The Thing About Today – November 2

November 2, 2020
Day 307 of 366

November 2nd is the 307th day of the year. It is Dziady in Belarus.  Дзяды in Belarusian, Деды in Russian, and Діди in Ukrainian, it is an ancient Slavic feast that commemorates dead ancestors. The Polish, Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian word means “grandfathers”, leading to the English translation as Forefathers’ Eve.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Deviled Egg Day, National Ohio Day, Color the World Orange Day (typically observed on the first Monday in November), Job Action Day (typically observed on the first Monday in November), and Traffic Directors Day (typically observed on November 2nd unless the day is on a weekend, in which case it moves to the following Monday).

Historical items of note:

  • In 1734, American hunter and explorer Daniel Boone was born.
  • In 1755, Marie Antoinette was born. She was the Austrian-French queen consort of Louis XVI of France.
  • In 1868, New Zealand officially adopted a standard time to be observed nationally.
  • In 1912, Bulgaria defeated the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Lule Burgas, the bloodiest battle of the First Balkan War, which opened the way to Constantinople.
  • In 1913, actor Burt Lancaster was born.
  • In 1914, actor Ray Walston was born.
  • In 1920, KDKA of Pittsburgh started broadcasting as the first commercial radio station. The first broadcast is the result of the 1920 United States presidential election.
  • In 1927, author and illustrator Steve Ditko was born.
  • In 1936, the British Broadcasting Corporation initiated the BBC Television Service, the world’s first regular, “high-definition” service. High definition at that point was defined as at least 200 lines. The service was renamed as BBC1 in 1964 and the channel still runs to this day.
  • Also in 1936, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) was established.
  • In 1942, actress Stefanie Powers was born.
  • In 1947, designer Howard Hughes performs the maiden (and only) flight of the Hughes H-4 Hercules (also known as the “Spruce Goose”) in California. It was the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built.
  • In 1949, author Lois McMaster Bujold was born.
  • In 1959, as part of the quiz show scandals, Twenty-One game show contestant Charles Van Doren admitted to a Congressional committee that he had been given questions and answers in advance.
  • Also in 1959, the first section of the M1 motorway, the first inter-urban motorway in the United Kingdom, was opened between the present junctions 5 and 18, along with the M10 motorway and M45 motorway.
  • In 1960, Penguin Books was found not guilty of obscenity in the trial R v Penguin Books Ltd, also known as the Lady Chatterley’s Lover case.
  • In 1961, Canadian singer-songwriter, producer, and actress k.d. lang was born.
  • In 1965, Norman Morrison, a 31-year-old Quaker, set himself on fire in front of the river entrance to the Pentagon to protest the use of napalm in the Vietnam war.
  • In 1966, actor David Schwimmer was born.
  • In 1983, United States President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
  • In 1984, Velma Barfield became the first woman executed in the United States since 1962.
  • In 1988, the Morris worm, the first Internet-distributed computer worm to gain significant mainstream media attention, was launched from MIT.
  • In 1992, actress Naomi Ackie was born.

November 2nd is the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.

The day draws attention to the low global conviction rate for violent crimes against journalists and media workers, estimated at only one in every ten cases. As these individuals play a critical role in informing and influencing the public about important social issues, impunity for attacks against them has a particularly damaging impact, limiting public awareness and constructive debate.

To commemorate the day, organizations and individuals worldwide are encouraged to talk about the unresolved cases in their countries, and write to government and intra-governmental officials to demand action and justice. UNESCO organizes an awareness-raising campaign on the findings of the UNESCO Director-General’s biennial Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, which catalogues the responses of states to UNESCO’s formal request for updates on progress in cases of killings of journalists and media workers.

UNESCO and civil society groups throughout the world use the day as a launch date for other reports, events, and other advocacy initiatives relating to the problem of impunity for crimes against freedom of expression.

The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.


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