Here’s a classic demonstration of how wingnuts play “telephone.” You remember the game: you and the rest of the Fox Morning Crew sit in a circle. You whisper “total eclipse of the sun” into Gretchen’s ear, and by the time it gets back to Brian, he’s saying “Bo’s evil hips had a son.”
This thing is like that. A school principle in Somerville, Massachusetts, Anne Foley, sent an e-mail to her teachers in anticipation of Columbus Day:
“When we were young we might have been able to claim ignorance of the atrocities that Christopher Columbus committed against the indigenous peoples . . We can no longer do so. For many of us and our students celebrating this particular person is an insult and a slight to the people he annihilated. On the same lines, we need to be careful around the Thanksgiving Day time as well.”
A trenchant note. A list of Columbus’ crimes might take up the whole internet. There is no reason to celebrate the monster, and it’s time we admit that. If you want to hail the Europeans’ arrival in the New World, go ahead. But forget Columbus. Forget also the Conquistadors, their death-from-horseback campaigns, and their biological warfare through smallpox. Let’s come to our senses.
Anyhoo, Principal Foley’s e-mail got hijacked by shallow fate in the writing of Boston Herald hack Jessica Heslam. She measured the tragedy of the e-mail sent to Kennedy School teachers. It was an attempt to kill happiness:
Fun takes a holiday in Somerville
School frowns on Halloween, Columbus Day – and maybe Thanksgiving
A Somerville principal has opened fire on cherished American holidays, blasting legendary explorer Christopher Columbus for “atrocities” and saying “we need to be careful” about celebrating Thanksgiving in a scathing email to teachers — who are already under orders not to let the kids dress up for Halloween.
Foley “opened fire on cherished American holidays.” She’s been night-sticking free time. She’d tear gas your Mother’s Day. The game of telephone gets harder when the first set of ears are deaf and dumb, no? But, in wingnuttia, we are familiar with how well it pays to be dense. The post became so popular it got its own badge:
. . and off went the faithful:
–Massachusetts Principal Takes Aim at Fall Holidays, Says They’re Insensitive
–Massachusetts principal gives the Grinch a run for his money
–Mass. School Principal Bans Thanksgiving Holidays
–And the Pussification of America Continues: Somerville Schools Trying To Ban Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, And Now Halloween
Principal Blackheart banned holidays, including Thanksgiving, because uncomfortable Indian peoples. Yep, there’s the truth. Funny it took an intercepted e-mail for anyone to notice. Somerville’s mayor, Joseph A. Curtatone:
No one is saying people cannot celebrate our traditional holidays, just that there’s more to them than fits on the back of a matchbook. Principal Anne Foley raised a fair point with her staff . .
. . we have nothing against Columbus Day in Somerville. We also have nothing against Thanksgiving and Halloween. On the Halloween front, on Saturday, October 23rd we will throw the biggest Halloween-themed party in the metro Boston region. We are closing down Somerville Avenue from Union Square to Porter Square for our last SomerStreets festival of the year. There will be a costume parade, costume contests, a haunted house, chainsaw pumpkin carving . .
There, done. Let’s not get silly. Puh-leeze?
. . some historians say the K-8 educator needs to do her homework.
Carol Delaney, author of “Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem,” said the Italian explorer has been “terribly maligned.”
“He was not the one going off marauding,” she said. “There were some atrocities that happened but he was generally not involved.”
AAAUUGHH. The fool’s dodge for Columbus, it persists. His people were a rough-and-tumble lot, but Columbus was okay. Those guys were sailors, after all.
No. This apologetic crap is what’s known as “wrong.” Here’s an excerpt of Thom Hartmann I used for a Columbus Day post last year:
When Columbus and his crew arrived on their second visit to Hispaniola, however, they took captive about two thousand local villagers who had come out to greet them . .
[Diarist] Cuneo further notes that he himself took a beautiful teenage Carib girl as his personal slave, a gift from Columbus himself, but that when he attempted to have sex with her, she “resisted with all her strength.” So, in his own words, he “thrashed her mercilessly and raped her” . . .
Columbus and his men also used the Taino as sex slaves: it was a common reward for Columbus’ men for him to present them with local women to rape. As he began exporting Taino as slaves to other parts of the world, the sex-slave trade became an important part of the business, as Columbus wrote to a friend in 1500: “A hundred castellanoes (a Spanish coin) are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten (years old) are now in demand” . .
Eventually, life for the Taino became so unbearable that, as Pedro de Cordoba wrote to King Ferdinand in a 1517 letter, “As a result of the sufferings and hard labor they endured, the Indians choose and have chosen suicide. Occasionally a hundred have committed mass suicide. The women, exhausted by labor, have shunned conception and childbirth… Many, when pregnant, have taken something to abort and have aborted. Others after delivery have killed their children with their own hands, so as not to leave them in such oppressive slavery.”
Only sixty years after Columbus first landed on Hispaniola, the Taino were all gone. Dead. When strangers are in the habit of killing themselves after they get to know you, you don’t belong on a calendar. You belong in jail.