'Swounds!

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Joel Warner's profile of a Viking re-enactment group was plenty funny even before he asked the group's leader whether they had been exploited to puzzle the political correctness brigades of a Columbus Day event.

Fjellborg members would like to believe the Denver Sons of Italy invited them to the controversial event because Norsemen reached America before Columbus—but these Vikings aren't naive. "I think they invited us as sort of spoilers for the fight," says Schultz. "I think we threw the protesters a bit. They said to us, 'The Vikings killed more people than Columbus!' And their point is…?"

Eleven-year-old Josh Burgin (Viking name: Agnar) interrupts the banter. He wants to see Schultz temper a steel blade.

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  1. Columbus Day protestors. I have just added a new category to the list of people who deserve a punch in the dick.

  2. Columbus Day protestors. I have just added a new category to the list of people who deserve a punch in the dick.

    I know, some of what Columbus did may not be so cool and all, but it was like 500 years ago, get over it.

  3. My favorite is when they blame Europeans for the deaths caused by smallpox. (Okay, include the ones who died because they were intentionally given infected blankets.)

  4. Minor point of contention: “‘Swounds” is short for “God’s wounds,” correct? The Vikings weren’t Christianized until, I think, around the tenth/eleventh centuries, but they were in America by the ninth, so it isn’t really appropriate to use “‘Swounds” as the post’s title.

  5. Tim,

    It’s not as if the protestors are the ones who keep bringing up Columbus. Every year the government celebrates a holidy for that 500-year old guy, and people hold him up as a hero.

    But, apparently, it’s only the people who find his career deplorable who need to stop thining about the past.

  6. So shouldn’t people be protesting the public sector unions to drop the holiday from their contract demands?

  7. “Christopher” was a good Soprano’s episode. Especially when Furio goes off on Columbus.

  8. I’ve always found it interesting that many people of aboriginal descent in the American southwest have a more harsh attitude regarding the historical behavior of the Apache than that of the Spanish, and not because the behavior of the Spanish was any bargain.

  9. “They said to us, ‘The Vikings killed more people than Columbus!’ ”

    Yes, but the Vikings lived in harmony with nature, actually mating and becoming one with nature. And, of course, for having genetically-superior offspring.

    /ambles off into the forest. kicks cute woodland creature.

  10. “But, apparently, it’s only the people who find his career deplorable who need to stop thining about the past.”

    Untrue. I think both sides should STFU.

  11. I don’t know if Columbus was a hero. All he did was bring Europeans to a new world nobody thought existed. It’s a pretty giant feat even if you think he was a murderer.

    Joe, I’m curious. What’s the argument against “you wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Columbus”? It seems the protesters, unless they are native american, are protesting themselves.

  12. Columbus Day protestors. I have just added a new category to the list of people who deserve a punch in the dick.

    Even the women??? Are you saying that CDP chicks have…

    Vikings killed more people than Columbus

    That’s just the sort of blather that makes it difficult to take the practitioners of victim politics seriously. Would love to be able ask the speaker to provide actual numbers for this.

  13. “Every year the government celebrates a holidy for that 500-year old guy, and people hold him up as a hero.”

    Yes, because if it wasn’t for him my family, if they were still alive, would still be riding donkeys and stomping grapes.

    As far as the small pox thing. Considering how many diseases, plagues and conquests almost wiped out European civilization it is amazing that we just kept coming back.

  14. “Eleven-year-old Josh Burgin (Viking name: Agnar) interrupts the banter. He wants to see Schultz temper a steel blade.”

    ah! Little Agnar is getting ready for his senior yearbook pic, I see!

    Snarky: columbus killed 0, vikings killed nearly 1. Slam dunk case!

  15. Oh and let’s not forget the massive amounts of diverse life sustaining food that greatly increased the quality and quantity of foods introduced into the old world from the new.

  16. Lamar,

    Monsters are often the driving force of history. There wouldn’t be highways if it weren’t for Hitler.

    Would you recommend that African Americans start holding celebrations to honor slave ship owners? Some of them were brave, too.

  17. “A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.”

