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Monday Watercooler


Tonight’s music video is “All The Rowboats,” by Regina Spektor, from the album What We Saw From The Cheap Seats.

A first-person perspective of a person walking the red carpet at a premiere

Everybody’s so excited that the latest Watercooler is here.

Many of you watched the Oscars, and I’m getting ready for SXSW later this week (look for some previews soon) — events where celebrities show off by walking the red carpetLiveScience explains where the tradition began:

[B]efore it became co-opted by Hollywood as self-aggrandizing promotion, the red carpet was actually something special. The first known mention of a red carpet being rolled out goes all the way back to the 5th Century BC, and Aeschylus’ play Agamemnon. In the play, the Greek king’s wife, Clytemnestra, prepared the carpet as a way to set up her philandering husband to be murdered, by her own hands. Agamemnon walks the carpet laid out for his triumphant welcome…and promptly gets wacked. The following text comes from the play:

‘I am a mortal, a man; I cannot trample upon these tinted splendors without fear thrown in my path.’

Agamemnon, aware of the tradition of laying out the carpet to honor the gods, was wary of disrespecting Zeus and his fellow deities. The King of Argos should have followed his first instinct.


In modern times, President James Monroe in 1821 was honored at Prospect Hill (which is now known as Arcadia) on Waccamaw in South Carolina with a red carpet laid out to the river. But what really cemented the red carpet tradition were the railroads. Passengers in New York and Chicago who rode the 20th Century Limited train walked on and off the train via a plush carpet, adding to the luxury and uniqueness of each trip.

Some bonus history: “17 Shakespearean Insults To Unleash In Everyday Life,” as represented by cats on Buzzfeed. Thanks to Dana Sayre for the suggestion.

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Photo by Jonathan Kos-Read released under a Creative Commons No Derivatives license.

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and