history

07 Jan 2020

Absinthe Isn’t Special and You Aren’t Special for Drinking It

by Xan Holbrook I see you there. You’re twirling your Hercule Poirot ‘stache, adjusting your pince-nez specs and drinking espresso from a cup so small you hold it with tweezers. Sitting there, in your Fort Greene café, keeping an eye on the Penny-Farthing you rode here on. Watching the world

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31 Dec 2019

The History Behind New Years Resolutions

Resolutions, like wishes, like dreams, are ostensibly reachable, hopefully, feasible goals that many of us around the globe try desperately to hold ourselves to in the new year. Depending on your perspective of the whole thing, you may not even think about resolutions, maybe concerned solely about where you’re going

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16 Dec 2019

Christopher Columbus was the 15th Century’s Epstein

by Xan Holbrook Little of the phony gravitas of Christopher Columbus remains nowadays. Not the first man to discover the Americas, nor the one who proved the world was round, nor a pious man, not even a man who loved the land he found… Columbus is an empty icon. More

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09 Dec 2019

The War on Clap: How the Allies Fought VD

by Xan Holbrook There’s a wonderful phrase that the idiot-savants at the British Army Rumour Service, or ARRSe, love to employ to describe something truly invincible. That term is squaddy proof. The thinking goes something like this: you can build something, spend billions testing it in civilian circles, and claim

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04 Dec 2019

Thank God for Schlock: Exploitation Films with Christian Financiers

by Xan Holbrook One recurring treat (among many) for the Bill Hicks fan is his theatrical disdain and revulsion for drug prohibition. Such a passionate hatred proved an excellent vehicle to showcase his near mastery of prose and rhetoric. In one of my favorite bits, he inverted the stifled, crusty

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26 Nov 2019

America Ruined the Temperance Movement

by Xan Holbrook The Mafia are a disgrace to our species. The true stories of the Mafia – of people too inept to handle laundry, too mediocre to hold someone’s hand or kiss a cheek, yet so brutal as to pull the richest nation’s strings – are at once horrifying,

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21 Oct 2019

How Booze Helped Britain Conquer a Quarter of the World

by Xan Holbrook As a people, we Britons are stereotyped according to our drinking habits. This usually falls into the twee joshing about tea, as Americans love to remind us with teeth-grinding regularity. However, it is no exaggeration to say that the British love of alcohol is fabric-of-the-nation stuff. But,

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25 Sep 2019

The Strange Economy of Fake Urine

by Hannah Harkness One day, when I was relaying my usual drug-testing rant to a fellow stand-up comic, they responded “Oh yeah, and you can just jump those tests with fake piss anyway. I got a job at a children’s hospital doing that.” Before this point, I’d only ever heard

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