  18. Well I hope the Viking reenactors slaughtered all the male protesters and carried off their women.

  19. “A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.”

    Embiggens is a perfectly cromulent word!

  20. Joe,

    Interesting question you pose to Lamar. Here’s My answer:

    It’s none of my business if they do or don’t. I wouldn’t recommend it because I don’t give a damn. I wouldn’t condemn it because (aside from not giving a damn) it’s up to them how they want to spend their time and not up to me to complain about it.

    If they want to celebrate the invention of the paperclip go for it. The world can always use another celebration. If it involves more booze and less vandalism so much the better.

  21. If it involves more booze and less vandalism so much the better.

    And just how the hell am I supposed to celebreate Paper Clip Day without booze or vandalism?? You, sir, show your callous disregard for my culture and heritage!

  22. Too bad the Vikings did not bring some lutefisk for the protestors.

    Well I hope the Viking reenactors slaughtered all the male protesters and carried off their women.

    The male protestors usually are the women of the bunch.

  23. Pedantic comment:

    I believe “‘Swounds” refers specifically to Jesus and apparently his crucifix wounds or those from the spear named Ron. And the other ones I guess, I never watched that snuff film about him.

  24. Are people protesting that Columbus came here? that one culture came into contact with another and things weren’t peachy keen? What exactly are they protesting?
    (I will cut off the inevitable stupid rebuttal:
    What are the paraders celebrating? They are celebrating the practical beginning of the American culture.)

  25. highnumber,

    I imagine different people are protesting for different reasons.

    For me, it was the part of Columbus’s diary where we writes about stringing up Indians who refused to work hard enough and slowly roasting them to death over an open fire that made me decide he didn’t deserve a holiday.

    Columbus was such a sadistic buther that Ferdiand and Isabella, who blessed the Inquisition and expelled the Jews and Moors, had him brought back in chains. We can find a better symbol of the beginning of our country than Columbus.

  26. And since when are the colonial conquests of European powers part of American culture anyway?

  27. “(Okay, include the ones who died because they were intentionally given infected blankets.)”

    You’re in Ward Churchill territory there, man. Come back to reality.

  28. John Payne: “The Vikings weren’t Christianized until, I think, around the tenth/eleventh centuries, but they were in America by the ninth, so it isn’t really appropriate to use “‘Swounds” as the post’s title.”

    Actually, the vikings who settled in Vinland were Christian, or at least most of them where. Greenland had converted to Christianity by then, and Leif Erikson had been personally converted by Olaf Tryggvason during a visit to Norway prior to heading to Vinland.

  29. Dude, read a book sometime.

    There’s a town in Massachusetts named “Belchertown” after the general who first came up with the idea of handing out infected blankets. He wrote about it. It’s a very well-documented episode.

  30. they should probably consider changing the name of their town.

  31. “And since when are the colonial conquests of European powers part of American culture anyway?”

    If I could answer in a non-European language, I would.

  32. “It’s a very well-documented episode.”

    We can see that from your documentation. Ward, is that you?

  33. And since when are the colonial conquests of European powers part of American culture anyway?

    Given the demographics of cultural heritage in ‘America’, what would you say DOES make up American culture…

  34. Joe: Who were the humanitarians of 1492? Perhaps we should celebrate them?

  35. Wouldn’t you want to change the name of the town just because its “Belchertown?”

  36. I think Amerigo Vespucci had something to do with our culture as well.

  37. as an italian-american, i’ve always thought that there are so many better historical figures to hang out hats on.

    if it weren’t for the capone, we’d still have prohibition!

    seriously though, i agree with joe here. this reverence for columbus is where i generally part ways with italian-american pride organizations. that, and when they keep bitching about mobster flicks.

  38. “they should probably consider changing the name of their town.”
    and
    “Wouldn’t you want to change the name of the town just because its “Belchertown?”

    Otisville was temporarily taken when they voted…

  39. Oops, I confused Belcher with Amherst. It was Lord Amherst who handed out the smallpox blankets during the seige of Fort Pitt.

    As I learned by going to Wikipedia and typing “smallpox blankets.”

