Freethought of the Day

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There are 2 entries for this date: Pierre Jean de Beranger and Gene Roddenberry
Pierre Jean de Beranger

Pierre Jean de Beranger

On this date in 1780, Pierre Jean de Beranger was born in Paris. Although he briefly attended a school based on the principles of Rousseau, he was largely unschooled and illiterate when he was apprenticed at age 14 to a printer who educated him. Beranger was an eyewitness to the storming of the Bastille and a lifelong republican. By 1802 he was living in a garret in Paris in great poverty, where he wrote lyric poetry, songs and epics. He became a protegé of Lucien Bonaparte, who sent him money and gave him commissions, eventually helping him find work as a clerk at a university.

By 1813, Beranger was a highly popular songwriter. His first collection of songs, including many high-spirited satires on the clergy, was published in 1815. The song "Le Roi d'Yvetot," a satire about Napoleon, literally traveled by word of mouth and was sung throughout France. His second collection of songs, also including anti-clerical works, was published in 1821 and lost him his university position. He was tried, found guilty, fined 500 francs and imprisoned for three months. Reportedly, Beranger found his warm jail cell preferable to his own cold lodgings. Beranger was imprisoned for nine months after publication of his fourth collection of songs. In 1848, he was elected by near acclamation to the Constituent Assembly. Reluctantly he was seated but later quietly resigned. D. 1857.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Gene Roddenberry

Gene Roddenberry

On this date in 1921, writer/producer Eugene Wesley Roddenberry, creator of "Star Trek," was born in El Paso, Texas. He left for "Space, the final frontier" at age 70 from a cardiopulmonary blood clot. In college he studied pre-law and engineering and got his pilot's license. He flew B-17s in World War II and was a commercial pilot for Pan Am. He joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1949 and became speechwriter for Chief William H. Parker.

He started writing scripts for TV shows like "The U.S. Steel Hour," "Goodyear Theater," "The Kaiser Aluminum Hour," "Four Star Theater," "Dragnet," "The Jane Wyman Theater" and "Naked City." He won his first Emmy for "Have Gun, Will Travel." "Star Trek" debuted on NBC in 1966 and ran until 1969 (79 episodes). A sequel series, "Star Trek: The Next Generation," premiered in 1987 and ended in 1994 (176 episodes). Paramount Pictures produced 13 "Star Trek" feature films through 2016. It was announced in 2019 that two more are being developed, one potentially directed by Quentin Tarantino. D. 1991.

“I have always been reasonably leery of religion because there are so many edicts in religion, 'thou shalt not,' or 'thou shalt.' I wanted my world of the future to be clear of that.”

—Roddenberry, quoted by his executive assistant Susan Sackett (InsideTrek.com)

Compiled by Bill Dunn

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