Oh god, the Morris North Star


They’ve come out with another issue of their dreadful alternative campus newspaper. Although I fear that disclosing these facts may harm the reputation of our students, I must, in the interest of openness and transparency, reveal that some of our students seem to lack basic skills in logic, reason, grammar, and spelling, as well as being politically regressive and lacking in empathy for others.

I blame the high schools. Or possibly the home schools. I have this dream that a four year education in a public liberal arts college might fix some of these problems.

However, in response to an accusation that their previous issue exhibited a poor understanding of biology and sociology, they offer this embarrassing defense.

I can assure you that with many biology majors contributing to the paper, we are more than well equipped in the biology department and they ask you to remember that personal thoughts and opinions don’t contribute to scientific evidence. As for sociology, we dont have anyone currently on staff with a background in brainwashed jargon.

So I guess UMM biologists are partly to blame. We’ll try to do better in the future.

If you want to see the depth of the ignorance we’re working against, here’s one example: an article that attempts to vindicate Christopher Columbus and salvage his reputation. I won’t include the whole thing because I’ve already dealt myself a savage dent in my forehead with just these short excerpts.

Here’s one argument that Columbus wasn’t really so bad — he didn’t actually murder any Americans, you know, indigenous people who lived within the modern boundaries of the United States of America, which is the only True America, and the only America that counts.

First, contrary to popular belief, Christopher Columbus didn’t discover America and never harmed a single Native American. Columbus actually spent most of his time sailing around islands that make up the modern day South America like modern day Haiti and Dominican Republic. While it is true that Columbus and his crew slaughtered the island’s native people, his captain’s log and maps documenting his travels prove he never entered the modern day United States and therefore never harmed a Native American.

I just want to point out that America includes North, Central, and South America. Even Canada is part of the North American continent, and that “Native Americans” refers to people who live all over the Western Hemisphere.

Do only people who live in one specific region of one specific continent count as “people”? That admission that Columbus and his crew slaughtered the island’s native people, while excusing it because they didn’t live within our current borders, sounds so…Republican.

The tribes were also far behind the entire world in terms of technology, shockingly enough the wheal was still not used until England colonized it.

Yes. He misspelled “wheel”.

America was not built on genocide like some people would like you to believe. The tribes were hostile towards them because of their pale skin and attacked them. Eventually tribes warmed up to the pale faces and started trading with them, one of the most popular trade items were guns. The tribes that had guns would then kill rival tribes that only had stone tomahawks and take their land. Most native americans didn’t even die of war but from diseases.

Truly, a remarkable bit of projection. Indians were the bigoted ones who attacked blameless Europeans for the color of their skins. Then white people generously traded with the natives, who chose to get guns and kill each other. Disease wiped out the rest. Europeans didn’t kill Indians, it was all a result of Indian on Indian crime!

You’re going to have to trust me on this. Most of our students aren’t this terrible.

Comments

  1. heather says

    “islands that make up the modern day South America like modern day Haiti and Dominican Republic”
    Say what now? Since when is South America made up of islands? Since when are Haiti and the Dominican Republic part of South America?

  2. coragyps says

    Fuckin’ Puerto Rico is down thar in South America, two. Too bad Chris dint kill all of um when he hadd a chanct. We wuldnt have all them hurricayne problims now.

  3. Zeppelin says

    What is it with American reactionaries and projecting their extremely culturally specific ideas about race onto all of humanity throughout all of history, sight unseen?

    Like, it’d be one thing to believe that you’re right about what “races” of human there are and what they’re like, and that others are wrong about it…but they seem unable to even imagine a worldview that isn’t deeply concerned with people’s skin colour.
    I’ve had multiple right-wingers tell me that Romans and Greeks saw black Africans as natural slaves, and that throughout history “white people” never enslaved each other. And that Switzerland isn’t ethnically diverse because all its ethnicities are “white” and speak “white languages”. Hell, American Nazis want to save a “white race” that consists mostly of people the historical Nazis considered subhuman (Slavs) or at best second-rate (Romance peoples, Celts etc.) and would never have lumped together with “Aryans”. Even Nazi racial “science” is too complicated for the American right, because it requires a basic knowledge of European geography and history. That’s how lazy and ignorant they are.

  4. Zeppelin says

    davidnangle: Yup, Herodotus is one of the specific sources I referred said right-wingers to. Didn’t make a dent.