    What is that old quote about nationalists excelling at not knowing things? What’s the thought process here, fellas, it couldn’t be true because it sounds bad for Our Guys? Grow up.

  40. Hmm. Well, I don’t think much of getting up in arms about the atrocities and bad behavior of someone acting during a much earlier time. Human history includes lots of asinine behavior. Though I think maybe our forebears could say much the same about us. However, there is a valid point here about whether Columbus personally should be honored. When did that all get started, anyway?

    As for the Vikings, well, I’m all for them and their Saxon violence. I’ve got a red beard and a yen for pillaging that simply must come from their domination of my family’s part of Scotland.

  41. Lamar,

    “Who were the humanitarians in 1492?” Did you miss the part where even in the 1490s Columbus was considered a sadistic butcher? Historical relativism only works if the subject’s bad acts were par for the course.

    And, BTW, I couldn’t help but notice that you answered in neither Spanish nor Italian.

  42. joe,

    I do agree w/ you generally about Columbus Day. Though I don’t care very strongly about it. It’s mostly only still “celebrated” by the government (and that varies state to state) and apparently the Italian-American groups.

    Throughout my life I heard the smallpox story parroted, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. For one thing, Belchertown is named after Jonathan Belcher, who was Gov of New Jersey and later Massachusetts. None of my quick-over searches have said anything about a connection between him and the small pox blankets. If in fact it did have to do w/ him, then there’re still problems with that. The biggest is probably that germ theory didn’t yet exist. But also pretty major is that when he was alive (first half of 18th century), by which point IIRC, the Indian population had already been decimated. Also, all tellings of this I heard made it sound like the blankets were handouts on a reservation or something, which doesn’t make any sense at all, given time period and so forth.

  43. “As I learned by going to Wikipedia and typing “smallpox blankets.”

    Wikipedia! OH YEAH! Harry Potter said so too.

  44. Ahh, I note your correction, joe. Points about germs and time period still stand I think (I’m not denying it happened, I’m just altogether not totally sure about it or its significance)

  45. joe,
    Like it or not, 1492 was when this thing we have here was begun, for all practical purposes. Columbus, like it or not, is the guy who got the ball rolling. This thing has had some rough spots. The native peoples got the short end of the stick, but overall this thing has been good for humanity. I learned in school that Columbus, the Spaniards, and all the other Europeans did not right by the natives. What we have ended up with, though, is a good thing. [cue hummed “God Bless America] So don’t celebrate the man, Columbus, celebrate the beginning of America. [break into singing “God Bless America”]

  46. Joe, porque a veces estamos de acuerdo, no voy a avisar al mundo el gilipollas que eres. El tema se trata de no haber podido contestado en un idioma no Europeo, y no contestar en un idioma Europeo que no es Ingles. Ingles es Europeo, pero como ya ves, hablo otros idiomas.

  47. Political correctness rocks!!

  48. Feral Dog,

    Why do scuttle back under your rock, find the page, and click on the links to the documentation? You know, like the letter in Amherst’s hand, over his signature, in which he writes about the tactic?

    Ah, sweet wallowy ignorance.

  49. Some James,

    Germ theory didn’t exist, but they’d been burning the bedding of people who died from infectuous diseases for centuries. I’m not sure what agent Amherst thought caused the blankets to transmit the disease, but he knew that they could, and he was right.

  50. Hey Joe, for all you know the guy drooling on the street corner looking to impeach Martians wrote and posted that entry and its “documentation.”

  51. highnumber,

    “Like it or not, 1492 was when this thing we have here was begun, for all practical purposes.” I disagree. 1608 was when this thing we have here was begun.

    Spaniards enslaving Indians in the Carribean have nothing to do with me.

    ChrisO,

    Meaningless labelling rocks! Vapid absence of substance rocks!

  52. FD,

    Still not googling it, eh?

    Real confident about your position, aren’t you?

    They have the letter, dipshit.

  53. “They have the letter, dipshit.”

    You mean the one posted by some anonymous guy with an obvious political agenda? I, like any sane, educated person, have no blind faith in anonymous Internet postings.

