Columbus Day Ethics Voyage, 2022: What The Heck Did Chris Get Us Into?


  • That Columbus sketch was recorded in 1961. Was Stan Freberg ahead of his time , or what?
  • Boy, Paul Fries did a great Orson Welles impression!
  • Ethics Alarms has blown hot and cold on Columbus Day; you can read (or reread) the negative take from nine years ago here. Still, he was a brave man and a visionary, and attention must be paid.
  • And yet in the daily feature “This Day in History” for today, Columbus isn’t mentioned, perhaps because the “New World” was sighted on October 11. The stupid Monday holiday rule makes no sense when it is linked to an actual event with an established date. Columbus’s big moment at least deserves the right date.

1. Elon Musk can’t take over soon enough for me. Twitter, right on cue, proved its totalitarian inclinations by banning this tweet on the pretense that it was “misinformation”:

It wasn’t misinformation, just information that upsets a progressive, vaccine Nazi narrative. Eventually Twitter was shamed into reinstating the announcement, but it doesn’t matter: again, this is signature significance. A trustworthy platform doesn’t do this, not even once. Prof. Turley on his blog was astute enough to remind us that years ago, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal was asked how Twitter would balance its efforts to combat misinformation with wanting to “protect free speech as a core value” and to respect the First Amendment. He responded that the company is “not to be bound by the First Amendment” and will regulate content as “reflective of things that we believe lead to a healthier public conversation.” Agrawal said the company would “focus less on thinking about free speech” because “speech is easy on the internet. Most people can speak. Where our role is particularly emphasized is who can be heard.” Got it. [Pointer: Steve Witherspoon]

2. Irony and Lack of Self-Awareness of The Week (and also a ‘bias makes you stupid” classic): Here’s the NYT reporter Elizabeth Dias on Georgia conservatives sticking with Herschel Walker despite his (inexcusable) abortion scandal and his subsequent lies about it:

Mr. Walker reflects the way conservative Christianity continues to be defined by its fusion with right-wing politics and tolerance for candidates who, whatever their personal failings or flaws, advance its power and cause.

Conservative tolerance for flawed candidates with personal failings? Bill Clinton? Hillary Clinton? Joe Biden? Kamala Harris? Bernie Sanders? Elizabeth Warren? Tolerance of badly flawed characters for political gain is the exclusive realm of no party or ideology.

3. “The best people” Once again, Donald Trump appears to have retained bozos for his legal representation. You can read the ugly details here.

4. Don’t people know by now that if you say something even arguably inflammatory and even in private, someone is likely to be recording you? In a profanity-filled conversation with two other member of the LA City Council, Nury Martinez, the council president compared the black child of a white council member to a “changuito,” Spanish for “little monkey.” Then she referred to Oaxacan immigrants living in Koreatown as “short little dark people.” Someone recorded the whole thing and leaked it to the LA Times and the New York Times. She resigned as head of the City Council today, but so far plans on staying on it. Uh, I don’t think that’s going to work.

“I take responsibility for what I said, and there are no excuses for those comments,” Martinezsaid in her resignation statement. “As a mother, I know better and I am sorry. I am truly ashamed.” But she obviously doesn’t know better. She was caught, that’s all. Again, it’s signature significance. Why would any African-American (or anyone else) trust a Council members who said things like that? There are some acts you can’t apologize for.

5. I know, I know, polls…but still, this is amusing. A poll by WPA Intelligence, a conservative polling firm, claims to have found that Christopher Columbus is more popular among Hispanics than…well, just look:



7 thoughts on “Columbus Day Ethics Voyage, 2022: What The Heck Did Chris Get Us Into?

  1. Sunday I attended one of the larger Columbus Day parades in NJ. There are actually a fair number, although not as many as St. Patrick’s Day parades, which there are so many of they have to spread them out over four weeks. It’s to be expected that it would be large, since Nutley and Belleville still have strong Italian populations (Belleville is 60% white, Nutley 80%). Still, that said, there were plenty of other than Italian people watching today, and no one opposed, protested, or did anything other than clap, cheer, shoot pictures, and gather up the showers of candy (including some of the good stuff like Reese’s Peanut Butter cups) that the marchers threw.

    Sometimes I think that a lot of this nonsense about telling others what to celebrate or what not to celebrate et al is just manufactured outrage designed to score political points. I’m Italian, Columbus Day is our day, Columbus is our symbol because everyone knows who he is, and he was widely admired before pseudoscholars like Howard Zinn poisoned the study of history. My attitude toward Columbus Day vs. the celebration of victimhood is essentially the same as my view of Christmas vs. other holidays of that time from other religions. You do your thing, I’ll do my thing, and let’s not let it become a problem. You do not have to do my thing to be my friend or my respected colleague, and I hope you think the same of me.

