Warning: Constant ABSPATH already defined in /home/public/wp-config.php on line 27
It’s A Holiday — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

It’s A Holiday

It’s the second Monday in October, so it is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Have a happy one.

By coincidence this is Columbus Day and it is falling on the 12th of October which was the second Wednesday in 1492 when Europeans discovered something that a lot of people didn’t know was lost. But it’s okay, because Christopher Columbus [AKA: Cristoforo Colombo, Cristóbal Colón] didn’t find what he was looking for and identified what he did find incorrectly. The important thing is that a large area of the map got changed from “here be dragons and sea serpents,” to “here be gold and cannibals” and no mention was made of the oppressive heat, mosquitoes, or hurricanes.

It’s a big day for Italians in the US, even though Colombo was Genoese, not Italian, as there was no Italy until just before the American Civil War.

But, hey, holidays are all about frauds and misconceptions in furtherance of a day off. In 1492 Isabel la Católica, Queen Regnant of Castile and Leon; Queen Consort of Aragon, Majorca, Naples and Valencia; Countess Consort of Barcelona, was more concerned to ridding her realm of non-Catholics, and had a “whatever” attitude about Cristóbal Colón. Her support amounted to a piece of paper telling people to supply him with men and ships out of their own pockets, not her treasury.

So while Chris sailed the “ocean blue”, ‘Bel and Ferd with the Dominican friar Tomás de Torquemada as the first Inquisitor General, pursued a policy of “religious cleansing” which provided important material for Monty Python.

We end up on a landmass named for a Florentine employee of the de Medici family, because a Freiburger [there was no Germany until 1870] cartographer read a probably bogus book of letters. OTOH, you have to give Vespucci points for figuring out that he probably wasn’t in Asia.

It was unfortunate for them that the indigenous people showed hospitality to the foreign visitors, because, as Lou Dobbs keeps saying, no one should welcome immigrants.


1 Comrade Kevin { 10.12.09 at 11:04 am }

Columbus Day is one of those holidays that aren’t very PC anymore, but yet no one has any problem with the opportunity to take a day off.

Thanks for the lesson about historical ironies. 🙂

2 Bryan { 10.12.09 at 1:46 pm }

If you aren’t a Federal employee, you may not even get the day off. It isn’t a Florida holiday, even though we were a Spanish colony.

It is probable that the Vikings landed 500 years earlier on the Canadian coast, but the winds aren’t favorable for that voyage, as they are prevailing westerlies in the North Atlantic. You have to drop a long way to the South to pick up the easterly flow that makes the trip easy. The Vikings had to put in a lot of time on the oars to get to Iceland and Greenland.

I think that it is more than slightly abusive to keep calling people and places lost, or undiscovered just because we didn’t know about them. The same goes for talking about groups as primitives or savages, when they can obviously live in an environment that would kill your average university professor.

Going to survival school alters your perception of a lot of things, like the importance of knowing what Emmanuel Kant thought about the Book of Job, as compared to what can I eat that won’t kill me in this bloody jungle.