Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Various and Sundry Holidays!

I would first like to wish my Canadian readers a very happy Thanksgiving! I hope there is lots of turkey and lots of love wherever you are today. Unless you don't like turkey, then I just wish you love and lots of a food of your choice...uh...yeah, that got away from me a bit, so Happy Thanksgiving!
I wish you ALL the tater tots. ALL OF THEM.
In Japan, it is Health and Sports Day. Celebrating the anniversary of the opening of the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, this holiday exists to promote living a healthy, active lifestyle. So, happy Health and Sports Day Japan!
Don't eat here today. Or if you do, perhaps you should jog to and from there.
You know, to remain in the spirit of things.
It is also American Touch Tag Day, so get out there and play some tag! I recommend running up to the nearest stranger, tapping them, and yelling, "TAG! YOU'RE IT! NO TAG BACKS!" and running away before they call the police. Also, you didn't get this suggestion from me if the police catch you. (Side note: I have no idea why it is called "American" tag. Tag is tag, right?)
Pro Tip: Forks are not recommended.
Here in the US, we are celebrating Columbus Day.

Columbus Day in the US was thought up by the Knights of Columbus (a Catholic fraternal service organization), in order to promote a Catholic hero. In 1934, Congress and FDR signed Columbus Day into law as a federal holiday.

The usual drivel they give to elementary school children is something along the lines of,"He discovered America, by sailing west when others thought you would fall of the edge of the flat earth. But he was a dumbass who thought he was in India or China instead of a whole new continent. Yay for the trade routes he established and woo for gold, silk, spices, and 'MERICA!"
And General Tso's Chicken for everyone!
That version of the story is mostly lies and also lies. And yes, I am getting all "historical lesson" on your asses again.
BAM! Fucking history out of nowhere!

He didn't discover anything new.
Let's start with the fact that he was not the first to "discover" the Americas. It was already discovered. There were dudes living there and doing their thing for many millennia before he showed up with his army of poufy-pantsed men.

Yeah, but did those natives have these kick-ass hats?
But even aside from the Native Americans, there is good evidence that the Americas were "discovered" several times over by many different people (probably 15 or more individuals and groups), from the Vikings in the north, Africans in the South, Polynesians in the South West, and Asians (namely the Japanese) in the northwest.
Excuse me sir, I believe my bitchin' ax says we were here first.
United States?
Columbus never actually set foot in the US. Ever. So why do we celebrate this here again? It can be argued that Columbus opened the floodgates of European immigration to the Americas, thus the United States. But HE didn't land here. The closest he got was Cuba.
Fun fact: Cuba is not part of the United States.
He thought he was in China or India
Columbus was a lot of things, but he wasn't a complete dumbass. Forget that whole "world was flat" bullshit:
Columbus had no illusions about finding Asia on his voyage, because there was evidence from other peoples that a large land mass lay to the west. Instead of seeking his fortune on the Silk Road like most Europeans, he figured he could find some sweet shit on this relatively unknown continent.

"I'm going to go explore the Americas, the Silk Road is WAY too mainstream.
I'm not surprised you haven't heard of it, it is pretty underground."  - Hipster Columbus 
Like a good neighbor, Spain is there...with genocide, torture, and slavery?
You can't help what diseases you bring with you, but from what I've heard, torture, and genocide don't happen by accident.
We, uh...slipped?...and accidentally horrifically tortured a whole bunch of dudes...oops?
Columbus was by no means the first person to ever use torture and genocide to conquer, but he was nice enough to give the Natives a crash course.

For example, pre-Columbus it is estimated that there were around four to eight million people living in Haiti. By 1516, (24 years after Columbus' arrival) a census reports that number was down to 12,000. By 1555, the census shows no native population at all. So in about 63 years, he completely wiped out an entire island's worth of native inhabitants. Millions of people, gone. Holy shit dude...way to say thanks for the warm welcome the natives originally gave you.
Oh hey guys! Thanks for rescuing us when our ship ran aground, making all of the repairs to said ship,
and for all of the food and shelter. How do you feel about smallpox, STDs, torture, and slavery?
Just our little way of saying thanks!
As to slavery, a few tribes in the Americas already practiced it. Mostly, their slaves were captured in war with other tribes. Columbus increased slave trade to a massive scale, shipping natives back to Europe as curiosities, servants, and sex slaves. He also made the Caribbean into a hub for the African slave trade for years to come.

Well, I think that just made this holiday a little awkward and depressing for all of us.

So happy Columbus Day, the day where Americans celebrate the taking of land and wealth from indigenous peoples, the greatest wave of genocide of Native Americans known in history, and the transatlantic slave trade, which created a racial underclass!

If anything, this should be a wake up call as to what we teach our children. Sometimes textbooks dont have all the answers, and sometimes they outright lie. If we want our children to learn from the mistakes of our ancestors, maybe we shouldn't be sugar-coating our history. Stop protecting them from the truth.


Amy the rockin hairdresser said...

Amen to that.

Valerie said...

Because I love you so hard...



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