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“Forever Let Us Hold Our Banner High!”

By Ron Rodman
The death of Annette Funicello this month set off a wave of nostalgia among baby boomers who remember her as the star of the “Mouseketeers” of the original Mickey Mouse Club (MMC). MMC was the brainchild of Walt Disney, studio founder, entertainer, and entrepreneur, originally as a means of promoting the then new Disneyland, which opened in Anaheim, California on 17 July 1955.

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Music and the Olympic Opening Ceremony: Pageantry and Pastiche

By Ron Rodman
Film director Danny Boyle’s gargantuan presentation at the opening ceremonies of the 30th Olympiad in London had little to do with the actual games, but had everything to do with his vision of Britain. The show was full of pageantry, drawing upon the 17th century English masque, a sort of loosely structured play with dance, music, costumes, songs and speeches, and festive scenery, with allegorical references to royalty, who would sometimes participate in the show. All elements of the masque were present, including the participation of the Queen herself, who stepped into the narrative briefly.

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Football, festivity, and music

Sports fans eagerly anticipate television broadcasts of their favorite sports, whether it is baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, boxing, golf, auto racing, or any of the other events aired on the tube. In the USA, the biggest television sports event is undoubtedly (American) professional football: the National Football League. In 2011, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was the highest-rated program on American TV.

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An Olympic roundup of blog posts

It’s been a long, hard road to London 2012 and while the closing ceremony brings an end to the sporting events and spectacle, we all know it’s not truly the end. The Paralympics begin in a few weeks. There will continue to be reports, analysis, and even a few more blog posts from us. Let’s take a look back on Olympic news, analysis, context, and history from the past few months. And we’ll see you in Rio de Janeiro in 2016!

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Leaving for the Rising Sun

What is ‘Zen’ diplomacy? From Chinese monk to ambassador

In 1654, a Chinese monk arrived in Japan. His name was Yinyuan Longqi (1592-1673), a Zen master who claimed to have inherited the authentic dharma transmission—the passing of the Buddha’s teaching from teacher to student—from the Linji (Rinzai) sect in China. This claim gave him tremendous authority in China, as without it a Zen teacher cannot be considered for leading a Zen community. Considering the long history of interactions between China and Japan, Chinese monks arriving in Japan with teachings, scriptures, relics and such were very common, and were welcomed by Japanese monks and rulers.

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Place of the Year 2013: Behind the longlist

The 2013 Oxford Place of the Year (POTY) process is now in full swing. The longlist poll closes this Thursday, so be sure to get your votes in! (Scroll to the bottom of this page to vote.) The POTY shortlist will be announced on Monday, 4 November 2013.

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