  5. Larry says

    Yes. He misspelled “wheel”

    He was just using authentic 18th century English as in the expression “ye olde spinning wheal” or “wheal o’ fortune”.

  6. blf says

    One is tempted to think the use of “wheal” is what, in pop psychology, is called a Freudian slip: A wheal is the mark made on the skin by a whip (or insect bite) — probably a confusion with wale / welt  — which would be familiar to Columbus and seems the sort of thing these nazis dream about causing.

  7. says

    “shockingly enough the wheal was still not used until England colonized it.”
    Maybe they didn’t get the spelling wrong:
    Wheal (or weal), a red, swollen mark left on flesh by a blow or pressure.
    …so perhaps the ‘tribes’ didn’t beat people before colonization. (Though why England would want to colonize a red, swollen mark is anyone’s guess.)

  8. peptron says

    @#6 zeppelin:

    And that Switzerland isn’t ethnically diverse because all its ethnicities are “white” and speak “white languages”.

    Funny you say that. You might want to Google “speak white”, to learn that French is often not counted as a white language.

  9. damien75 says

    I’ve been reading pharyngula for over 10 years now.

    Somehow, pharyngula has retained the ability to surprise me.

    I cannot wrap my head around that s**t. Not only cannot I wrap my head around that particular episode, but not can I build a clear picture of the U.S. from what I read in pharyngula, combined with what I know and read in the news.

    These kids are students, for something’s sake ! Students wrote that ?

  10. robro says

    …the wheal was still not used until England colonized it.

    I guess those dark hued Europeans from Iberia…Spanish and Portuguese…who first colonized the Americas, including North America, didn’t have wheels, tho they probably had weals or wheals from all the chigger bites.

  11. antigone10 says

    They didn’t use the wheel because it was not useful in an area where you had dense jungle or beaches. They found it on children’s toys pre- colonialism. They had already invented it.

    Once there were roads, then it became useful.

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

    @antigone10,

    It’s also not terribly useful if you don’t have draft animals (or some sort of engine). But the Americas were notably lacking in horses, donkeys and oxen, and llamas don’t like to pull.

  13. Zeppelin says

    @peptron: Well, it wasn’t me saying it (hence the scare quotes — categorising languages by skin colour seems like a thoroughly bizarre thing to do), it was the reactionary I was talking to. I’m reasonably aware of how European racism and ethnic nationalism work and how minority languages have traditionally been suppressed.

  14. Akira MacKenzie says

    I would take the fact that the fact that it printed infrequently and is so poorly published as a sign that it is on its deathbed. Back in it’s heyday, The UWM Times, the right-wing paper at my school which I regret to say I was a writer for, came out weekly during the fall and spring semesters and had a component (if ideologically deplorable) staff of editors to make sure they had a legible product. We had quite a few local and national advertisers to keep the bank account full and the printers happy. After, a rather nasty opinion article about the O.J. Simpson verdict where the author dropped an n-bombed, the editors tucked tail and quite leaving the paper in the less than capable hands of the junior writers (myself included). Local businesses pulled ads, and all that was left were a few booze and cigarette ads and paid content ads from conservative groups to keep the paper limping along. By the time it came to an end, The Times only came out once or twice a month, or whenever we could scrape together enough money for the press. We had only three writers, and the quality was pretty crappy. One summer day, we closed up shop for good.

    By the way PZ describes it, I’d say the North Star is in the same state my paper was in the end.

  15. JoeBuddha says

    Anyone who is met by people who he describes as friendly and helpful and wries about what great slaves they’ll make is certainly off MY christmas card list. He was a singularly disgusting person.

  16. Holms says

    First, contrary to popular belief, Christopher Columbus didn’t discover America and never harmed a single Native American. Columbus actually spent most of his time sailing around islands that make up the modern day South America like modern day Haiti and Dominican Republic. While it is true that Columbus and his crew slaughtered the island’s native people, his captain’s log and maps documenting his travels prove he never entered the modern day United States and therefore never harmed a Native American.

    Holy shit!

  17. Ichthyic says

    What is it with American reactionaries and projecting their extremely culturally specific ideas about race onto all of humanity throughout all of history, sight unseen?

    uh, this. this explains all of it. what sociologists have BEEN saying for decades.

    https://theauthoritarians.org/

  18. emergence says

    Okay, does anyone have any resources I can look at to educate myself about how white people really treated Indians? I want to be able to tear this kind of conservative revisionist shit apart if I ever see it somewhere else.

