About This Site
The Pop History Dig is a website about contem- porary culture and popular history. What you will find here is a collection of stories that focus on the history and power of popular culture – its people, its politics, and its business.
One goal of the site is to use the visibility of pop culture events and famous personalities to engage readers on topics ranging from civil rights history to the economics of entertainment. Stories about rock ‘n roll music, Hollywood celebrities, and famous sports stars are part of the mix here, but so are stories about big business mergers, presidential election politics, and Madison Avenue advertising. Biography, business history, and nostalgia are found here as well. Some stories on business and public policy are serious and detailed, while others on music, film, and sport offer lighter fare.
One story on Jack Kennedy’s early political career focuses on Profiles of Courage, a book he wrote while a U.S. Senator. That story explores the intersection of publishing and politics. However, in another story, Kennedy’s association with Hollywood’s Frank Sinatra and the “Rat Pack” during JFK’s 1960 presidential campaign is the focus – part of the “Hollywood-Washington axis” as some have called it. That arena is also visited in two other stories focusing, respectively, on the Democratic and the Republican presidential campaigns of 1968. One of the site’s intentions, in fact, is to show the increasing confluence of culture and politics, culture and business, culture and the social context.Founded in 2008, The Pop History Dig is now attracting visitors from more than 8,000 cities in 170 countries. PopHistoryDig stories have been cited by a variety of newspapers and news organizations, including: CNBC.com, The Denver Post, Forbes.com, TheGuardian.com (London), Los Angeles Times, MSNBC.com, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Salon.com, The Seattle Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Wichita Eagle, and others.
Given proximate queries, PopHistoryDig stories also appear on the first and second search-results pages of Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines. Schools, colleges and universities cite and/or link to PopHistoryDig stories for course work and reference lists. Various Wikipedia entries also include PopHistoryDigreferences and/or story links.Scholastic, educational reference, museum, and history-based websites have also listed or linked to the PopHistoryDig including: H-Net.org, HistoryNet.com, SocialStudies.com, SmithsonianMag.com, The 1968 Exhibit of the Minnesota Historical Society, and others. Numerous blogs, independent websites and social media have listed or linked to PopHistoryDig stories, including: AAPLinvestors.net, BoingBoing.net, Facebook, Pinterest.com, Reddit.com, Tumbler.com, Twitter.com, StumbleUpon.com, WhoRuns Gov.com, Yahoo!Voices, and YouTube, among others.
As visitors from these and other sites are discovering, The Pop History Dig is a place to learn about cultural, political, and entertainment history, whether occurring decades ago or just last week. It is also a place to consider the importance of cultural events and their impact on society, politics, and business.
The Mix of Stories
Story choices at The Pop History Dig range across music, film, sports, politics, advertising and business. Bob Dylan and Billie Holiday have stories here that cover their music, but also civil rights history. Norman Rockwell’s art for the Saturday Evening Post and Look magazines is the subject of two stories here, one of which also focuses on civil rights. Hillary Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole, and Sarah Palin are mentioned in stories about pop music and political campaigns. The 1960s’ Los Angeles Dodgers’ baseball star, Sandy Koufax is featured in a story about his historic feat of winning three Triple Crowns for pitching. These stories and others vary in length, but most are longer than a typical blog. They usually seek to cover new ground or offer new takes on older stories. Most are also visually rich with photos, sidebars, and other graphics, hoping to engage readers on several levels. Some contain music or video files, while others link to YouTube or other video and music sites. The intention, in any case, is to inform and educate, and also probe the influence of culture on daily life.Some PopHistoryDig stories have substantial biographical content, as in profiles of Bill Bradley, Janis Joplin, Barbra Streisand, Taylor Swift, Tina Turner, and The Ronettes, for example. Others delve into the political personality and its impact on society, as in at least three stories here involving Richard Nixon. Other stories focus on technology, as in the rise of the Apple Computer Company in 1976-1985 period, or how the arrival of talking motion pictures upset the status quo of the silent film establisment in late 1920s Hollywood. The use of celebrities in advertising is also a category covered here with several stories, some focusing on tobacco ads featuring movie stars like Al Jolson and John Wayne, or notable athletes such as baseball’s Babe Ruth, 1930s tennis star, Ellsworth Vines, and New York Giants football halfback, Frank Gifford.
Books and publishing are part of the beat here as well; not only how best-sellers such as John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath become historically and socially significant, but also how other books like Love Story or The Bridges of Madison County have led to gigantic box office showings as Hollywood films – and in these cases, how the books also provoked debate over literary value. Other books, such as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring of 1962, are covered for how they changed public opinion and public policy.One story here about the rise of C-SPAN, the public affairs cable TV network that covers Congress, not only lays out C-SPAN’s history, but also how that network has provided an amazing range of public affairs programming, not least of which are its “Book TV” offerings and guest interview programs such as Q&A.
On a lighter turn, Mickey Mantle’s home runs are covered here, and so is Madonna’s music– the latter in connection with a 1980s Pepsi advertising campaign. Lady Gaga has a story here as well, focused on a TV ad she did for Google. That story is as much about Google’s growing media power as it is Lady Gaga.
