Here is your open thread for February 17, 2020.
Billie Joe Armstrong turns 48 today:
Happy 57th birthday to Michael Jordan, star of the 1996 film Space Jam.
Jerry O’Connell — the last of the Stand By Me foursome still regularly acting — turns 46 today. Lou Diamond Phillips is 58, and Ed Sheeran turns 29.
Huey P. Newton was born on February 17, 1942. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, was murdered in 1989. His funeral was held at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, where he was a member.
Paris Hilton turns 39 today. Hilton is often described as a “socialite,” which is a word we use for people who serve no apparent purpose. I haven’t heard much about Hilton lately, but for a few years there in the early 2000s, it seemed impossible not to hear about whatever it was she was up to, even though none of what she was up to was ever much of anything. I’d like to say that the gradual waning of breathless Paris Hilton coverage represented a move away from the clickbait-driven junk media that once made her so famous, but I think the truth is the media just moved on to other, equally unworthy fascinations: Kardashians, Trumps, etc.
Hal Holbrook turns 95 today. Holbrook started playing Mark Twain in a one-man show in 1954 and kept at it until he finally retired in 2017. So he was Mark Twain for longer than Samuel Clemens was. Holbrook was also terrific as Mark Felt in All the President’s Men, lurking in the shadows and croaking “Follow the money.”
Holbrook’s line from that film that seems most timely these days comes just before that one: “Forget the myths the media’s created about the White House. The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand.”
Finally, it’s the birthday of Janani Luwum, which is celebrated as a national holiday in Uganda. Luwum became the Anglican archbishop of Uganda during the reign of military dictator Idi Amin. Luwum spoke out against Amin’s murderous policies and wrote a letter of protest.
Amin had the archbishop arrested on charges of treason and then claimed that Luwum and two other “suspects” (former cabinet members) died in a car crash en route to the prison. Archbishop Luwum was shot four times in that “car crash.”
Talk amongst yourselves.