45. The Mysterious Life of Jeanne Calment

“I had to wait 110 years to become famous… I intend to enjoy it as long as possible.” – Jeanne Calment

Happy New Year, everyone! Thanks so much for your patience while this podcast host enjoyed a trip to Japan, a 30th birthday, and a very necessary break. I’m super energized to be back, with a whole stack of library books to sift through, planning more episodes for 2019. This year, we’ll kick things off with a deeper exploration of my favorite weird French history headline in years: was Jeanne Calment, the world’s oldest documented human, a complete fraud? Get ready for conspiracy theories wrapped up in conspiracy theories!

P.S. While you’re at it, consider voting for The Land of Desire in Buzzfeed’s Podcast List of 2019!

Episode 45: “The Mysterious Life of Jeanne Calment”

Y’all, this new WordPress situation is a MESS. I will try to clean these show notes up soon.

Further Reading:

Jeanne Calment: From Van Gogh’s Time to Ours: 122 Extraordinary Years – Jeanne’s memoirs, put together with the help of her doctors and age verifiers. You can tell it was put together by a bunch of academics because two colons in the title? Yeesh.

Vincent and Me – Jeanne’s cinematic debut (and finale) at the age of 114.

Sources:

Edit: Y’all, this is my first time updating since the new WordPress came out and I am driving the STRUGGLE BUS. In the interest of publishing this episode before 2020 rolls around, I have to be lazy with my sources and just copy paste the URLs. I’m sorry, I’ll try to sort this new system out by the next episode!

Jeanne’s history:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226813486_Jeanne_Calment_and_her_successors_Biographical_notes_on_the_longest_living_humans

https://www.economist.com/obituary/1997/08/14/jeanne-calment

http://u.demog.berkeley.edu/~jrw/Biblio/Eprints/%20P-S/robine.allard.2003.pdf

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1995/02/21/the-worlds-firstborn/df1f6995-85fd-49df-baaf-4b74518a03b4/?utm_term=.df53946ba54d

http://articles.latimes.com/1997/aug/05/news/mn-19639

The conspiracy:

The Secret of Longevity – Here’s the (in)famous paper from Nikolay Zak! Read it for yourself.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/01/12/how-madame-calment-worlds-oldest-person-became-fuel-russian-conspiracy-theory/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7073534ad4bf

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/obituaries/2018/11/19/zhores-medvedev-who-exposed-soviet-science-fraud-dies/n5F8R5s1EiiwdYSD8zuLXL/story.html

https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article-abstract/24/1/95/637911?redirectedFrom=PDF

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3062986/

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/227230086_The_International_Database_on_Longevity_Structure_and_contents

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0032472031000145436

http://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/-eberstadtthedyingbear_194331985869.pdf

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/study-questions-age-worlds-oldest-woman-180971153/

https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/9/18174435/oldest-person-alive-woman-age-jeanne-calment-controversy-longevity-mortality-statistics

Etc:

The history of American birth certificates (or lack thereof).