Friday, October 12, 2012

Happy What’s-His-Name Day

Do you know what today is?

Can you recall the name of the guy we’re supposed to honor on October 12th?

No? Then you must be under 45!

What did they call it when you were in school? Was it maybe “Genocide Against Native Americans Day”?

Christopher ColumbusWhen I was a wee sprat attending elementary school in Virginia and Maryland, we celebrated Columbus Day on this date every year. Teachers explained it to us in class: Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer who sailed west in 1492 under the sponsorship of the King and Queen of Spain, and discovered what was later named America.

It was a day to be proud of. But not anymore — Columbus is an exemplar of the Evil White Patriarchy, and we don’t celebrate him anymore.

When I was a teenager I read a science fiction novel about the Columbian Exposition that the author imagined would be held in 1992, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ expedition. The protagonist in the novel was a magnate who sponsored a celebration that was held in Earth orbit — pretty spectacular.

So I couldn’t wait to see what the 500th anniversary would actually be like. Then, when 1992 came and we finally got there — nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Except for some column inches about the Genocide Against Native Americans, of course. In the space of just three decades, Columbus had morphed from The Hero of the West into The Evil White Dude.

What will we be celebrating in 2092? Maybe Khishkhash ibn Said ibn Aswad Al-Qurtuby Day? That’s not very euphonious — “In 1492, Khishkhash ibn Said ibn Aswad Al-Qurtuby sailed the ocean blue” — it just doesn’t scan all that well.

Besides, Mr. Al-Qurtuby discovered America in 889 AD (or 276 Hijri), not 1492.

Oh, well. Happy Columbus Day, anyway.


Anonymous said...

12 )ctober is also the birthdate of Aliester Crowley (born 1875).
-- Robert Pinkerton

Green Infidel said...

And on this day, may we remember the REASONS for Columbus' voyage. The desire to find "another" route to China... Why another? Couldn't be anything to do with the fact that Constantinople - a key point on the "original" route - had been conquered by the Ottomans just 39 years earlier, could it? Well actually, Columbus emphasised this reason throughout his life.

So when president Obama talks about the prominent role Islam has played throughout American history, I guess he's got a point - if not for Islam, then instead of the Republicans vs Democrats, America could now be seeing the Sioux battling it out with the Apache.

And if not for anything else, we should be thankful to Christopher Columbus for being the reason for composing rousing music like this, for films about his "conquest" :)

Happy Columbus Day!

Anonymous said...

Green Infidel,

Yes, indeed.

The only significant contribution that Islam has ever made to Western development was to block the overland routes to East Asia.

Old Man

Steve D said...


Cecilie Gamst Berg said...

Completely forgetting that it was in fact a Norwegian, Leiv Erikson, who got there first. He found it too damned cold and rocky and immediately turned back, settling on Iceland to lick his wounds. Apparently Iceland was the right tempetrature

Green Infidel said...

Well, seems that before the Runnymede Trust in Britain had invented the word "Islamophobia", big-budget films about the discovery of the "New World" were prepared to mention Christopher Columbus' sailing there - with no politically-correct strings attached. Even relatively-recent films...

See 1492 Conquest of Paradise by Ridley Scott, from 0:06:48 to 0:06:17...

Green Infidel said...

I meant the REASON for his sailing there (although admittedly very brief).

The rest of the film - typically politically correct, mixed with Hollywood-style "creativity". "Land ahoy" was shouted at around 2am... yet there was full daylight, with palm trees breaking through the fog. Funny the ship wasn't any closer to land when it happened. And according to one of the ship's crew, the voyage lasted nine weekes - when in reality, it was five. Then, miraculously, an English-speaking Indian arrived to speak to Columbus - and one of his crew spoke in the Indians' language!