Here is your open thread for April 9, the 100th day of 2020.
Comic-book writer Gerard Way turns 43 today. When he was. a young boy. his father. took him into the city …
On April 9, 475, the Emperor Basiliscus issued a letter to all the Christian bishops of the empire officially endorsing Monophysitism as the imperially correct and orthodox form of Christian theology, thereby forever ending all debates about Christology for the next 1,545 years. (My own theological position is that if you know what “Monophysitism” means, you should get outside more often.)
On April 9, in 1288, the previously unstoppable Mongol army of the Yuan Dynasty was repulsed by Vietnamese fighters at the Bach Dang River. This remarkable defeat of what was then the greatest military power in the world became a proverb, which is why today we speak of the defeat of powerful imperial armies as “meeting their Vietnam.”
On April 9, 1609, King Philip III of Spain decreed the Expulsion of the Moriscos. This vile act of ethnic cleansing was later upheld by a 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court written by Chief Justice John Roberts.
On April 9, 1784, King George III of England ratified the Treaty of Paris, formally acknowledging that he’d lost the American Revolutionary War. Oceans rise, empires fall …
On April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Treason in Defense of Slavery at Appomattox Court House, thus formally acknowledging that he, too, had lost a war against America.
Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed by the Nazis on April 9, 1945. Again, and always: “The surest way to become Martin Niemöller is to convince yourself that you’re already Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The only way to become Bonhoeffer is to recognize that you’re far more like Niemöller than you want to admit.”
Speaking of Bonhoeffer … on April 9, 1960, alas, David Pratt picked up a .22 caliber pistol instead of the .45 he needed.
Paul Robeson — a two-time All-American football player for Rutgers, NFL star, acclaimed concert baritone, film actor, and blacklisted civil-rights activist — was born 122 years ago today.NASA engineer Mary Jackson was born 99 years ago. I wish she’d lived to see herself portrayed by Janelle Monae.
Harris Wofford was born 94 years ago today. The first political campaign I ever worked on was Wofford’s underdog 1991 U.S. Senate race against Dick Thornburgh. Polls suggested Wofford didn’t stand a chance in the special election against the popular former Pennsylvania governor and former US attorney general. But Wofford enlisted an army of idealistic young volunteers like me who were fired up over his commitment to universal health care as a right and squeaked out an unlikely victory. He lost his Senate seat in 1994 when Rick Santorum won a narrow majority of votes thanks to Harry and Louise and a fierce wave of AM-radio-fueled Republican backlash against the very idea of universal health care. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Rockabilly legend Carl Perkins would have turned 88 years old today. Here’s the Sun Records “Million Dollar Quartet” (Perkins, Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis) singing “I Shall Not Be Moved.”
A very happy birthday today to mathematician and capable piano-player Tom Lehrer, who turns 92. His comedy records were hits before I was born, but this one seems, perhaps, newly relevant:
Marty Kroft turns 83 years old today. He and his older brother Sid got their big break designing the costumes and sets for The Banana Splits, then went on to produce some of the strangest things I ever watched on Saturday mornings as a kid. But in a good way.
Mrs. Walton, Michael Learned, turns 81 today. Baseball fan Peter Gammons turns 75.
Hal Ketchum turns 67 today. Here’s “Small Town Saturday Night.” Dennis Quaid turns 66. Cynthia Nixon turns 54.
Best-selling author Jenna Jameson turns 46 today. (It’s fine if you feel the need to pretend you don’t know who that is.)
Want to feel old? Keshia Knight Pulliam turns 41 today and Kristen Stewart turns 30. If it makes you feel any younger, Elle Fanning is still only turning 22 and Montero Lamar Hill, aka Lil Nas X turns 21. In a few more years he’ll just be Nas X, and then you’ll feel really old.
Talk amongst yourselves.