Every So Often Links #4 | Mobs and Horizontal History

Mobs are kinda crazy to me. An unofficial yet official underground network made up of its own structures, codes and laws, extending their hands into all sorts of criminal and social activity. You’d think mobs were from a bygone era, but they’re still alive and well even to this day. And with this cool guide, you can see just how they’re structured. Now I just need to get around to finally watching The Godfather.
Frank Force won the 2019 Best Illusion of the Year Contest with this illusion. It’s seriously wigging me out.

Like the Who’s video in one of my older posts, the Last Christmas music video got a 4k update. I wasn’t around, but man, the 80s must have been something. That hair, those clothes. It makes me wonder if someone will look back at the 2010s in 30 years and say, “What were they thinking?”

Dogs are the best, aren’t they? And Andy Richter’s dog Daisy has certainly earned herself a Christmas treat by fighting off Santa Claus.
25 years after its release, “All I Want for Christmas is You” finally took the Number 1 spot on the Billboard Top 100. She’s also made a bit of history with it. If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying I guess?

As Billboard reports, the milestone is a record-setter in a few ways. “All I Want for Christmas Is You” has now taken the longest trip from release to No. 1 of any other song on the Hot 100 before. Its new status also solidifies Carey’s status as the artist who has spent the longest cumulative time at No. 1 on the Hot 100: She clocks in at 80 weeks now, while Rihanna and the Beatles linger behind at a distant 60 and 59, respectively. And it also puts Carey within spitting distance of two major landmarks.

“All I Want for Christmas” is Carey’s 19th No. 1 hit. The only artists with more hits than she is are the Beatles, with 20. If Carey gets one more, she’ll tie their record; with two, she’ll beat them. (Rihanna is in third place with 14.) Moreover, Carey is now one of only four artists who have had No. 1 hits every decade since the 1990s, joining Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, and Usher. Which means that if “All I Want for Christmas Is You” can just hold onto its spot through the first week of January, Mariah Carey will become the only artist in Billboard history to have a No. 1 hit in four consecutive decades.

Come on, internet. Don’t we owe her, after all she’s given us? All Mariah Carey wants for Christmas is us … and for us to play her song.

Now this is a cool post. I love history, and having it presented this way is an incredible way to look back at the who’s who of history. Tim Urban of Wait But Why decided to make history horizontal, and view history’s most famous people on a date range to see who was alive at the same time throughout the centuries. When viewed like this, it’s crazy to think these people were all doing their thing at the same time and could have heard of each other and had personal thoughts about each other. My favorites were learning Anne Frank and Martin Luther King, Jr. were born in the same year, Shakespeare was writing his plays as John Smith colonized America, and authors Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and Darwin were all penning their greatest works around the time of the US Civil War.

Normally, we learn about history’s storylines in isolation. We might have a strong sense of the history of physics breakthroughs or the progression of western philosophical thought or the succession of French rulers—but we’re not as clear on how each of these storylines relate to each other. If you think of history like a tangle of vines growing upwards through time, studying one type of history at a time is like following the path of one particular vine while ignoring the other vines around it. It’s understanding history in a vertical sense.

And while vertical history has its merits, it doesn’t leave you with an especially complete picture of any one time. An econ buff in the year 2500 might know all about the Great Depression that happened in the early 20th century and the major recession that happened about 80 years later, but that same person might mistake the two world wars for happening in the 1800s or the 2200s if they’re a little hazy on the history of wars. So while an econ buff, that person would have a pretty poor understanding of what our modern times are all about.

Likewise, I might know that Copernicus began writing his seminal work On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres in Poland in the early 1510s, but by learning that right around that same time in Italy, Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, I get a better picture of the times. By learning that it was right while both of these things were happening that Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon in England, the 1510s suddenly begins to take on a distinct personality. These three facts, when put together, allow me to see a more three-dimensional picture of the 1510s—it allows me to see the 1510s horizontally, like cutting out a complete segment of the vine tangle and examining it all together.

Photo by Philipp Katzenberger on Unsplash

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