arteejee

A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

My Photo
Name:
Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Columbus Day Hangover



Ah, another Columbus Day (or more accurately Italian-American Pride Day*) is now history. I have reviewed the Arteejee archives and determined that I have never written on the subject of this holiday. Well, let’s rectify that today!

On this day, school children are taught that the fearless, courageous Christopher Columbus defied the common wisdom of the 15th century and dared to sail the “ocean blue in 1492” (or so the song goes). His objective was to discover a new world, bulging with resources begging to be plundered…

(EDITOR’S NOTE: WE ARE AWARE THAT THIS ESSAY ON COLUMBUS DAY IS BEGINNING TO TAKE A NASTY TURN INTO ICON SMASHING SATIRE.  REST ASSURED, READERS, THAT THE EDITORIAL BOARD IS KEEPING AN EYE ON THE SITUATION AND WILL ACT ACCORDINGLY IF THE ESSAY DRIFTS TOO FAR FROM ACCEPTED HISTORICAL FACT.)

Of course school children are never taught this about Columbus on Columbus Day because THEY’RE NOT IN SCHOOL ON COLUMBUS DAY! It is an American holiday on the verge of becoming as relevant as, say, Arbor Day or Flag Day.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: FIRST WARNING, ARTEEJEE.)

Governments, banks and many businesses with union employees get the day off, which is fine with me. In many respects, Americans are the hardest-working citizens in the world and, frankly, we need as much time off to rest as we can get.

Still, it occurred to me this year that, although it creates an excuse for our educational system to very briefly note how we came to be here in the first place, the holiday is not celebrated in an appropriate manner. In recent years, it has become another excuse to sell cars, appliances, and anything else you can jam on your credit card.

We need to rethink this. After all, what did Columbus actually do on Columbus Day? Did he plant the Spanish flag and immediately look around for a used car lot? No. Did he make a beeline for Best Buy® and try to buy a new dishwasher for Mrs. Columbus? No; if he did, school children have never sung about that part of his trip.

(SECOND WARNING.)

We’re not celebrating Columbus Day in the true spirit of what actually happened. In recent years, there has been a movement to celebrate Native American culture in place of honoring Columbus’ achievement. I don’t know how far this will go, but it is a good thing to promote cultural sensitivity.

Ah, but we are talking about Columbus Day, so cultural sensitivity be damned!

(UH-OH!)

May I suggest that the following events should be re-enacted for a faithful celebration of Columbus Day: seduce a member of the Spanish monarchy; conquer a far away land;   subjugate its native citizens; decimate their culture; convert them to an extremely militant organized religion…

(THIRD AND FINAL WARNING, ARTEEJEE! CENSORS, SHUT HIM DOWN!)

…introduce STD’S…yee-haa! Pillage and plunder, everyone, pillage and plunder!* Nothing against Italians, great culture, wonderful food, and hey, how can you beat the Renaissance? However, you could probably do better to hitch your point of pride to someone other than Columbus. Just saying…

(Thank you for reading! The preceding was a lampoon of political incorrectness and cultural insensitivity, but you knew that, right?)

3 Comments:

Blogger Raybeard said...

'Twas in 1969 when I to be on my one and only visit to NY City on Columbus Day, and I had the experience of witnessing at first hand a genuine all-American parade. My memory is that although I don't doubt the good intentions of the participants and their group ideas of individual themes, I recall it being a bit of a raggedy shambles. One group of female youngsters in particular I remember would march along, then suddenly stop and start a kind of jiving on the spot, singing "Hey, hey, look at our school." Then they'd dart forward again, hands on hips but hopelessly out of sync with everyone else, stop and then do the same - and so on.
I also remember a group of boy scouts with their scoutmaster whose 'shorts' actually went right down to the mid-point of his shins!
Then there was another group of majorettes whose faces were all tight with tension, trying to keep their batons in the air while a leader girl was vainly shouting at them to "Smile!'
Funny how these memories all come flooding back.

I've no doubt that the Columbus Day parade is now a well-drilled, disciplined affair, marched with utter precision. Or perhaps not, but I hope it is. In any case I should think your excellent suggestions would liven things up a bit.

October 14, 2015 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Fearsome Beard said...

Just popped over on the 15th to say Mitzi sends her love to you on your shared birthdays! Oh and happy birthday from me too.

October 15, 2015 at 8:50 PM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Thank you Raybeard for your comment. Yes, it would liven up the holiday, but I doubt if it would play well in an elementary school presentation.

Thank you Fearsome Beard for the birthday wishes.

October 21, 2015 at 6:50 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home