Holly Frey and Tracy V. Wilson had the global chat room booming with their detailed take on four historic feuds! This special live episode of Stuff You Missed in History Class featured their history buff fans coming on stage to ask Holly and Tracy all of their burning questions!
The night started with Mark Twain vs. the U.S. Postal Service. As someone who knew Twain for his literature, learning about how petty yet eloquent this historic figure could be was quite hilarious to me. Tracy quoted one of his complaints about the amount of new details to be included when sending mail, “If it were stuff that a magazine would enjoy, I could sell it and gradually get rich as time goes on. As it isn’t, I lost the time and the ink.” 🖋
Holly had me literally ROTL when she said, “If he was so mad about having to write the full address, I could only imagine what his complaints would be today having to write the zip code!” 😂 Fans in the global chat room voted in favor of the U.S. Postal Service for this dispute, and I was in agreement with them!
The next feud started off as a friendly disagreement that took a quick left turn; does anyone else resonate with that?! Harry Houdini - who was an incredible magician, stunt performer, and physician - and writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle became great friends in the 1920’s. Both were interested in the afterlife, and this spiritual discussion was ultimately responsible for the demise of their friendship.
You might ask why, until you learn that Doyle tried to convince Harry that communication with those in the afterlife was possible by performing a seance in an attempt to connect with Harry’s late mother. Doyle’s wife was there for the seance and had a bodily reaction claiming that Harry’s mother “wrote through her.” When Harry told them that his mother didn't know how to read or write, Doyle said that she had learned to write in heaven…LOL. 👻 You guessed it, fans voted in favor of Harry!
Holly and Tracy brought in fashion icons with this next feud, Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. 👗 This rival can partly be attributed to news articles constantly comparing their work. Wow! What a new phenomenon… media pinning women against each other?! 😱
Holly and Tracy tell us about an interaction between these women at a costume ball just before WWII. Elsa had been dressed as a surrealist tree, and Chanel asked her to dance. There's speculation of Chanel’s intention, but Elsa ended up steering into a chandelier that was loaded with lit candles. Elsa caught fire but was safely put out with soda water. The global chat room was fired up (pun may or may not have been intended) about this story, but Elsa ended up winning by a close margin.
This next feud is actually in the Guinness World Records as the oldest customer complaint. Ea-Nasir, who was a “prominent” merchant and trader who failed to provide a customer named Nanni with the fine quality copper he expected. Ea-Nasir received over 4,000 similar complaints.
Holly and Tracy told us the memes that came out of this situation calling Ea-Nasir a con man, and I just had to find one. 🕵️♀️. Fans voted in favor of the memes over both Nanni and Ea-Nasir, which was super amusing considering this happened in 1750 BC.
Fans joined the stage with Holly and Tracy to ask some insightful questions! First Amanda asked, “If you could answer any history mystery, what would it be and why?” Holly said she'd like to know who wrote all of Shakespeare's stuff, and Tracy said she’d like to know what happened to the Princess Tower. I'd like the answer to both of these questions myself!
Kathy, who is a Stuff You Missed in History Class die hard and has been listening since 2014, asked a great question! “How has researching history influenced the way you see modern events?” Holly replied, “Those who don’t know history will repeat it, and those that know history will watch everyone repeat it.” That response gave me chills. Tracy discussed learning about slavery, the Civil War, and the civil rights movement as distinct events rather than a progression and how learning that progression is so important to unpacking things that still happen today.
Holly and Tracy received so much love from fans, thanking them for putting this together. We, too, loved having them!