  54. joe –

    cuz the Lord Jeffs rocked in the D3 hoops tourney. Plus it’s a [stage whisper] elite liberal arts school [/sw]

    Nativeweb.org’s take on the blankets
    and
    MSU discussion board

    google search sans Ward (and the Beaver, so you know it’s SFW)

  55. Spaniards enslaving Indians in the Carribean have nothing to do with me.

    Even if you live in Malaysia, yes, they do have something to do with you. The world became a much smaller place in 1492. It had to happen at some point. It is unfortunate that mankind could still be so brutal when it happened, but, again, it was a good thing for all of mankind in the long run.

  56. However, there is a valid point here about whether Columbus personally should be honored. When did that all get started, anyway?

    Longfellow did it.

    – R

  57. At least I can say,

    Diddy didn’t do it.

  58. oh

    here’s a link to the letters:
    “The documents
    These are the pivotal letters:”

    “Amherst’s correspondence during this time includes many letters on routine matters, such as officers who are sick or want to be relieved of duty; accounts of provisions on hand, costs for supplies, number of people garrisoned; negotiations with provincial governors (the army is upset with the Pennsylvania assembly, for example, for refusing to draft men for service); and so on. None of these other letters show a deranged mind or an obsession with cruelty. Amherst’s venom was strictly reserved for Indians.”

    hey Fed Dawg. I hope you get your balls snagged the next time you lift the leg on the fire hydrant. okay?

  59. “hey Fed Dawg. I hope you get your balls snagged the next time you lift the leg on the fire hydrant. okay?”

    Whatever hatred you feel just because someone asks the obvious question, this fashionable fiction was long ago debunked during the Ward Churchill fraud scandals. Your malignant emotions tell us that your position is not inspired by facts and reason, but, rather, by nothing more than frustrated emotion.

  60. No. I think you’re a troll asshole who didn’t bother doing simple research.

    That’s the problem. I really don’t care about who gave which blankets to whom back when.

    That’s it.

    That, and your mommie took her titty away too soon, but that’s for a different thread.

    tool.

    [brays with satisfaction. ambles off]

  61. Federal Dog,
    Links please to the debunking of said “fashionable fiction”.

  62. If we’re really desperate for occasions to officially celebrate national-historical figureheads – and I’m kind skeptical as to why there’d be such a deep-seated urge to do so on a putative libertarian site – we already have Washington’s birthday. First president, “father of our country,” etc. Yes, he owned slaves, but he’s certainly associated with enough positive events and characteristics that I can still consider him relatively admirable. Columbus, on the other hand, was a conquistador and committed all the atrocities one expects of a conquistador, up to and including complicity in genocide. It’s as unseemly to celebrate Columbus as it is to celebrate Pizarro or Cortes.

  63. I wish that my life was so hunky-dory, so utterly unfettered of trouble, trials, and tribulations that I had nothing better to do than go around getting offended and protesting shit that happened almost half a millenia ago.

    Get a life, you self-important hippy schmucks.

  64. [shocked, indignant tone]Media![/s,i,t]

    I resent being called a hippy!

    (not denying being a schmuck!)

    🙂

    hell I still protest Noah’s flood as a conspiracy by big flood insurance against the little guy.

  65. “hell I still protest Noah’s flood as a conspiracy by big flood insurance against the little guy.”

    Don’t let Dave W. get wind of that!

    😉

  66. Meaningless labelling rocks! Vapid absence of substance rocks!

    Pathetic comebacks rock even harder.

    Seriously, if it hadn’t been Columbus, some other European sailor would have bumped into the Americas sooner or later. And the outcome was inevitable. 15-16th Century Europeans weren’t any more or less vicious than native Americans, they were just a lot better armed.

  67. I’m kind skeptical as to why there’d be such a deep-seated urge to do so on a putative libertarian site…

    Drink!

    It’s as unseemly to celebrate Columbus as it is to celebrate Pizarro or Cortes.

    Except that neither of the later conquistadores made that first, fateful trip. Sure the Vikings made it here earlier but they didn’t stay. Columbus established the first permanent and resuppliable settlement in the new world. Regardless of his actions, desires, drives and other flaws in his character, Columbus initiated what would be the westward expansion of Europeans to this continent. Face it, Columbus set the first paver in the road to America.

