This will be kind of quick and dirty because the subject doesn’t deserve much more than that.
You know why Salon-style liberals are so ripe for mockery? Because they concern themselves with issues that are “problematic” as opposed to, you know, actual problems. Problematic issues are luxury grievances, the kind of thing only someone who doesn’t have a real care in the world could possibly give a shit about. There’s a tedious breed of liberal which frets over nothing but this sort of nonsense, which prioritizes offenses over actual injuries and which can’t feel good about itself unless it has some abstract injustice to white-knight or to create a catchy hashtag about. There’s a reason we make fun of people who constantly call out “problematic” issues around here: they’re fucking stupid. Their lives tend to be one big exercise in time-suckage.
I bring this up because it’s Columbus Day, which used to be known primarily as a free day off named for a guy who got lost on his way to America, but which is now known for being yet another excuse to demand the immediate correction of the insidious lies of our imperialist history. Christopher Columbus, it’s been well proven, was kind of a bastard — there’s no arguing with that. But every Columbus Day we’re subjected to think-piece after taped segment after silly symbolic gesture from the professional left aimed at relitigating and rewriting the past and — what? — stripping a meaningless honor from a guy who’s been dead for 500 years? It just seems like a hell of a lot of sound and fury signifying — and accomplishing — nothing.
Almost every explorer and conquerer throughout history damaged an indigenous culture, some in more grotesque and insinuative ways than others. Most of us wouldn’t be here to complain about this kind of thing were it not for somebody sticking a flag into the ground centuries ago. While deference can be paid to those who were put asunder in uglier times, arguing loudly over facts which have long since become legend should be an embarrassing extravagance to most of us. Maybe you can make the argument that “Americanism” is a kind of religion and should therefore be reevaluated the same way all faiths should in this age, but that’s a hell of a stretch and while Christopher Columbus has commanded a certain amount of respect throughout the years he’s not fucking Jesus. Our ongoing adventures as a nation are never done in his name or even in his spirit.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t acknowledge that Columbus maybe isn’t the bill of goods we were sold as kids, but to turn this into a full-on cause that distracts us from any other thing we have to do today just feels ridiculous. Is this really the hill anybody wants to die on? I mean, hell, a good portion of the country doesn’t even get the day off anymore. Doesn’t that tell you something about what Columbus is worth these days?
Now please, Ben, don’t fire me.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.