30 January 12020 is Croissant Day. And it’s Barbara Tuchman’s birthday. Her popular histories—The Zimmermann Telegram, The Guns of August, and The Proud Tower—influenced me greatly when I was young and impressionable, and I read and reread them. It’s a cold wet day here in Portland, and nothing very interesting is going on. The fatal rot that is destroying our nation is on display as never before, as a cowardly Senate appears prepared to abrogate its constitutional duties in favor of exonerating an obviously-guilty man out of fear of the political consequences. Will America survive this debacle? Probably. I mean, we survived the election of 1876, not to mention the Civil War, so this is probably traversable as well. But it looks fatal to me. We’ll just have to see, I suppose.
On this day in history the Beatles put on their last show—if you can call it that—on the rooftop of their recording studio in 1969. The racket caused local businesses to call the police, who put a stop to it, thus providing a suitable ending to the documentary film being made of the whole sorry mess. The ill-fated Get Back project wasn’t actually over yet—recording had to be wrapped up before it could be released as a film, an album, and a lawsuit, as the Rutles’ historian put it. In point of fact Let It Rot would gradually trickle out as a couple of singles, a series of bootlegs, a documentary, two rival official albums, and probably at least one other film and a deluxe edition.