  68. Viking re-enactors? Now that’s something I could endorse! Pass me some mead and a battle ax. I have the urge to loot and pillage!

    [Cues Led Zepplin’s “Immigrant Song.”]

  69. Sswohat?

  70. Guess:

    Federal Dawg and Joseph are either the same person, or belong to the same group home (the one where the monitor is outside taking a mid afternoon toke)….

    just guessin.

    Media – who do you think is representing my side on this one! The other lawyer (a meletary one) injured his taint when he bumped his glock and it went off…

  71. Vikings killed more people than Columbus…

    Awwww.. There just jealous that everyone seems to remember Vikings and not the Lombards.

  72. The Vikings killed more people than Columbus!

    Not in North America they didn’t. In North America they killed just about no one because they got along fine with the natives (skraeling) at first (vikings/varangians were just as happy to conduct trade as to pillage) and the few cases they might have killed were probably in self-defense; and didn’t work, they were killed off and driven out. There is still conjecture about what went wrong between the two groups. My favorite theory is that the Icelanders shared cheese with the natives who, experiencing the gastrointestinal distress of those who never ate dairy, believed the vikings had attempted to poison them.

  73. Edit: They’re

  74. Moose-

    I don’t see your posts as hippy-stank protestations so much as actually, you know, reciting the facts of the historical record.

    Dif’rent venues.

  75. Oh well, Media! 🙂

    🙂

    cheers

  76. I’m getting kind of tired of the kneejerk ‘LOL WIKIPEDIA LOL’ reaction from all quarters whenever anyone cites it.

    I do a lot of research in my job. You know what? Wikipedia’s pretty much invaluable. If I decide I don’t believe something there, I can usually either 1) find a debate in the discussion page that will clarify the various positions or 2) follow the links to the cited references.

    Or, I guess, I could do the usual internet discussion thing, and just make shit up based on an article I read two years ago on some site somewhere, and smugly put the burden of proof on everyone else.

    You know what I read? I read that Columbus liked to diddle small children, and he had a thing for coprophagy. And if you don’t believe me, you’ll need to somehow prove to me that my sourceless claim is false. Good luck!

  77. Joe,
    I actually don’t consider your Columbus was a butcher even relative to his contemporaries as an even remote answer to my question. It’s a dodge, and you know it. Who were the humanitarians? Quienes fueron los humanitarios?

  78. “No. I think you’re a troll asshole who didn’t bother doing simple research.

    That, and your mommie took her titty away too soon, but that’s for a different thread.

    tool.

    [brays with satisfaction. ambles off]”

    This is a seriously unstable reaction to entirely proper skepticism.

  79. Now, I’m laughing.

  80. I’m sorry, Agnar. I didn’t know you were sensitive about your yearbook picture.

    Seriously unstable. brumph brumph.

    some more research for you

  81. Dude, read a book sometime.

    The go-to schoolyard comeback of the grade school nerd. Eat a lot of dirt as a kid joe?

    Joe doesn’t celebrate Halloween either. He’s been saved.

  82. “This is a seriously unstable reaction to entirely proper skepticism.”

    And yet he’s the only one willing to post links to sources backing up his positions.

  83. I understand American Indian opposition to Columbus Day, but let he who is without sin cast the first stone. If they’re going to talk about how CC treated Indians, maybe they could also talk about how Indians treated Indians. This would include eating them, the aforementioned roasting alive, slavery, etc. This doesn’t make them any worse than pretty much every other culture in the world at that stage of development, but it doesn’t make them any better either.
    As mentioned above, the Apache weren’t exactly nice to the locals when they showed up in the Southwest. In 1492.

  84. “Would you recommend that African Americans start holding celebrations to honor slave ship owners?”

    Funny, it just occurred to me that if the Viking reenactors have any British or Irish ancestry, that’s pretty close to what they’re doing.

  85. /sarc/
    Dave: Joe said that Columbus was a butcher. Case closed. End of story. When Joe comes back with his exhaustive list of way awesome humanitarians, you’re going to be shocked, or maybe even spocked.

