That time of year again

Today is another holiday celebrating a truly evil, awful man. I don’t feel like writing about him — at best, I might have the energy to piss on a monument to him, if I ran across one — but I just saw this image that summarizes my feelings nicely, so I’ll just post that.

While we’re tearing down monuments lately, can we also get this horror off of our calendar? Replace it with Oscar Wilde Day, or Jonas Salk Day, anything but this.


  1. paercival says

    My school district (in Ma) is celebrating indigenous people’s day today. It was either a school committee or town decision to change the name of our day off.

  2. woozy says

    @6. Welp… I sort of interpreted ” I don’t feel like writing about him” as … PZ didn’t feel like writing about him.

    It’s a very easy subject to research and we are all capable of forming our own opinions. I really doubt the intent of a post prominently featuring graphic of a woman giving the middle finger was to persuade anyone of anything.

  3. Usernames! 🦑 says

    I have little knowledge of Columbus and no wish to defend him
    — petesmif (#6)

    Critical information about CC beyond the vacuous “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…” is easy to find.

    Here is one such example: Columbus, Lies of a New World, by Alexander Kennedy (2016)

  4. says

    Columbus , of course, didn’t discover America: he didn’t intend to discover America, didn’t think he had discovered America, and most decidedly wasn’t even the first European to reach America. So, naturally, this Monday we celebrate (or at least observe) Columbus Day—presumably to help him get over the awful misery of his triple disappointment.
    Oh! and before you start tut-tuting about my use of the word ‘discovery’ in respect to America and what the Europeans did to it, let me reassure you that ‘discovery’ is exactly what happened; because discovery is essentially a modern European activity. Peoples have been wandering all over the world being the first to do something, or go somewhere, as long as there have been people, however it is a purely European weirdness (and the only thing that really makes it a discovery) to then go around claiming that you did it first, and that your dad can beat up the other guy’s dad. Note, for example, that the most important act in the claim that Columbus discovered America was the printing and wide dissemination* throughout Europe of a letter (to Luis de Sant Angel, one of his financial backers) claiming that he’d done it, and that his dad could beat up anyone else’s dad. …
    *So important is this that I strongly suspect that discovery hardly ever happened before the arrival of printing with movable type. For example America was sort of already ‘discovered’ by the Greenlanders around 1000AD, as reported in the Landnámabók of Ari Frode, but it didn’t make much difference.

    Son of Vespucciland

  5. brett says

    I’m for stripping it from the calendar as well. It was always kind of there in American culture (hence why the “D.C.” in Washington D.C. stands for District of Columbia), but it only became a national holiday in 1937, and before that it was mainly celebrated as a holiday because of Italian-American immigrants. We can find someone else to honor the Italian-American community.

    @6 Petesmif

    The broad stuff is accurate (Columbus being returned in chains, never actually setting foot in on the continents although he sailed along them on his third voyage, etc). It’s just some of the particulars that can be disputed, like him stealing the bonus of the sailor who spotted land, or why the 39 men Columbus left behind were murdered before he came back on the second voyage.

  6. Dark Jaguar says

    I don’t want to fuck Christopher Columbus though. He’s not a nice man, and dead besides!

  7. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Celebrate his inability to correctly calculate the diameter of the Earth. A well known figure at the time that he calculated wrong and refused to accept correction. Rejection of his “plan” was not the cliche “fall off the edge”, it was more “ you’ll starve trying to go that far”, when continent was unknown and assumption was plain ocean the entire distance from Portugal to Japan, when “India” was the generic term for all the raf east.
    Like the legend of Wrongway celebrates him flying the wrong direction, maybe Columbus Day could highlight his inability to calculate and that America was a lucky collision that prevented him starving his crew.

  8. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    @ slithey tove,

    The difference being that “Wrong way” Corrigan probably knew where he was going.

  9. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    America discovered Columbus and saved him from starvation, rather than Columbus discovering America saving the natives from barbarism bestowing Civilization upon them.
    Indigenous Day to celebrate the Natives welcoming Columbus and crew and interrupting the journey that would have run out of food pretty soon without America blocking their way.
    Trying to spin this. Oh well ?

  10. cartomancer says

    Re 17

    Much less clever than that actually – Catholicism joke. St. Columba’s feast day is the 9th of June.

  11. handsomemrtoad says

    I offer a compromise: let’s celebrate ColumbO day, by staying home from work and watching Peter Falk’s immortal detective all day.

  12. kantalope says

    @19 the wife wanted to know if we all had to wear trench-coats and have glass eyes and talk slow.

