Monday, October 11, 2004
Oh, yeah, and it's Columbus Day; it's a federal holiday (as seen in Title 5, Section 6103(a) of the United States Code; it comes in handy all the time), but otherwise it's so non-holidayish a holiday that Google isn't even doing a special logo for it. So all it really means to anyone who's not a federal employee is "no mail today and the trash pickup will be a day later than usual." Yeah, there's a rip-roarin' good time to be had over that.
The "who really discovered America?" issue is the kind of thing that people punch each other about, especially since the farther back you go the less hard evidence there is, and the less hard evidence there is the more wacky theories can flourish (no, there were not Phoenicians in Brazil!). And, certainly, the results of the discovering of America on the people living there at the time ranged from "awful" to "catastrophic," and I'm not going to get into that. (A New Yorker cartoon: store with big banner advertising "Rape of the Americas Day Sale!") What I do want to say is a quote, probably paraphrased (I couldn't find it in a bookshelf-raid this morning), from the early-20th-century humorist Will Cuppy: "America had been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up." The point isn't who was there first as much as who went back and told everyone first. It's probably not worth a federal holiday, but it's at least worth more than Leif Erikson Day would be.
[ at 4:16 PM • by Abby • permalink • ]