  86. Funny, it just occurred to me that if the Viking reenactors have any British or Irish ancestry, that’s pretty close to what they’re doing.

    Nah, the Viking weren’t that bad. They did a lot more intermarriage and farming than most people give them credit for; even their pillaging was more akin to armed robbery than homicide. A European History Prof once said in a class that the reason the Vikings are so remembered is because they left people alive to be bitter and fearful, while groups like the East Carpathians, who were active at around the same time in Central Europe but who were much more bloodthirsty are forgotten now because they never left anyone alive; nobody alive to fear means nobody alive to remember, and when the Carpathians were absorbed a few decades later, they were forgotten. Contrast the Vikings, who were also absorbed but who are remembered even today.

  87. The vikings have been re-enactors since the Tarkenton days. and as far as Vespucci goes, that cat made some gnarly scooters.

    you all know the chorus

  88. Shem!

    Some of us make sure of it!

    I ask myself, “‘what would the Vikings do?’ And the answer, sweet answer is always the same, ‘eat them’. And just to be sure I ask the follow up question, ‘and how would they go about this?’ And the answer, sweet answer is always the same, ‘they’d eat them'”

    [trod trod trod off]

    p.s., yours is (was?) the best sig evar!

  89. d’oh! premature postulation!

    AMEN!

  90. Who wants to pet my bunny?

  91. Finally, a thread where I can look forward to postings from joe. Just because Ward Churchill claims something doesn’t *necessarily* mean it’s false (though it does make it much more likely).

    Besides, the smallpox blanket thing was around WAAAAY before anyone had ever heard of Ward Churchill or given him a tenured professorship. Probably because it actually happened.

  92. it’s not like it was a state or local dog that was posting; it was a federal dog.

    jurisdiction has its privileges.

  93. “Lord Jeffrey Amherst was commanding general of British forces in North America during the final battles of the so-called French & Indian war (1754-1763).”

    How did that become “we”? I was reading Graphite as saying that the US Army was engaged in this practice. Still have not found any evidence of the US Army doing that.

    The only accusations I have found that the US Army was doing it were false, with Churchill parroting some of those flase claims supported by inaccurate rumors.

  94. My original post only referred to “Europeans.” Still, there is just a *wee* bit of continuity between the British side of the French & Indian War and the people who would later lead the Revolution and found the United States.

    Really, the blankets aside was just supposed to be a (callous, insensitive) joke in the first place. Of the thousands of natives who died from smallpox, how many do you think actually contacted as a result of the conscious designs of genocidal settlers? A tenth of a percent, maybe? And therein lies the absurdity of making sure to include smallpox-blanket deaths in the “killed by evil European Caucasian honkey white men” figures.

  95. “contacted” should be “contracted it” above.

  96. Really, the blankets aside was just supposed to be a (callous, insensitive) joke in the first place. Of the thousands of natives who died from smallpox, how many do you think actually contacted as a result of the conscious designs of genocidal settlers? A tenth of a percent, maybe? And therein lies the absurdity of making sure to include smallpox-blanket deaths in the “killed by evil European Caucasian honkey white men” figures.

    Actually, I liked the joke part 🙂 I just get a little ticked when “we” includes every freaking european who whittled a stick in the Americas. Now “we” picked up some bad habits from the British, like that slavery of blacks business, but at least “we” dropped the slavery of Indians that the Spanish practiced. Oh, and when the British dropped that bad practice of slavery they did everything they could to force us to drop it too, but that is another battle with the revisionists.

    To continue the rant (general, not at you) we did get this country from TWO major powers and the french, not just one. For some reason, when the Anglo bashers come out to play they forget about the Spanish and the french. I keep forgetting how the Dutch were in there, but wasn’t that an indirect transaction from them to the British then to us?

    If the snotty little USA haters want anybody to “attone” then go back to europe and pick on them.

    Okay, done for the moment 🙂

  97. It does make me laugh when I hear Italian-Americans getting upset about the suggestion that Vikings got to the US mainland first.

