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Tuesday Tomfoolery: History Trivia & Comment

August 14, 2007

Why today? Because I’ve been itching for this kind of fun for quite awhile.

On Tuesday, August 14, in . . .

– 1862, “Lincoln receives 1st group of blacks to confer with US president.” . . . But of course this is not counting the unofficial “conferences” between President Jefferson and Ms. Sally Hemmings!

– 1935, “President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, creating unemployment insurance and pension plans for the elderly.” . . . And thereby created a Pauline “thorn in the flesh” for Republicans ever since.

– 1951, “Newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst died at age 88.” . . . And cried out “Rosebud!” Oops, a little Wellesian art became life for me here.

And now a bit of comparative international trivia:

– 1969, “British troops arrived in Northern Ireland to intervene in sectarian violence between Protestants and Roman Catholics.”
– 1973, “U.S. bombing of Cambodia came to a halt.”
– 1980, “Lech Wałęsa leads strikes at Gdańsk, Poland shipyards,” an “action that resulted in the creation of the Solidarity labor movement.”

And here’s Tim’s No-Fun, Preachy History Conclusion For Today:

– Exhibit A – Two of the above involved violence, and one didn’t. … Okay.
– Exhibit B – Two of the above failed to reach the goals of the states involved, but the other was a crucial part of ending the Cold War. … Check.
Conclusion – The math for peace seems obvious.


Sorry to sneak some anti-fun into today’s trivia tomfoolery. What a come down. It’s just an expression of a recent, recurring feeling: Just as fun can be made of history, we all know that morals of the story – otherwise called theses – sometimes also sneak in.

[Sources: HNN, NYT, Wikipedia]

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