  13. cartomancer says

    kantalope, #20

    You have just invoked the intractable Colombo Debate, and doomed us all to a lifetime of irresolution. To wit, does Colombo have a glass eye? Peter Falk has a glass eye, but the TV show Colombo never references it. Is Peter Falk’s glass eye therefore playing a real eye in the show, or must we assume that the actor’s quirks transfer over to the character in the absence of hints to the contrary?

  14. consciousness razor says

    Columbo had a glass eye and a cybernetic one, according to canon. But you may be surprised to know that left and right were switched from their real-world counterparts, in order for Falk to put his acting abilities to the test. It was quite experimental for the time. It’s also a little-known fact that Falk’s glass eye took a supporting role as Maigret’s pipe in the Bruno Cremer series, which is partly why the final “season” of Columbo was spread out over so many years.

  15. hemidactylus says

    I prefer Colombiana day, devoted to watching a DVD of Zoe Saldana on a violent vendetta. Or maybe Columba day that honors flying, not sailing, rats. Or Coulomb day where one is obligated to dance the electric slide.

  16. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Columbo Day wouldn’t be bad, but meetings would be terribly tedious as everyone pulls the “Oh, another thing” ploy.

    I much prefer Colombia day where you sit around drinking coffee and reading Garcia Marquez all day.

  17. says

    Considering Christopher Columbus and his clap-ridden sailors transmitted all sort of nasty diseases to the native population and probably brought a few back to Spain as well, “fucking” him is the last thing on my mind.

  18. numerobis says

    Happy thanksgiving! We served mujaddara, yogurt, roasted squash, pumpkin pie, and mint tea — some of our standard foods, very easy to make in large batches. We had planned to open a can of grape leaves as appetizer but forgot.

    Two of our guests, it turned out, were Syrian and Lebanese, and almost brought mujaddara themselves! Instead they brought other yummy foods.

    This afternoon, while the meal was in the slow-cooker, we walked a friend’s giant dogs. One of them found a chunk of frozen seal meat out on the land, and was very thankful for it.

  19. jahigginbotham says

    Replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day is a nice little patronising sop. A fairer and more helpful option would be to return the land stolen from them, along with some compensation for loss of environment, defilement, years of lost usage, etc.

    Subdivision 1.Penalty. Except as otherwise provided in section 609.526, any person who receives, possesses, transfers, buys or conceals any stolen property or property obtained by robbery, knowing or having reason to know the property was stolen or obtained by robbery, may be sentenced in accordance with the provisions of section 609.52, subdivision 3.

    609.52 THEFT.
    Subdivision 1.Definitions. In this section:
    (1) “Property” means all forms of tangible property, whether real or personal, without limitation including documents of value, electricity, gas, water, corpses, domestic animals, dogs, pets, fowl, and heat supplied by pipe or conduit by municipalities or public utility companies and articles, as defined in clause (4), representing trade secrets, which articles shall be deemed for the purposes of Extra Session Laws 1967, chapter 15 to include any trade secret represented by the article.

  20. snuffcurry says

    Peoples have been wandering all over the world being the first to do something, or go somewhere, as long as there have been people, however it is a purely European weirdness (and the only thing that really makes it a discovery) to then go around claiming that you did it first, and that your dad can beat up the other guy’s dad.

    This is just benevolent racism, trying to be complimentary along the lines of More of a Guy Thing. China has been exploring, colonizing, and memorializing its historical empires for a dog’s age (but even longer). This isn’t the minimize the atrocities of western imperialism, but to set the record straight.

  21. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Re 28:
    The paradox of perfection
    That which prevents all action that isn’t the perfect solution
    Remember, walking a mile starts with a single step.
    Abandoning reverence for the person that introduced the Indigenous to the Genocidal invaders is the first step of this mile.

  22. says

    10/10 is Taiwan’s independence day, when theg told the PRC where to go. Most people still want full independence, some don’t.

    It’s probably been seen before, but The Oatmeal has an argument for renaming the day. I don’t like the nominated person’s religious aspects, but his intentions were far better.

  23. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    #31: you can’t possibly have mistaken #28 for having been made in good faith, can you?

  24. jahigginbotham says

    Re 31. You are correct with the perfection paradox. But before taking that first step towards walking a mile, you should know what direction you are heading in. So i don’t see anything wrong with asking what the ultimate destination is.
    As a separate note, it costs most of us nothing to tear down statues, but what about making real sacrifices to rectify wrongs?