    A few comebacks…”they weren’t permanent settlements”. Despite the fact there is one that was found in Northern Maine that was made of stone.

    Another one: “you are just anti-Italian.” My reply was no I am pro-accurate history and think Vikings need credit for what they did in their longboats.”

    Oh yes and there is some evidence that Colunbus was following a map. He gets his own day for following a bloody map while the Vikings who just went West don’t?

  98. Oh yes and there is some evidence that Colunbus was following a map. He gets his own day for following a bloody map while the Vikings who just went West don’t?

    Actually, Columbus was a map maker before he became the greatest explorer evah!

  99. highnumber,

    “Even if you live in Malaysia, yes, they do have something to do with you. The world became a much smaller place in 1492. It had to happen at some point. It is unfortunate that mankind could still be so brutal when it happened, but, again, it was a good thing for all of mankind in the long run.”

    Of course it was important. Let me rephrase:

    Spanish imperialists enslaving Indians in the Carribean in the 1400s has nothing to do with American culture.

  100. ChrisO,

    “Seriously, if it hadn’t been Columbus, some other European sailor would have bumped into the Americas sooner or later.”

    Exactly. Columbus didn’t do anything that wouldnl’t have happened without him.

    “15-16th Century Europeans weren’t any more or less vicious than native Americans, they were just a lot better armed.”

    We don’t celebrate “15-16th Century European Day.” We celebrate Columbus, who was quite a bit more vicious than most native Americans as well as most Europeans, which is why he was broght back to Spain in chains.

    He was a despicable individual, unworthy of our respect.

  101. I agree with Guy Montag.

    “I just get a little ticked when “we” includes every freaking european who whittled a stick in the Americas.”

    Very appropriate for a thread about whether Columbus should be celebrated in the United States.

  102. Dave,

    1. I’m not nominating anyone from the 1400s as being an appropriate figure for a federal holiday; hence, I don’t have to demonstrate that anyone from that period was a humanitarian.

    2. Even the monarchs who assisted in the Inquisition and expelled the Jews – Ferdinand and Isabella – found Columbus’s treatment of the locals so horrific that they had him arrested.

  103. I can’t think of many historical figures that would pass the “left wing” test. Since we’re judging historical figures by today’s standards, let’s get George Washington off our money….unless you support slavery you bigot.

  104. “Since we’re judging historical figures by today’s standards…”

    Lamar, you’re usually better than this. Are the monarchs who had Columbus arrested for his atrocities contemporaries of ours?

  105. Piling onto the Apaches is fun and educational!

    The Apache (and their Navajo buddies) barely qualify as Indian. The histories I’ve read say that they migrated into the Southwest from the Vancouver region only centuries before the Spanish, at earliest. Genetic studies have them cooped up in the Alaskan littoral until the end of the Younger Dryas. Presumably they wiped out the actual natives of the Northwest (Kennewick Man etc).

    The Apache are just another batch of immigrants and yes, from a Southwest Indian perspective they were far worse neighbours to have around than the Spanish. After all, once a Spaniard realised that there was no treasure around your desert home he’d just set up a desultory mission, preach a bunch of crap and leave you otherwise alone.

  106. Joe,

    You keep saying that Ferdinand and Isabella had Columbus arrested, but that’s not the story. Columbus was arrested by the viceroy he requested from the King (there was a jealous power struggle in addition to the atrocities we all must concede). When he got back to Spain, it was King Ferdinand that ordered his release and eventually sent him on a fourth voyage. You’ve been trying to say that the Spanish crown condemned Columbus when in fact they ordered his freedom and bankrolled another one of his voyages.

    So, no the monarchs who released Columbus after his arrest by the viceroy are not our contemporaries. They also do not help your case, in my opinion.

  107. Lamar,

    Actually, they did both. The important point here is that his atrocities were considered sufficiently scandalous for a rival to have him arrested.

  108. joe,
    I think I get your point. You are correct – Columbus did some terrible things.
    He did one thing that was a huge step forward for mankind. That does not excuse the terrible things. Today, I don’t think people are honoring him. I think they are honoring that one accomplishment.