A long story on Apple’s very successful “dancing silhouettes” advertising campaign for its iPod music player is a story about technology, but also the power of music, image, and cultural hipness. It is also a story about bottom-line business success, soaring iPod sales, and how the cultural elements in an integrated global advertising campaign helped send one company to the very top of the Global 100.
There are media histories here as well – one of Ted Tuner’s CNN, another touching on part of Rupert Murdoch’s empire, and a third on the rise of ESPN, the “all-sports” cable TV network. Billionaire Warren Buffett has a story here too – on how he attained a kind of mainstream celebrity which he later used to good ends. And there are lots of other stories – on the music of the 1960s, baseball history, Vanity Fair political art in the 1930s, the rise and power of the Beatles, and many more.To choose a story, simply go to the Home Page, or any of its extensions, and click on a thumbnail photograph or live-linked story title, to go to that story. Category pages, listed on the navigation bar in the upper left-hand corner of the site, offer similar thumbnail descriptions and links to stories in “Music,” Politics,” “Publishing,” and other categories.
A period archive in the upper right hand corner lists stories by decade, each with brief descriptions and live links. At the end of every story, there is a separate section entitled “Sources, Links & Additional Informa- tion,” which includes the story’s sources, related links, additional information and often extra photographs related to the story.
Donations from individuals, businesses, foundations, and other institutions to support the work of this website are welcomed and encouraged. All such support will be used to sustain and support the site’s operations and to help pay for research, writing, composition, and editing of all stories and also for site upgrades and technical support. To make a donation please go to the “Donate” option via the upper left navigation bar, or click on “Donate Now” in the small blue-gray “Donate” boxes that appear at the end of each story. All questions regarding funding arrangements can be directed to Jack Doyle at jdoyle@ pophistorydig.com.
Ads & Collaboration
Currently, The Pop History Dig uses Google’s AdSense advertising program on its pages in an effort to financially support the site’s operations. No outside pop-up advertising is accepted. Businesses and individuals interested in sponsorship, funding, and/or advertising should contact Jack Doyle at: jdoyle@pophistory dig.com. A custom research service is also offered by The Pop History Dig on subjects related to the topical material covered at this website– that is, specifically-tailored research projects, and/or consulting services, offered to outside clients by contract arrangement. The Pop History Dig is also open to collaborations, joint projects, and affiliations with colleges, universities, educational organizations, museums, foundations, and/or media and news organizations. Please contact Jack Doyle with proposals, queries, or suggestions.
Fair Use & Disclaimer
The primary purpose of The Pop History Dig website is public education. Short stories on the history of popular culture and related subjects in the media and entertainment industries are presented at the site to inform interested readers and the general public. These stories are also offered to further public understanding of history, culture, and current affairs.
In order to fully describe and present the central point, argument, and/or criticism in each story, various literary, artistic, photographic, and/or electronic works under copyright may be cited, referenced, quoted, and/or shown in part.It is believed that the use of these and other similar materials in the posted stories constitutes “fair use” under U.S. copyright law, as it is the intention of The Pop History Dig only to use such materials for general identification, public education, critical commentary, and other purposes associated with a journalistic and public education undertaking.
The images of events, products, and individuals shown at this website are the property of the artists or other entities shown, cited, and/or mentioned in the posted stories. The Pop History Dig disclaims any ownership or other interest in these images, names, brands, or products.
Full citations are offered at the end of each posted story for all materials and works relied upon, as well as additional bibliographic referrals and appropriate internet links. All sources cited throughout this website are believed to be reliable and accurate.
Links to targeted topics and/or videos related to story subjects are included for the convenience of the reader and will take the reader to external websites. These links are intended to focus only on the targeted subject matter related to the story at hand and not to other material or videos that may appear on linked websites.
Editor & Publisher
Jack Doyle is the founder, sole proprietor, and author of The Pop History Dig. Formerly a lobbyist and environmental policy analyst in Washington, D.C. for more than 15 years, Doyle has published several books on energy and environmental topics. Much of his writing has focused on corporate environmental history, business history, and related public policy.
Doyle has also served as a consultant to public agencies and private-sector clients, spoken before university audiences and industry trade groups, and has occasionally appeared on radio and TV. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Newsday, and other publications. In addition to his work at this site, he is available for selected research, writing, and/or consulting projects on a contract basis. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In late July 2013, Doyle appeared on the C-SPAN cable TV show, Q&A, with host Brian Lamb. During the show, Doyle discussed The Pop History Dig website, why he founded the site, how he goes about his research, and what he hopes to achieve in the future. Detailed background on several stories at the site was offered during the discussion, as Brian Lamb scrolled through the website with an iPad, offering relevant screenshots from the site as he went. The interview can be viewed in its entirety at C-SPAN’s Q&A site or on YouTube. In addition, at The Internet Archive website, the Q&A interview is also posted and broken out into 30-second segments with highlighted keywords.
One reviewer of the show at BookNotes Plus, noted: “On the C-SPAN program Doyle [told] Brian Lamb that he has ideas for a few hundred more articles. We can only hope that he has the time and resources to be able to complete them. He is creating a great record of many events in our popular culture and they’re all in one place. This is a unique website. Don’t miss it.”
If you like what you find at this website, please consider making a donation through PayPal by following the link in the “Donate Now” box, below right. Thanks for visiting.
First Posting: 27 April 2008
Last Update: 5 October 2013
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