Happy Columbus Day!

Yes, yes, yes: we’re supposed to be subtly embarrassed of this holiday, given that apparently it’s an act of global insensitivity to remember the date, or because there’s a whole subset of the grievance culture out there who grind their teeth, turn widdershins thrice, and spit at the very mention of the name ‘Christopher Columbus,*’ or even because it’s starting to look like everybody in the world ‘discovered’ America before Christopher Columbus did.


OK, that last one? Kind of a fair point. Still, speaking as somebody with most of his teeth at forty, no dietary deficiencies, and two kids that survived their first six months – which would not have happened if I had been born an illiterate turnip** farmer in Ireland, which is where I’d be if there hadn’t been an America for my ancestors to flee to – let me just say that I am not exactly broken up about the thought that In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety-Two / Columbus Sailed The Ocean Blue. And probably, neither should you. Ever try living on turnips? I’m pretty sure that trying to get away from pre-potato, pre-maize, pre-chocolate, and pre-tomato cooking was what fueled the European Age of Exploration…

Moe Lane (crosspost)


Why, yes, I do feel much better now. Thanks for asking!

**Potatoes are a New World vegetable.

6 thoughts on “Happy Columbus Day!”

  1. I was having a not-so-friendly debate on Facebook earlier today with someone who called Columbus an “a**hole.” (No, that’s not me paraphrasing…he asterisked it out himself.) And when I brought up the historical sins of people like Aristotle, Muhammad, George Washington, and Martin Luther King Jr., he indicted them the same way. Admiral James T. Kirk, take it away — “I’ll say this for him, he’s consistent.”

    For your amusement, a partial excerpt from my reply: “It is the rare human that steps outside the standards of his/her time in any significant way at all. Those are the people who illuminate moral truth, who change the world, who inspire others with their example — and who thereby set our whole species marching further along the path of progress. I don’t overlook their flaws, but I honor them for their accomplishments. You spit on them because of their flaws, while living in the world their accomplishments made possible.”

    1. Did somebody try the “Native Americans all died for your life” gambit? I had some doofus try to whine about it to me on Twitter; apparently he’d(?) never heard of virgin field epidemics…

  2. Moe: Not yet…but I still have nine hours and thirty-five minutes of Columbus Day to go. It’ll probably happen; it usually does to me every year. At which point I just pull out my tribal membership card and leave them sputtering.

    1. Ah. I’m only 1/32 Native American myself, if family legend is correct. Given that family legend has deliberately lied in deference to various incidents that may or may not be subject to extradition laws (even a century later), well, I won’t blame people if they don’t believe me…

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