Periodic: A Monthly Blog Feature

Periodic: A Monthly Blog Feature

An occasional review of items that caught our eye in BPL’s magazine subscriptions.

Really Reading the Riot Act

Last year, NPR reported that lawyers of a television network once “read the riot act” to news executive Roger Ailes for his behavior towards female broadcasters. The New York Post printed that President-elect Donald Trump had “read the riot act” to various television news outlets. Maureen Dowd wrote an article some commentators described as “reading the riot act” to the Democrats.

But just what is the Riot Act? The phrase has come to signify berating or rebuking someone (often very publicly) over an action or comment. The Act is an official edict from 1714, originating in English Common Law, meant to control public protest. But there is a twist, in that it signaled a move away from military control to civil rule, and even a move towards what became American-style democracy.

Adapted from American History Magazine (February 2018). Magazines are located in the Quiet Reading Area on the second floor.