33 CE — Judas Iscariot betrays Jesus

Judas Iscariot is a complex and contradictory character in the gospels. He did betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, repent too late, and commit suicide. But how much did he act from his own volition, and how much in fulfillment of God’s grand design? How much was he an independent actor responsible for his own deeds, and how much was he a puppet dancing on divine strings? The only thing we know for sure is that we’ll never get a straight answer out of any church on the subject.

Referenced in:

Tomas De Torquemada — Down I Go

1919 — Walter Gropius founds the Bauhaus School

The Bauhaus school was founded in Weimar, Germany (the town, not the government) by Walter Gropius, an architect. Ironically, as first comprised, the Bauhaus lacked an architecture department, although given its project of creating a “total” work of art in which all arts, including architecture, would eventually be brought together, this was an oversight that was corrected in short order.

Bauhaus would become one of the most – if not the most – influential schools of design in the twentieth century, affecting art, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, typography and, yes, architecture. Ironically, its wide influence had much to do with its suppression by the Nazis – many Bauhaus alumni were exiled by the Nazi regime, others fled it. They spread its influence to Western Europe, Britain, North America and Israel (Tel Aviv, for example, built more than 3000 buildings influenced by Bauhaus ideas from 1933 onwards).

Referenced in:
Alma — Tom Lehrer

1979 — Iran officially proclaimed an Islamic Republic

Although the revolution against him began in January 1978, the Shah did not flee Iran until January of 1979. Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile shortly thereafter, and while revolutionary and loyalist forces fought, the military declared itself neutral and sat out the fight.

On March 30 and 31, 1979, a referendum was held, and the Iranian people voted overwhelmingly to become a theocratic state. On April 1, it was proclaimed that the nation would henceforth be called the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Khomeini would be its president.

Referenced in:
We Didn’t Start The Fire — Billy Joel

1984 — Marvin Gaye killed

Marvin Gaye was one of the greatest singers ever to come out of Motown, possessed of a soulful, sensitive voice with great expressiveness and a vocal range of three octaves. Best known today for such classics as “Sexual Healing”, “Let’s Get It On” and his cover of “Heard It Through The Grapevine”, Gaye also used his music to pursue an activist agenda, creating anthems for the civil rights movement, most notably “What’s Going On?”

He was only 44 years old in 1984, when he intervened in a dispute between his parents. Enraged, his father shot him twice – although the first shot was fatal, and Gaye was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. He was cremated and his ashes scattered near the ocean. His father pleaded no contest to a voluntary manslaughter charge.

Referenced in:
Nightshift — The Commodores