The Second City’s original AIM screen names, in all their AOL glory.
This has been a rather somber Columbus Day in America. There was nary a Columbus Day BBQ, no children in their iconic Nina costumes, and the city of Chicago skipped their annual Columbus Day parade that typically begins in the middle of downtown and then wanders around aimlessly.
The reason for this? An audio recording released by the History Channel of a private conversation between Christopher Columbus and First Lieutenant William Bush. The dialogue between the two men takes place as they are about to make shore.
Columbus can be heard saying phrases such as, “I don’t care if this land is already occupied, I’m going to move on it,” as well as, “If a country has gold, I can’t help myself. I’m like a magnet.”
Most troubling is how Columbus says he can get away with these things because he is a “famous explorer” and he could “grab Queen Isabella by the royal jewels” and they’d still build statues of him.
These comments caused outrage among the vast majority of Americans, and conservative government officials have finally publicly admitted this may not be the best person for grade school students to sing songs about. There has been much talk of dropping Columbus and turning the second Monday of every October into National Pumpkin Spice Day instead.
Critics of Columbus are enthused–but also questioning why it took so long for the population to realize we had a holiday honoring a genocidal madman. It’s been known for decades that Columbus was not only a terrible navigator, but he enslaved natives and used rape as a form of subjection. Most media analysts agree these new comments are much, much worse because they propose assault against a non-marginalized woman.
Previous complaints were also ignored because supporters didn’t trust other options. Most white male Americans consider Leif Erikson as too much of a “career explorer.” These holiday enthusiasts prefer a figurehead who has absolutely zero experience. A man who did not listen to navigation experts, took off without the proper information and landed in the wrong place…but still became fabulously rich and famous.
This is the preferred role model of today’s American.
When mediums reached out to Columbus for comment, he wanted to apologize to anyone who was offended by his subjection of an entire people, but said, “I’m Columbus. I go places–whether it be inhabited lands or ladies’ bed chambers–and claim them as my own.” He dismissed sailors casually mentioning molestation as “Davy Jones’s Locker-room talk” and then mentioned that Queen Isabella’s husband also does bad things apropos of nothing.
This may be the last year that Columbus Day is celebrated in most parts of the U.S. There may be stand-outs willing to ignore these sexist and racist remarks because….well, we don’t know why, but they’ve had a lot of practice, and they’ve gotten really good at it.
On the other end of the spectrum, critics want to know if the recent condemnation of Christopher Columbus will begin major changes in the United States. Will the nation examine the holiday board that let this man stand on the calendar with Martin Luther King Jr. and Aaron J. Arbor? Can the nation stop its trend of glorifying violence in foreign and gender politics? Is the population able to stop idealizing the past and ignoring the future?
When pressed for comment, the nation replied, “Naw, we think throwing this one guy under the Santa Maria is enough.”
C.J. Tuor is a founding member of “Hitch*Cocktails”at The Annoyance Theater, which is celebrating its 5th anniversary, and “Clued In: An Improvised Murder Mystery” at Judy’s Beat Lounge.