events in history

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Life’s Lil Pleasures” was created by illustrator and designer Evan Lorenzen. Lorenzen has spent the last year building a library of “micro books” with diverse themes, including one that details major events in Earth’s history, a tiny book of big words, and a field guide to cereal.

The Doomsday Clock was created in 1947 to representing how close we are to a global catastrophe. It’s maintained by the members of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board.

The group of scientists, including 16 Nobel Laureates, announced this morning that we have moved dangerously close to all-out disaster. The Clock’s recent advance to two and a half minutes means that scientists and experts agree that we are teetering on the brink of societal collapse or an apocalyptic scale nuclear war, which symbolically occurs at midnight exactly.

In the years since the Clock was created we have only been this close to midnight once, in 1953 when the Hydrogen Bomb was first tested. Further, the minute hand has only changed nineteen times since the Clocks creation.

This is not an announcement to take lightly or brush off – these scientists are all renowned geniuses in their respective fields and they have never been known to change the Time casually or without very strong reasoning.

To those that are sick of politics and don’t see the point in discussing the current state of the world: THIS is the point. THIS is the result of widespread apathy, lack of education, and disinterest in current events.

Once upon a time Rome was a magnificent and powerful empire, but it still crumbled to the ground at the peak of its glory. As an Archaeology student I can tell you that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

The final sentence in the Doomsday report this morning gave a warning, “Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the way.”

JUNE 26: America legalizes same-sex marriage (2015)

Today is the two year anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark Supreme Court case that declared same-sex marriage legal across the entire United States on June 26, 2015!

On the night of June 26, 2015, the White House was lit up in rainbow colors to celebrate the fact that same-sex marriage had been made legal across the entire United States of America (x).

The case that would eventually change American history began on July 11, 2013 when James Obergefell and John Arthur were married in Maryland. When they found out that their marriage was considered null because same-sex marriage was not legal in their home state of Ohio, James and John sued the state. The Obergefell team eventually teamed up with the plaintiffs of DeBoer v. Snyder and Tanco v. Haslam, two other cases that also dealt with same-sex couple marriage rights, and a petition for writs of certiorari was filed with the Supreme Court. On January 16, 2015, it was decided that the Supreme Court would review the state laws outlawing same-sex marriage as one case. After the arguments were heard in April of that year it took the Court two months to come to a decision; On June 26, 2015, the court came to a 5-4 decision and it was declared that the Fourteenth Amendment demands all states grant same-sex marriages. The declaring document reads:

 “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family…It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgement of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered.”  

-LC

OCTOBER 14: Mary Lambert’s “Heart on My Sleeve” album is released (2014)

On this day in 2014, Mary Lambert’s Heart on My Sleeve album first hit shelves. The lesbian singer and songwriter’s debut album contained the hit “She Keeps Me Warm.”

The cover of Mary Lambert’s debut full-length album Heart on My Sleeve (x).

Mary Lambert first got her start in the world of slam poetry, representing Seattle, Washington – not far from her hometown of Everett, Washington – in the 2008 Brave New Voices International Poetry Competition. In 2012, she reached the mainstream’s radar by co-writing and providing vocals for the song “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. As a lesbian, she was the only LGBT person to work on the track.

Adapting the success of her verse from “Same Love” into her own independent material, Mary wrote “She Keeps Me Warm,” which became the first single of her Heart on My Sleeve album in January of 2014. The album as a whole was released on October 14, 2014 to a positive reception. The songs “She Keeps Me Warm” and “Secrets” were highlights of the album, giving wlw everywhere new explicitly gay tunes to bop to. Mary is currently working on her second album, but until then, the lyric “I can’t think straight, I’m so gay” from “Secrets” will remain our mantra. 

-LC

We might choose to forget these slogans and these events from the years before World War II, but American Nazis remember the history in their own way, and so does President Trump. The Confederate statues he admires are mostly artifacts of the early years of the 20th century, when Hitler admired the United States for its Jim Crow laws, when Mr. Trump’s father was arrested at a Klan rally, before America passed its test. The presidential slogan “America First” is a summons to an alternative America, one that might have been real, one that did not fight the Nazis, one that stayed home when the world was aflame, one that failed its test.

That America might yet become our country. Whether or not it does now depends upon us. We are being tested, and so we will come to know ourselves.
JUNE 8: Marcela and Elisa are secretly married (1901)

Spain celebrated its legalization of same-sex marriage on June 30, 2005, but unbeknownst to many, the first real same-sex marriage in Spain took place 104 years beforehand when a woman named Elisa Sanchez Loriga disguised herself as a man and legally married her lover, Marcela Gracia Ibeas, on June 8, 1901.

Marcela and Elisa’s wedding photo shows Marcela (left) in traditional bridal attire and Elisa (right) disguised as a man (x). 

Both Marcela and Elisa were elementary school teachers who had met at college in A Coruña and their friendship eventually blossomed into a romance. Marcela’s parents were unhappy with the candidness of the women’s relationship and sent her to another college outside of A Coruña to finish her studies; however, Marcela’s parents’ influence only lasted so long and once Marcela and Elisa both finished college they settled down together in a village called Dumbría.

After living together for some time, Marcela and Elisa decided that they wanted to get married, and so, they went to work devising a plan. In order to trick their neighbors, Marcela and Elisa simulated a loud, angry fight that resulted in Elisa moving back to A Coruña. Their families and community believed that the two had simply broken up and parted ways, but while in A Coruña, Elisa was busy developing her new “male” identity. She cut her hair, started wearing suits, took up smoking cigars, and tricked a priest into baptizing her as a man named “Mario.” With her new identity assumed, Elisa moved back home and was legally married to Marcela on June 8, 1901 in the Church of St. Jorge in A Coruña.

Unfortunately, the honeymoon stage didn’t last long. Marcela and Elisa’s neighbors became suspicious of this strange new man named “Mario” whose appearance and voice were both creepily similar to Elisa’s. One of their neighbors leaked the story of their “marriage without man” to local newspapers and it broke out into a nationwide scandal. Marcela and Elisa both lost their jobs, were excommunicated from the Church, and were issued arrest warrants. The last that is known of the married couple is that they were able to escape local authorities by boarding a ship that was destined for Argentina and never returned. To this day, the marriage of Marcela and Elisa has never been annulled by either the Catholic Church or the Civil Registry and they are still considered to be the first same-sex couple to be legally married in Spain.  

-LC

What term, then, is the right one? None — fascists, white nationalists, extremists — fully encompass the men and women in this mass. Watchdog groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center have spent decades tracing the intricate ideological differences among various fringe sects: neo-Confederates, neo-Nazis, Klansmen and so on. Yet when these impulses collect into one group, it’s impossible to arrive at a simple, low-syllable explanation of their particular ugliness.

But that’s precisely why “Nazi” was, originally, such a useful word. It was never intended as an incisive diagnosis. It was a snappy, crude, unfussy insult, repurposed and wielded by people the Nazis intended to dominate, expel or kill. It contains a larger lesson, which is that we do not have to engage in linguistic diplomacy with people who want to destroy us. We don’t have to refer to them with their labels of choice. There is a time for splitting hairs over the philosophies of hateful extremists, but there’s also great value in unambiguously rejecting all of them at once with our most melodious, satisfying terminology. “Nazi” is not careful description. But careful description is a form of courtesy. “Nazi,” on the other hand, has always been a form of disrespect.