Monday, October 09, 2006

In Fourteen-Hundred And Ninety-Two...

Posted by codemorse

...Columbus opened up the Americas to trade, colonization, uniquely European barbarism, slavery, and the near-devastation of indigenous peoples.

It's not quite as catchy as "...Columbus sailed the ocean blue," but it is just as accurate.

Students of history that goes beyond that famous schoolyard catechism know that Columbus did not "discover" America. That honor goes to the Vikings - if not older civilizations. Nor did Columbus discover "America" as we know it. He discovered the Indies.

He also implemented a reign of cruelty that left the native population enslaved, crippled by disease, and wondering what the hell they'd done to deserve it.

So, of course, we've dedicated a national holiday to him.

Like most national holidays, we spend this one shopping. And unlike most holidays, that somehow seems deeply appropriate. Columbus brought an already-ancient tradition of exploitation to the Americas, and we're proudly continuing that tradition in modern times.

When you're out today buying packs of tube socks for a $1.99, give a thought to Christopher Columbus. Without his foresight and his ingenuity, would we truly understand the joy inherent in the ravaging of the less "civilized" for our own benefit?

Probably.

Happy Columbus Day.

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