Monday, October 12, 2015

The Most Pathetic Holiday

I keep forgetting that Columbus Day is a holiday. Today, many Americans are proudly waving an Italian flag who tomorrow will be attending a Trump rally bitterly griping about Hispanics and the Mexican flag.

On this day we celebrate...

an imbecile who miscalculated the circumference of the Earth by several thousand miles. The actual size of the Earth had be accurately calculated by the Greeks 1800 years before Columbus was born and any educated European knew what is was.
a lucky bastard who accidentally bumped into a couple of huge continents that were already known about. Had they not been there he would have ignobly died at sea mourned by nobody except King Ferdinand's bookkeeper. He didn't even discover anything new. The Vikings found America 500 years before Columbus got around to it. Portuguese navigation charts dated 1424 showed Newfoundland and some of the Antilles islands.
an asshole whose first act in the New World was to kidnap some native islanders to force them to guide him to gold. That began a centuries long campaign of slavery and genocide.
the wonders of European civilization. Racial hatred, religious persecution, all the innovated torture techniques of the Spanish Inquisition, the wholesale slaughter of European-style warfare, mass rape, and...
a massive panoply of new diseases. Bubonic plague, chicken pox, cholera, diphtheria, influenza, measles, and scarlet fever were all imported by the Old World visitors. King of the diseases was small pox. The pox coexisted with Europeans for hundreds of years, a certain societal immunity had developed. In the New World, the pox found a virgin population with no immunities and wasted no time ravaging the population. Disease is estimated to have killed over 90% of the native population of the New World.
Syphilis. All that mass rape allowed the New World to pass a present along to Europe. A night with Venus, a lifetime with Mercury. Not exactly balancing the scales but some slight revenge.

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