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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

T’other morning on our drive to school, teh eldest gel mentioned that her history class had been made to watch a “history” film showing what a rat-bastard, xenophobic, genocidal, racist shite Columbus really was, and then to debate about whether we really ought to celebrate “Columbus Day” or instead take up the burgeoning “Native Americans Day” anti-masque celebration instead.

Aw, Jeez….It was only the desire to avoid carrying crenelation across my forehead all day that kept me from pounding it against the steering wheel.  That and an understandable with to avoid getting into an accident.

Taking a very deep breath, I proceeded to spell out some historickal points:

– That, yes, there were charges laid against Columbus that, as governor of Hispanola, he abused the natives.  And yes, some of them might have been true.  But those charges were made by politickal enemies specifically intent on getting rid of him so that they and their friends could set themselves up for their own plunder.  So the cum grano salis rule is in effect here.

 – That yes, the Spanish influx into the New World was, mostly, pretty damned cruel and exploitative.   (One must exempt the heroic efforts of the Jesuits in South America.)  Indeed, of all the European interactions with the Americas, the French, by modern standards, were perhaps the most consistently humane.  (Of course, that is an argument for another time.) Pleas to show me an influx of one human population into another, anywhere in historickal time or place, that wasn’t.

– That yes, although we find the whole interaction of the Old and New Worlds repellant by 21st Century standards, it is only because of said interaction and its developments that we precious snowflakes  are able to waste a powerful lot of energy (at least for the moment) twisting our post-modern panties into knots trying to force our current sensibilities on to the actions of peoples living in the late 15th Century.

Aaaaaand, the fact that the whole Euro-angst line is built on the false, Rousseauian Noble Savage flim-flam line that the New World was some kind of Paradise full of blissful Adams and Eves who had, collectively, never experienced the Fall, but instead lived in natural peace, love and brotherhood…..

“But, Dad,” she said, “How can you say these things when this film we saw said what it did?”

“Because,” I replied, “I pay attention.”

As to the last Edenic point, the gel also mentioned Cortez’s conquest of the Aztecs.


“You know how he managed that?” I asked.  “Because the Aztecs were in the habit of scooping up their neighbors in their thousands in order to supply a constant stream of human sacrifices to the sun.  Cut their victims’ living hearts out, they did, on top of their pyramids.  Then ate the tasty bits.   When Cortez came along and suggested that he could squash the Aztecs, all sorts of neighboring tribes said, ‘Hell, yeah!'”

So much for rapacious dead white males stumbling into Eden on Earth and forever staining it.

Aye, me.  To quote The Professor, “What do they teach them at these schools?”





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October 2013