Milli Vanilli (Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus)
Turns out February 21 is a big day for Communist historians, NASCAR enthusiasts, and Milli Vanilli defenders. So, kill yourself? Hide under the covers? Blame it on the reign of Karl Marx? Chill out and join us for our celebration of this beloved date, and prepare to sing “Girl You Know It’s True” to your raddest, reddest commie pals.
1848: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish The Communist Manifesto. I hope its tagline in bookstores was, “Communism: Looks great on this paper!” Exclamation point and all. The Communist Manifesto should be the original Wham-O product.
1948: NASCAR is incorporated. Though NASCAR made superstars out of Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon, and Danica Patrick, it is still technically the longest-running hate crime to date. If we could organize PFLAG committees to protest every race, I’m almost sure the world would be a better place. There was once a “NASCAR bar” in my hometown called RPM, and for awhile I thought I couldn’t go home again. Then it shut down and turned into a precious sandwich shop. Finally, an “It Gets Better” campaign you can believe in.
1958: Gerald Holtom creates the Peace Symbol, which is commissioned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament: Here’s Gerald Holtom, sitting at the drawing board and conceiving of the Peace Symbol: “I hope drug addicts in the ’60s and bored preteens in the ’80s draw this on each other’s jeans for no reason. Then we will have peace. And drugs, I guess.”
1965: Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City. Leaders from the Nation of Islam are responsible. Though Malcolm X led a compelling, revolutionary life, it’s important to remember that he was less compelling and revolutionary than Al Pacino’s character in Scent of a Woman. Now you understand the 1992 Oscars and Denzel Washington’s slight. There.
1972: Nixon visits China in hopes of improving Sino-American relations: Which reminds me, how disappointing was Frost/Nixon? So staid and unimpressive, ultimately. The most gripping portrayal of Nixon I’ve ever seen remains Alec Baldwin’s caricature during a 30 Rock dream sequence.
1987: Ellen Page is born. Remember that scene in Inception where her character Ariadne imagines the street is peeling upward and curling in on itself? That’s not such an intense fantasy. Couldn’t she have included a few naked rentboys flying through the air on large kittens and free Chaka Khan concerts on cumulus clouds? And some baby giraffes waltzing through the streets? I’m still mad at her about this.
1990: Milli Vanilli wins Best New Artist at the 32nd Grammy Awards. Sigh. You go, Grammys. Of course, the duo gave their awards back after they were exposed as lip-syncing frauds. I, for one, am glad we had Milli Vanilli in our lives. Now I can say things like, “Britney Spears’ talent ranges from Rob to Fab.”