can follow our new Star Wars podcast on Twitter @JoyOfStarWars. The first episode will be available in January.
Professional Wrestling in America
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn discuss the history of professional wrestling in America. We chat about our own personal interest in wrestling when we were growing up, and then look at the history of the business, and in particular the growth of the WWE. We also discuss the links between politics and wrestling, and Vaughn explains the specific importance of wrestling to her when she was young.
Politics - Rudy Giuliani, JFK Jr., and Big Bird
Richard Nixon on Film
Simon and Tobi delve into the topic of Richard Nixon on Film and discuss 3 films that depict President Nixon at various points in his life, as well as looking at the larger media representation of Richard Nixon.
Los Angeles on Film
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn head to Los Angeles for the final episode of the American on Film series (at least for now - more coming next year!). We start the episode with a brief modern history of the city from Vaughn, before we then dive into the 9 films we have selected that are set in the City of Angels. Also, one of the films selected in this episode features Tobi's favourite 2 minutes in film history.
Politics - Vaughn's Return and the American Hellscape
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn discuss Vaughn’s visit to America and then dive into various news stories – including Biden and Afghanistan, the California Recall Election, and Trump eyeing the 2024 election. Also, Vaughn gets to talk about Star Wars.
Chicago on Film
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn continue the America on Film series by looking at Chicago on Film. They discuss six films set in the Windy City, and Vaughn gives an overview of the modern history of the city at the start of the show. Also, our intro music has a Chicago themed remix thanks to Tobi.
John F. Kennedy and Religion – with Patrick Lacroix
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by author and historian Patrick Lacroix to discuss his book John F. Kennedy and the Politics of Faith. We look at Kennedy’s background, the role religion played in the 1960 election, his time in office, and the legacy of electing America’s first Catholic president. Also, Tobi declares his love for Joe Biden and Simon defends Richard Nixon’s honour.
George Soros and Hedge Funds – with Sebastian Mallaby
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by journalist and author Sebastian Mallaby to discuss billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros - from his early years in Hungary during WWII, through his career in the financial world, to his involvement in philanthropy and political donations which have made him a boogieman for Republicans.
Philadelphia on Film
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn continue their America on Film series with Vaughn’s hometown of Philadelphia. Vaughn kicks off the show with a brief history of the city and then we go through six films that are set in Philadelphia. And yes, Rocky is one of them. Also, stay to the end for Vaughn's recommendations for Philly cheesesteaks.
The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War - with Louis Menand
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by Pulitzer Prize winning scholar and critic Louis Menand to discuss his latest book The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War. To help us we are also joined by returning guest Alex Sayf Cummings.
July 4th, Joe Biden and Patriotic Films
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn wish you all a happy July 4th, talk about Joe Biden’s first (roughly) 6 months in charge, and then discuss patriotic films. Also, Vaughn drinks and Simon loses track of Vaughn’s swearing.
The Fairness Doctrine - With Victor Pickard
Tobi is joined by Professor Victor Pickard to talk about the origins and unraveling of the Fairness Doctrine. They also discuss the origins of the FCC, the limits of media regulation in the mid 20th century and how the Fairness Doctrine was eventually removed.
Boston on Film
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by friend of the show Jeff Lucia to look at Boston on Film, with a focus on six films that depict the city. This is the second episode of our America on Film series - our previous episode was on New York on Film.
New York on Film
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn start a new series of episodes looking at some key American cities on film. And we’re starting with New York! We each picked 3 films to talk about that capture the energy of New York, as well as discussing the city and the topic in broader terms.
The intro to this episode features music and film clips from New York movies, including use of a montage from Movieclips Trailers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0_rHbGCpLU&list=LL&index=2&t=53s
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn look at the life and career of legendary news anchor Walter Cronkite, from his early years as a journalist covering the Second World War, through his time on television in the 1950s and onto becoming the news anchor for CBS in the 1960s where he reported on some of the biggest stories of the 20th century, including the assassination of President Kennedy, the Vietnam War, and the Moon landing. Also, can Vaughn connect Walter Cronkite to It’s a Wonderful Life? Find out at the end of this episode.
The New Conservatives - With Joshua Tait
Simon is joined by historian Joshua Tait to discuss the New Conservatives who came about after the Second World War. We talk about the origins of the movement, its key figures and what happened after the movement died. We also look at the Republican party of today and discuss Trump’s impact.
Star Wars: Attack of the Vaughn
It finally happened; Vaughn has got her episode on Star Wars! We look at the films and TV shows of the Star Wars universe and discuss how they reflect American history. We also go in depth on some of the key philosophical and political themes of Star Wars. Plus, make sure to stick around to the end of the episode to listen to some Star Wars hot takes from Vaughn (including her defence of the prequels).
Politics - Biden's First 100 Days and Republican Horror Stories
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn discuss President Biden’s first 100 days in office and look at his successes and failures. We also look at the continued adventures of the Republican party and all the dreadful things they do. Also, how have the people of Scotland been doing without the Duke of Edinburgh around to lead them? Simon gives an update.
Conservative and Liberal Halls of Fame
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn each pick candidates for Conservative and Liberal Halls of Fame. Stay tuned to the end when they discuss which fictional characters would also make it in. Also, Tobi turned out to be the least cynical person on this topic - who saw that coming?
The West Wing with Dave Anthony
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by comedian, actor, screenwriter and podcaster Dave Anthony to discuss Aaron Sorkin's political TV drama The West Wing.
Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal with Michael Isikoff
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by investigative journalist Michael Isikoff to discuss his role in investigating the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. Stay tuned to the end of the episode for the co-hosts discussing their thoughts on their trilogy of shows on Bill Clinton.
American Patriotism - With Ben Railton
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by author Ben Railton to discuss his latest book Of Thee I Sing: The Contested History of American Patriotism. We also chat about wider themes of patriotism and nationalism, as well as discussing specific individuals, from Andrew Jackson and Donald Trump, to Colin Kaepernick and Ronald Reagan.
The Clinton Presidency
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn look at Bill Clinton’s time in office – specifically his first term, the 1994 mid-terms and the Republican Revolution. We also briefly look at the 1996 election, meaning Vaughn gets to discuss Ross Perot again. We also cover the Waco Siege and Tobi solves history.
The New Democrats with Alex Hochuli
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by Alex Hochuli from the Aufhebunga Bunga Podcast to discuss the New Democrats and their rise in the late 80s and early 90s. We also chat with Alex about his new book The End of the End of History. Also, Vaughn gets to talk about her favourite subject: Ross Perot.
Politics - January 6th - Storming of the Capitol
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn discuss the events of January 6th where Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol. We also look at what it means for America to see Washington, D.C. under attack. Later in the episode we look at the Georgia runoff election results and what they mean for President-elect Joe Biden. And finally we wildly speculate on what these events may mean for the future of the Republican party.
A Very Merry Impressions Christmas Special
In this special Christmas episode, Simon, Tobi and Vaughn look at Vaughn’s PHD thesis on post-war Christmas films and later in the episode they play some Christmas games, including Vaughn deciding the greatest Christmas film ever made. Also, is Australia a legitimate country? Tobi has some thoughts.
Carter, Bush and Trump - One-term Presidents
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn look at the three most recent presidents to lose an election - Jimmy Carter in 1980, George H. Bush in 1992 and Donald Trump in 2020. Also, Simon goes on a journey to understand whether Ross Perot was a Himbo or not.
Malcolm X (1992) Film Review
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by writer and friend of the show Moises to discuss Spike Lee's 1992 film Malcolm X starring Denzel Washington.