The Thing About Today – November 23

November 23, 2020
Day 328 of 366

November 23rd is the 328th day of the year. It is Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan. Known locally as 勤労感謝の日 (Kinrō Kansha no Hi), it is an occasion to commemorate labor and production and give one another thanks.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Cashew Day, National Eat a Cranberry Day, and National Espresso Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 534 BC, Thespis of Icaria became the first recorded actor to portray a character on stage. Hence, one imagines, the term thespian.
  • In 1644, John Milton published Areopagitica, a pamphlet decrying censorship.
  • In 1887, English actor Boris Karloff was born.
  • In 1888, comedian and musician Harpo Marx was born.
  • In 1889, the first jukebox went into operation at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco.
  • In 1916, Malaysian-English actor Michael Gough was born.
  • In 1924, Edwin Hubble’s discovery that the Andromeda “nebula” is actually another island galaxy far outside of our own Milky Way was first published in The New York Times.
  • In 1925, composer and conductor Johnny Mandel was born.
  • In 1959, English-American actor Maxwell Caulfield was born.
  • In 1963, Doctor Who premiered on the BBC. The pilot episode, An Unearthly Child, began the first four-part serial of the franchise and started the world’s longest running science fiction drama.
  • In 1970, Israeli-American actor Oded Fehr was born.
  • In 1976, apneist Jacques Mayol became the first man to reach a depth of 100 meters undersea without breathing equipment.
  • In 1992, the first smartphone, the IBM Simon, was introduced at COMDEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • In 2013, Doctor Who celebrated its 50th anniversary with multiple television events in the week surrounding the event. Paul McGann returned as the Eighth Doctor in The Night of the Doctor, the origins of the franchise were explored in An Adventure in Space and Time, and most of the surviving classic-era lead actors starred in the parody The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. The crown jewel of the celebration was the multi-Doctor episode The Day of the Doctor.
  • In 2015, Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle became the first rocket to successfully fly to space and then return to Earth for a controlled, vertical landing.

November 23rd is the Repudiation Day in Frederick County, Maryland in the United States.

In 1765, the judges of Frederick County became the first to repudiate the British Stamp Act, a tax which was designed to cover the costs of keeping British troops in the American colonies. Frederick County judges decided that they were not going to charge the tax and refused to stamp the documents. Furthermore, the stamps had not arrived from Britain, and the colonists had not been properly notified. The late Judge Edward Delaplaine called the 12 Frederick County judges who repudiated the Stamp Act the “12 immortal judges.”

Each year, the Frederick Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) hosts a tea party to celebrate Repudiation Day. Tea and crumpets are served, and the Clerk of the Court reads the original proclamation passed by the judges and the Maryland Provincial Assembly in November 1765.

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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