Monday, October 13, 2014

Removing Columbus from the Calendar

Ironically, as I noted in an old post, the cancellation on this stamp honoring Christopher Columbus and

the "discovery" of America obscures the figure of the putative hero. It could serve as a metaphor for his fate in recent years.

The reaction against the glorification of Columbus advances a bit further this fall as the government of the city of Seattle today--on the federal holiday of "Columbus Day"--signs a measure mandating the celebration of the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Nothing of the sort planned in Amherst yet. (Select Board signed the fall Town Meeting warrant a week ago.)

My 2012 roundup of stories on changing attitudes toward the explorer and his holiday. covered a lot of ground, so I won't try to do the equivalent here again. (I think there was some pretty good stuff there: check it out.)

Instead, I'll just note that the Harvard Crimson got into the game this year with the brief and light-hearted Even People in the 1400s Agreed Columbus Was An Asshole.

Update, Oct. 27: belatedly came across this from John Patrick Leary's Tumblr, which chronicles and dissects the language of inequality. In this one, he describes the anachronistic appropriation of Columbus:
Happy Imperialist #Leadership Day from the Keywords #Team!

This Columbus Day offers some of the less historically (to say nothing of morally) inclined out there to draw fatuous links between the contemporary cult of entrepeneurship and the legacy of Christopher Columbus’ conquest—err, acquisition—of America some 500 years ago. (read the rest)

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