    I’m at least somewhat aware that some tribes were forcibly removed from their land by the U.S. government, and that Indian children were forcibly taken from their parents and enrolled in schools to convert them to Christianity. I highly doubt that those are the only crimes that white people have committed against Indians, though.

  19. chigau (違う) says

    I think I figured out who the author of the North Star article is.
    rhymes with “ronald gump”

  20. emergence says

    Thanks for the suggestions, guys. Also, would reading Guns, Germs, and Steel be informative?

  21. John Morales says

    emergence, I did indeed find the book informative, but alas also rather speculative if plausible. Certainly not a slam-dunk.

  22. chigau (違う) says

    emergence
    Guns, Germs, and Steel was brilliant.
    but
    the trade paperback version was so badly wrong on the beer thing,
    it makes me wonder about the rest of it.
    /sarcasmm

  23. Erp says

    Columbus did set foot on Puerto Rico and what is now the US Virgin Islands on his second voyage in 1493; disease and forced labor took care of most of the native populations. People born on those islands nowadays are considered full US citizens. BTW aren’t ~18% of the Morris campus student body, American Indian? What do they think of this newspaper’s view of history?

    On the continental US, St. Augustine was settled by the Spanish in 1565 well before even Roanoke colony was founded (and lost) by the English much less Jamestown. The first Spanish settlement in New Mexico was in 1598. Port Royal in Canada was established in 1605 by the French (after a bad winter in their first settlement on what is now Saint Croix Island, Maine; they then moved across the Bay of Fundy). Jamestown is 1607.

  24. Pierce R. Butler says

    emergence @ # 29 – Try Charles Mann’s 1491, and follow up with the books he recommends.

    1491 tells the story (as far as now known) of multiple north and south American civilizations before CC sailed in, germs & all. Many millions did die from the Spaniards’ diseases before even hearing a rumor of a pale face; cities and farms, untended and overgrown, had turned into jungle with no one left to tell the tale, all over both continents, by the time anyone who wrote of their travels got there.

    I live near a major university and top state college: professors from both assure me Mann has it right, and the history texts for the western hemisphere all need replacing.

    Mann doesn’t get to how nearly all the Euros did their damnedest over the next five centuries and counting to finish the job; for that I’d start with Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and make sure I had reliable and close emotional support before delving too deeply into those many centuries of genocidal psychopathology.

  25. Silentbob says

    I can assure you that with many biology majors contributing to the paper, we are more than well equipped in the biology department and they ask you to remember that personal thoughts and opinions don’t contribute to scientific evidence.

    This stupid pseudo-Vulcan dichotomy always irks me, as it’s so obviously thoughtless.

    So, Scienceperson, a study of the efficacy of , say, anti-depressant drugs, need not concern itself with “personal thoughts”? Is that right?

    Is it that brains have nothing to do with thoughts, or that brains have nothing to do with biology? What’s your reasoning?

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

    Strictly speaking there were no Americans in 1492. I don’t mean that just in the sense that the name “America” hadn’t been invented yet. I mean that there was no reason to treat such widespread and diverse peoples and civilizations as a unitary group opposed to some other group or groups of people until the invaders took over and found it convenient to lump the Incas and Mayans and Algonquians and all the others together as “Indians”. I wonder if there was even any individual in 1492 who grasped just how vast and varied the Americas were.

    I second 1491, as well as its sequel, 1493.

  27. TheGyre says

    If another group did .00001% to white America what white America did to its indigenous peoples white America would lose its frigging mind and go into a spasm of knee jerk wars and indiscriminate, bloody reprisals. Oh wait, that’s what the USA did after 9/11.

  28. emergence says

    Silentbob @39

    Also, notice the even more pathetic than usual argument from authority. Using your PhD to defend what you write from criticism is already iffy enough. Defending what you write by saying that you’re currently working on a bachelor’s degree makes even less of an impact.

  29. davem says

    The tribes were also far behind the entire world in terms of technology,

    When Cortes came to what is currently Mexico City, he found a city 4 times the size of the largest in Europe. So he them stole vast quantities of gold and silver, killed most of the inhabitants, and razed most of it to he ground. He did have advanced technology in the form of horses…

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