    Kind of makes me think of the tragic Northern Irish song “Roses.” Long story short, it’s about two good -perhaps naive- friends from the two sides in that land long riven by conflict who tried to take that approach to disagreement between their respective communities. However, because those higher up the food chain had something to gain from division and conflict, both of them fell victim to it. The last lines of that song warn that those who call the shots and give the orders are not the ones who suffer the consequences, but there’s a very good chance that ordinary folks will be. There’s room for everyone in this nation, there’s room for disagreement, and there’s room even to avoid things you don’t want to be part of. There’s also supposed to be room for discussion, debate, and attempts at compromise. The sooner we all remember that, and stop this business of trying to tell everyone else what they can and cannot think, or can and cannot say, or can and cannot do, at the peril of being otherized and hated, the sooner this nation will get back on the right track.

  2. So, this woke graduate student is working on his PhD in revisionist history. After spending a long week in the library plowing through tedious books he goes looking for a drink or two. He decides to try out a new place that has opened in the area, but he fails to notice the red, white, and green tricolor on the sign over the entrance.

    He orders his first drink, and starts to make conversation with the bartender. He says “I’m a doctoral candidate at the University and I’m working on a kick butt thesis about how Columbus was downright evil and destroyed a peaceful civilization. Want to hear a few snippets?”

    The bartender looks at him like he has suddenly turned blue, and says, “Before you start in with your rant, I think you ought to know a few things. The man with no neck who let you in here is italian. Those two other guys without necks standing against the wall ready to deal with troublemakers are both Italian. I’m italian, and I’m no midget, and everyone in this establishment is italian. You sure you still want to give us that rant?”

    The graduate student doesn’t miss a beat and says, “on second thought, nah, I don’t want to have to repeat it three times before you get the point.”.

    The student has not been seen since. 😀😄😂

    • Steve-O-in-NJ,
      Good one. Did you come up with that yourself or is it a common joke you have heard?

      I ask because, even the bartender opened his mouth, I was pretty sure I knew where the joke was going. I had heard the “exact same” joke before but it was a “blonde joke” about a blind guy (so he could not see their hair color) in a bar. Of course, that one easily plays on the stereotype of the dumb blonde, which strike me as a more predictable stereotype, as compared to an Italian one.

      At any rate, I find the way jokes can have the same format and structure and punchline, even though the content is different. It is just a matter of plugging in different information that is, essentially, interchangeable. If more people understood how this works, they might be less offended by racist jokes. They might even laugh a little more often.


      • It’s a variation on a Polish joke in which the guy wants to tell a Polish joke in a Polish bar, and on being warned, promises to just talk very slowly.

  3. I’m not certain the significance of specifically Hispanic opinions on Columbus, Biden, and Harris. It’s also interesting that they used net positive instead of percentage who marked positive. For Columbus, 53% of respondents stated they viewed Columbus favorably, compared to 49% for Biden and 45% for Harris. Not overwhelming support for any of them, and to say that support for Columbus is overwhelming compared to Biden and Harris is a bit misleading. Columbus is barely over 50% support and Biden is just shy of that mark.

    The very high net positive for Columbus comes from just 24% of respondents saying they didn’t support him, compared to 42% and 41% for Biden and Harris, respectfully. I couldn’t find the exact wording of the questions nor the possible answers, but I would guess that the remainder said no opinion, had no clue who Columbus was, or just didn’t answer that question.

    Apparently the poll also had several age groups. Among respondents aged 18-39, the Columbus favorability dropped to 45%. No indication on the age breakdown for Biden and Harris.

    I would say the poll indicates that more Hispanics have opinions about current political figures rather than historical figures who died roughly 500 years ago.

    • Oh, it’s a garbage poll, no question about it. (But then, they all are, nearly.)It’s just another way to show that Hispanics are not the slam-dunk Democrats that the Blue version of “the Great Replacement” had everyone believing ten years ago. And it was Columbus Day.

  4. 3. “Mr. Walker reflects the way conservative Christianity continues to be defined by its fusion with right-wing politics and tolerance for candidates who, whatever their personal failings or flaws, advance its power and cause.”
    Could it be that “conservative Christianity” frequently allies itself with so-called “right-wing politics” because that is the side that is not openly hostile to Christianity and Christian values, as well as to the traditional values of Western Civilization and our Constitution? Just a thought…
    Politics (and Mr. Walker) aside, “conservative Christianity” has the habit of forgiving those who have sought repentance and received salvation from the ultimate Authority. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” is supposed to be more than mere liturgy. We are all “badly flawed characters”. Fortunately, having been forgiven by Him of our own transgressions, we may appreciate, but do not rely on, forgiveness from the secular realm.
    The godless often do not forgive, because they observe no standards but their own, and hold those self-serving tenants sacred and inviolable unless they become inconvenient. This attitude extends to their political ideology as well, and the non-conforming are damned.
    God frequently uses and has always used flawed men and women, even those totally written off by the world, to achieve His purposes, often while allowing them to also suffer the consequences of their sins.

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