Not All Italians Love Columbus
by Mickey Z.
t's time for yet another Columbus Day ... 24 hours set aside to revere Italy's version of the Terminator.
America is a nation
built upon myth (starting with its "discovery") but the greatest myth of
all is that the land of the free is gonna last forever. Alas, my
History Channel-watching brethren, all genocidal empires must fall --
just ask Italy.
Once the proud birthplace of DaVinci, Verdi and my
father, Italy must now bear the blame for producing Buttafuoco,
Guiliani, and Janice Soprano. While the children of old Italia once rose
up in defense of Sacco and Vanzetti, today's paisan is busy trying to explain Fabio.
Indeed, when the mighty fall, they do tend to go for the gusto.
Iponder this irony as we come upon yet another Columbus Day -- 24 hours
set aside to revere Italy's version of the Terminator. Upon encountering
the Arawak people in 1492, Columbus noted that they "would make fine
servants," adding, "with fifty men we could subjugate them all and make
them do whatever we want." Governor Arnold's got nothing on Chris "The
Continent Cleanser" Columbus.
the elevated platform at the Astoria Boulevard N/W train station, my
neighborhood plays host to Columbus Square...which is actually shaped
like a warped triangle. Let Manhattan have its rather simplistic
circle...we in Queens are far more geometrically sophisticated. It's a
square triangle for us.
a statue of Christopher Columbus adorns this triangular square. If one
were to believe this sculptor's rendition, Chris the Capo spent plenty
of time in the Santa Maria Tennis and Fitness Club. This statue is
pumped. He's got biceps to die for and a set of pecs that are literally
bursting out of his manly shirt.
Yes, Columbus is buffed and ready for genocide.
engraved plate on the ground under the statue reads: "But not for
Columbus, there would be no America." As I stomp on those intolerable
words with my dirt-infested sneakers, I envision that first
COLUMBUS: Red man, we want your land and everything on it.
INDIAN: Okay, muscular paleface, but what will you offer in return?
Venereal disease, smallpox, the destruction of your culture, genocide,
Christianity, and a really bad image in John Wayne flicks.
INDIAN: Can you toss in a few casinos?
COLUMBUS: Sure, but you'll have to wait about 500 years.
INDIAN: Okay, Chris, you've got a deal.
With that conversation in mind, I ascend the stairs to the train.
Happy Indigenous People's Day...
Mickey Z. is the author of "Saving Private Power: The Hidden History of 'The Good War.'"