The Activist History Review

This piece introduces a two-part series. Click here for part one, and here for part two.

Note: This series contains spoilers for S-Town, a new podcast by the creators of Serial and This American Life. Please consider listening to the program before engaging with these reflections.

Brian Reed begins S-Town with a stirring description of the labors of antique clock restorers:

When an antique clock breaks, a clock that’s been telling time for 200 or 300 years, fixing it can be a real puzzle. An old clock like that was handmade by someone. It might tick away the time with a pendulum, with a spring, with a pulley system. It might have bells that are supposed to strike the hour, or a bird that’s meant to pop out and cuckoo at you. There can be hundreds of tiny, individual pieces, each of which needs to interact with…

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