If you don’t say it’s wrong that says it’s right

If you don’t say it’s wrong that says it’s right March 21, 2020

Here is your open thread for March 21, 2020.

Solomon Burke, the Bishop of Soul (Burke pastored a California mega-church), was born March 21 in Philadelphia sometime in the late 1930s.

On March 21, 159 years ago, Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens gave his infamous “Cornerstone Speech,” laying out the core principles of the Confederacy and it’s war against America. Unfortunately for lost causers, mythmakers of Antebellum nobility, and denialists who try to claim the war was over “states rights,” Stephens’ speech was given in public, before a large crowd, and was subsequently widely reported on with no one going on record to object to his argument.

The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution, African slavery as it exists amongst us – the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. … The prevailing ideas entertained by [Thomas Jefferson] and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”1

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

Stephens said it plain. This was why the Confederacy was revolting (in every sense), because of white supremacy. Shout down any teacher who tries to tell you different.

The Spanish colonial government of Puerto Rico abolished slavery on March 22, 1873. The Puerto Rican Nationalist Party planned a march to celebrate that anniversary on March 21, 1937, which was Palm Sunday. The American colonial government sent the police who opened fire on the peaceful marchers, killing 19 and wounding more than 200 others.

Alan Freed’s “Moondog Coronation Ball” sold out the Cleveland Arena on March 21, 1952. It’s often claimed to be the world’s first major rock and roll concert. Here’s one of the acts on the bill, Tiny Grimes and His Rocking Highlanders. I like it, but I’m not sure it was quite rock and roll quite yet.

The first “Earth Day” was proclaimed 50 years ago today in San Francisco. And the first UN Framework Convention on Climate Change took ineffectual effect 26 years ago today. I’m sure several multinational corporations have heartwarming ads planned to commemorate both of these.

Twitter was founded 14 years ago today. Officially this was done by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams, but I know Crowley’s handiwork when I see it.

Today is the birthday of both Benito Juárez (born March 21, 1806), a national holiday in Mexico, where many will also celebrate the birth of Salvador Lutteroth (1897), the father of lucha libre.

Forrest Mars Sr., the man who gave us M&M’s, was born 116 years ago today. He was allergic to peanuts.

Auteur Russell Albion Meyer was born 98 years ago today.

Timothy Dalton, the fourth 007, turns 74 today. Philosopher-troll Slavoj Žižek turns 71. He was born the same day as Eddie Money, who died last year. Whatever you think of Žižek, he still hasn’t written his “Two Tickets to Paradise” or “Take Me Home Tonight.”

Brazilian autocrat and coronavirus vector Jair Bolsonaro turns 65 today. He was born the same day as Maranatha! Records star Bob Bennett.

Academy Award-winning actor Gary Oldman turns 62. My favorite Gary Oldman performance is on YouTube. Matthew Broderick and Rosie O’Donnell both turn 57 today.

Finally, on our liturgical calendars, today marks both the passing of St. Benedict and the execution of Thomas Cranmer. Anglicans commemorate both of these, but Benedictines only note the former.

Talk amongst yourselves.


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