  109. p.s., yours is (was?) the best sig evar!

    Thanks! I’m glad I have such a wonderful guide for my everyday life!

    Now “we” picked up some bad habits from the British, like that slavery of blacks business, but at least “we” dropped the slavery of Indians that the Spanish practiced. Oh, and when the British dropped that bad practice of slavery they did everything they could to force us to drop it too, but that is another battle with the revisionists.

    Say what you will about the Hacienda system and the enslavement of Indians, there remain descendants of Central and South American Indians in large numbers today, and even for bad conditions, they’re much more integrated than the aboriginals in any former British colony. You don’t get credit for not enslaving someone if you avoid it in favor of committing genocide. And “revisionists” (really, why the constant persecution complex?) are perfectly happy to discuss the British attempts to end the slave trade; you’d know that if you had taken a British history course. There’s just not much point in talking about it in American history, since we were at that point, um, an independent country? If you don’t want blame for what the British did, you can’t claim credit for what they did either.

    Today, I don’t think people are honoring him. I think they are honoring that one accomplishment.

    He made a calculation error as to the size of the world, leading him to crash into the Americas. Some accomplishment. If we want to celebrate human achievement, I’m with whoever suggested giving Washington back his own holiday. Giving federal workers a day off based on some slaver’s luck 500 years ago seems like a pointless attempt to create a celebration.

  110. “He made a calculation error as to the size of the world, leading him to crash into the Americas. Some accomplishment.”

    Same with penicillin. Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin by accident is no accomplishment. Charles Goodyear? No real accomplishments there.

  111. If we want to celebrate human achievement, I’m with whoever suggested giving Washington back his own holiday.

    He never lost it.

    Shem,
    The accomplishment stands. Again, I am not honoring him. I honor the act that made us one world.

  112. Same with penicillin. Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin by accident is no accomplishment.

    Flemming’s actions don’t make him worthy of a holiday, no. Which is probably why we don’t celebrate Flemming Day.

    And I disagree about what people are celebrating. You may be celebrating our unification, but do you really think most people are celebrating that? The schoolkids who are being fed lies about Colombus every October? Most people celebrate the man and the hagiography that was created to give Americans a founder to celebrate who wasn’t British. Which is why I say, there are better men to celebrate.

  113. I hate these disagreements where no one really disagrees (Columbus was not a good guy), but still can’t agree. FWIW, I don’t give half a toot if someone celebrates Columbus Day or not. I think it’s cool to look back and think about how the world changed in 1492. I don’t get mail that day. My kid won’t have school that day in a few years. That’s all it really means to me.

  114. “Flemming’s actions don’t make him worthy of a holiday, no. Which is probably why we don’t celebrate Flemming Day.”

    Say WHAT? If anyone has contributed enough to get their own day, it should be the guy who came up with the stuff that cures bacterial infections from pneumonia to gonorrhea!

  115. Shem,

    Nice dodge. I didn’t say, or even imply, that Flemming should get his own holiday. I only mocked you for suggesting that an “accident” cannot lead to an accomplishment. But, since you were in justification mode and not thinking mode, I’ll just tell you my point: these aren’t really “accidents.” They are unexpected results from people who were pushing the envelope and found something new (relatively) and important. Oh yeah, add the telephone to the list of non-accomplishments.

  116. You make it sound like Columbus, Flemming, Bell, Goodyear, etc. were all just eating fartmanna and their discoveries were imposed on them against their evil wills.

  117. Let’s get some things straight here.

    The case of Lord Amherst giving smallpox infected blankets to Indians is a well-documented event in American history. So well documented, in fact, that I would expect that no educated or well-informed person would question it.

    The Ward Churchill debunking applies to his allegation that a smallpox epidemic among the Mandan in what is now South Dakota in the 1830s was caused by an American Army Officer issuing smallpox infected blankets to that tribe. There is in fact no evidence that any action by the US government caused that epidemic.

    What I am not exactly sure of is whether the Amherst event actually resulted in any Indian deaths. Smallpox epidemics were remarkably common in those days, especially among naive populations.

  118. This is a very bad situation?what can we do.

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