Down the rabbit hole


Almost everyone is guilty of falling into an online rabbit hole at some point or another. Over the past few months, I’ve noticed my online behavior going from entering rabbit holes to carving out full rabbit burrows. Instead of a few hours following a trail, I’ve started to spend days or weeks linking one idea to another, and it’s often related to what I’ve been reading or watching.

Morgan’s Not-At-All-Patented Method for Online Rabbit Burrowing:

  1. Find something to watch, read, or listen to
  2. Ask yourself a question based off what you’ve watched/read/heard
  3. Google to see if you can find an answer
  4. Use library resources to dig deeper
  5. Repeat

It’s a simple process, but the possibilities are endless.

I generally avoid books or shows that are based on a true story, because they can sometimes skew my understanding of the factual event. I started watching the “Hollywood” miniseries on Netflix because of my interest in the fashion, so I did not realize the miniseries was written as an alternative history. Many of the characters are based on real people with names you’ll likely recognize, such as Rock Hudson or Hattie McDaniel. When I started researching to find which other areas were true to history, I discovered that the unusual gas station in the show and the guy who runs it are based on reality! Content may not be suitable for all audiences, but those suitable can read (or listen to) more about Scotty Bowers, who Dylan McDermott’s character Ernie, is based on in his tell-all book on Hoopla or watch a documentary about him on Kanopy

In the film industry, women have been historically underrepresented and under-credited. While the “Hollywood” show takes its own spin on this, I wanted to learn more about the life of a woman who was a victim to underrepresentation, which led me to The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick” by Mallory O’Meara. The author writes about her journey to find information about Milicent Patrick, the woman responsible for designing the monster from “The Creature of the Black Lagoon”. Earlier in her career, Milicent Patrick worked for Walt Disney Studios.

Next on my journey was “The Queens of Animation” by Nathalia Holt, which covers the lives of fascinating women who worked for Walt Disney over the decades. In this book, among writers and artists who were also record breaking aviators or visual inspiration for major characters, I learned about Mary Blair, whose art and design is preserved in the famous “It’s a Small World” ride in Disney Parks. Her unique and whimsical style is beautifully captured in this “Cinderella” picture book with words by Cynthia Rylant. 

Speaking of Disney, I finally joined Disney+ to check out the hype about “Hamilton” (listen to the Mixtape or full soundtrack on Hoopla). When “Hamilton” was released on the streaming service, I happened to be listening to the audiobook “Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving” by Mo Rocca. Rocca shares forgotten histories of many people and objects, from the namesakes of each NJ Turnpike rest stop to his favorite subject, our founding fathers. I didn’t realize how much I missed out on or forgot about from my school history classes. From there, I found Alexis Coe’s book “You Never Forget Your First: a Biography of George Washington” which takes a myth shattering perspective on the life of our first president. 

It has been a lot of fun to trace my steps back to the beginning of this rabbit burrow, which in actuality started even earlier when I was focusing on fashion history. (See my earlier blog post for more about that). Give my burrowing method a try- you never know where you may end up.

PS. Did you know that the phrase “falling down a rabbit hole” comes from Lewis Carrol’s story “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” but the use of the phrase was popularized through internet culture?


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