Another gross insult to our Italian-American friends and neighbors

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First The Sopranos, now this: Christopher Columbus, the first illegal alien.

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  1. “…first Illegal Alien to breach the shores of North America.”

    It’s funny how many people seem to think that Columbus landed at Plymouth Rock.

  2. It’s funny how many people seem to think that Columbus landed at Plymouth Rock.

    And how many believe that his crew was on the brink of mutiny because the crew “believed they were going to fall off the side of the flat earth” — which of course was not believed by most people at that time

  3. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Columbus never set foot on what is now U.S. territory, did he? Nor do I believe that illegal versus legal immigration was even a recognized concept in the various places where he landed. I suppose there might’ve been we-don’t-kill-you immigration versus we-do-kill-you immigration, but I don’t think that’s quite the same thing.

    I’m just glad we didn’t get stuck with the name Columbia. No offense, but America sounds better.

  4. Of course, it could be argued that that effect of European immigration on the Native Americans (or American Indians, or whatever the hell you want to call them) confirms rather than invalidates the concerns of those who would restrict immigration today.

  5. ChicagoTom,

    Darned tootin’. Eratosthenes figured out the circumference of the earth a good chunk over two millennia ago. And, if the current view of his measurements is true, with a great deal of accuracy. As your article notes, if Columbus had bought the correct figures, he would’ve thought the trip too long and not gone at all.

  6. “The only people who have the right to complain are the indigenous peoples?”

    Why? Cuz “they were here first”? At one time (about 11,000 BC, IIRC), they too immigrated, from Eurasia, across the Bering strait. So, what is this, one big game of calling “shotgun”? Oh, if only global geopolitics were so fucking idiot-simple.

  7. Seamus,

    Fortunately, given that today’s America has the ability to keep out both carriers of disease and agents or armies of foreign governments, the US doesn’t face anything like the problem the indigenous Americans faced.

    Of course, preventing immigration because of economic or cultural “us vs. them” concerns is as obnoxious today as it ever was.

  8. Actually, one version of the Columbus story holds that stories of a western continent were fairly well known to seafarers. Especially to anyone who had been to northern seas and had any contact with the descendants of the Vikings. There is apparently evidence that Columbus had travelled to Scandanavia and may have gone as far north (and west) as Iceland.

    This version of the story basically suggests that Columbus used the India (a known quantity) angle to attract investors, whereas what he really wanted to do was a purely speculative exploration of an unknown place.

    Oh, and make lots of money.

  9. “The only people who have a right to complain are the indigenous peoples….”
    Since most of the anthropologists seem to agree that our species came out of Africa, indigenous just means who immigrated here first.

  10. Being first is little comfort if you can’t hold onto it.

  11. Christopher Columbus, the first illegal alien.
    Pretty damned silly.

    “The only people who have the right to complain are the indigenous peoples?”
    Why? Cuz “they were here first”?

    Well, the first people in the Americas were probably from what is now Europe:

    http://www.pbs.org/saf/1406/segments/1406-4.htm
    http://www.livescience.com/history/060219_first_americans.html

  12. Well, the first people in the Americas were probably from what is now Europe

    The evidence is still a little scant to say “probably.”

  13. “Well, the first people in the Americas were probably from what is now Europe”

    As I noted above. Who were in turn from Africa. Who were in turn from Chimpanzees/Bonobos.

  14. Mr. F. Le Mur,

    Did you read this article from livescience.com:
    “Researcher: Early Man Was Hunted by Birds”?
    Scary stuff. Apparently,
    …eagles would swoop down, pierce monkey skulls with their thumb-like back talons, then hover while their prey died before returning to tear at the skull.
    Birds are vile creatures and the natural enemy of man. Excuse the threadjack, but give me back my foie gras! Birds would eat our livers if they could.

  15. Fuckin’ birds. Damned straight they’d eat our livers! Over and over and over again. I say kill ’em all.

  16. as an italian american, i have to say that by far the most annoying stereotype of italian americans is not that of soprano-style mob connections – but the idea that, somehow, we all should speak with new york/jersey accents.

    my grandparents went from the island to new orleans to iowa to stl. i’m not sure if anyone from my family has ever even BEEN to new york.

    that said, even pop-mob portrayals and columbus connections don’t do nearly the damage as many italian american’s might think. if anything, they provide an opening for discussion of the legitimate contributions of italians in this country which otherwise would not really be of interest outside of the italian american community.

  17. Fortunately, given that today’s America has the ability to keep out both carriers of disease

    We are doing a lousy job of keeping TB carriers out of the country.

  18. The evidence is still a little scant to say “probably.”

    Hm. Tools, camps and DNA. Seems a bit more than scant.

  19. Goiter,

    Where did you see the info about DNA?

  20. Well, I found articles mentioning the genetic evidence. From Encyclopedia Smithsonian:

    Evidence for diverse migrations into the New World also comes from Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) research on living American Indian populations. These studies have consistently shown similarities between American Indians and recent populations in Asia and Siberia, but also unique American characteristics, which the very early crania have also shown. Evidence for only four mtDNA lineages, characterizing over 95 percent of all modern American Indian populations, may suggest a limited number of founding groups migrating from Asia into the New World. Recently, however, a fifth mtDNA lineage named “X” has turned up in living American Indians and in prehistoric remains for which there does not appear to be an Asian origin. The first variant of X was found in Europeans and may have originated in Eurasia. Naturally, generations of conflict, intermarriage, disease, and famine would influence the genetic makeup of modern Native Americans. Further work with mtDNA, nuclear DNA (which is more representative of the entire genome), and Y-chromosome data, the male-transmitted complement of mtDNA, will permit better estimates of the genetic similarities between Old and New World groups and help to determine when they would have shared a common ancestor.

    Still seems scant.

  21. i should point out that google has not dressed up thier logo for this holiday.

    pussies!

  22. i should point out that google has not dressed up thier logo for this holiday.

    Yes, I think they were busy spending $1.65 billion to buy some website with a bunch of amateur videos. Soon they will be offically too large to change their logo on a whim.

  23. Maybe the Googleguys are waiting for 12 October.

    Anyway, Brendan the Navigator beat Leif and Chris, both!

    Kevin

  24. black_box,

    Yes, about that YouTube purchase. . . . I’m sure it’s a good move on many levels, but I can’t help but suspect that the copyright infringement lawsuits that didn’t happen before will happen now, and with a vengeance. Why? Because YouTube, despite its popularity, had precious little money. Google, on the other hand, has, apparently, too much. I predict a few new in-house counsel will be hired just to deal with this. . .and with that scanning-books-without-permission thing.

  25. I read this morning that YouTube has entered into agreements with the major labels to forestall copyright actions–this was part of what finally attracted Google. Of course, it also means that now YouTube will become more aggressive about taking down infringing content, which will inevitably kill a lot of the good stuff there.

  26. ChrisO,

    Aside from college girls dancing and singing, what else does YouTube have to offer but infringing videos? Google could use its wealth and clout to negotiate licenses or maybe some kind of d?tente with content providers for certain kinds of content (e.g., no suits on old commercials), but someone somewhere is going to sue, sue, and sue again. Those pockets are too deep, and the potential windfall from a vicarious liability suit is too high for this not to happen.

  27. ChrisO,

    Aside from college girls dancing and singing, what else does YouTube have to offer but infringing videos? Google could use its wealth and clout to negotiate licenses or maybe some kind of d?tente with content providers for certain kinds of content (e.g., no suits on old commercials), but someone somewhere is going to sue, sue, and sue again. Those pockets are too deep, and the potential windfall from a vicarious liability suit is too high for this not to happen.

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