In this episode, Niki, Neil, and Natalia discuss controversy over the “OK” sign, the Black Israelite sect, and the history of CIA disguises.
Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:
- When cadets flashed the “OK” sign, a gesture that has become a symbol of white power, an investigation by Army and Navy officials ensued. Natalia cited anthropologist Clifford Geertz’ “Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture. ” Niki recommended ProPublica’s ongoing coverage of white nationalism.
- Recent murders in Jersey City have directed new attention to the fringe sect that calls itself the Black Hebrew Israelites. Niki referred to this Code Switch interview with historian Marc Dollinger about his book, Black Power, Jewish Politics: Reinventing the Alliance in the 1960s.
- The CIA’s former Chief of Disguise has donated some of her collection to theInternational Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. Natalia recommended this Washington Post op-ed by Jonna Hiestand Mendez, the retiring chief, about her work as a CIA agent. Neil discussed Matthew Avery Sutton’s book, Double-Crossed: The Missionaries Who Spied for the United States During the Second World War.
In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
- Natalia shared her own Public Seminar article, “The Precarious Labor of the Fitpro.”
- Neil discussed Christianity Today editorial, “Trump Should Be Removed From Office.”
- Niki discussed Rachel Tashjian’s GQ article, “Why the Codpiece Remains One of Menswear’s Most Essential Accessories,” and this Twitter thread about the timeless accessory.