Columbus Day: I’ma letchoo finish, but Dickipedia.org was the best site of all time.

... but it got sued, or at least a really muscular cease’n’desist, because it’s gone now. But the internet is forever, and I found the web archive! There are a bunch of good entries, although the Donald one is just ok. Disappointing. Much, I suppose, like Donald. This is my favorite entry. It's very long. Get a wine, put your feet up, it's worth it.

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Dickipedia: Christopher Columbus (1451 – May 20, 1506) was an Italian navigator, explorer, accidental “discoverer” of America, and a dick.

Columbus’s special brand of dickishness is three-fold. First off, his greatest achievement was “discovering” land that was not only already inhabited by millions of people but was also previously “discovered” by Europeans 500 years earlier. Second, his great discovery of the New World happened completely by accident and Columbus went to his grave still believing he had been sailing back and forth to Asia all those years. Third, his voyages initiated widespread European contact with Native Americans, eventually leading to the near wipeout of the entire indigenous American population, forcing all survivors into the casino gaming and faux Indian knick-knack industries.

Christopher Columbus’ greatest achievement in dickery, however, is his legacy. Despite leading a life of racism, slavery, and barbaric acts against natives so heinous that he was arrested and jailed, the only thing American children are really taught about the man is that “in fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” With similar historical airbrushing, schools could also accurately teach that “in nineteen hundred and forty two, Hitler gave free showers to lots of Jews.” He did. Look it up.

Everybody hates Chris

Christopher Columbus was born between August and October 1451 in what is now modern-day Italy. The fact that nobody bothered to document the actual month or day of his birth gave young Chris the emotional scar-fueled drive for success and recognition necessary to think sailing out to the middle of nowhere was a good idea. He would eventually get his dickish revenge on society by forcing grade schoolers to memorize specific dates about his life for centuries to come.

His flawed plan

With the fall of the Mongol Empire to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, Europe no longer had a safe land passage to China and India to acquire such necessities as silk, spices, and opiates. Knowing that Europeans simply could not survive without a steady supply of ladies’ blouses, curry and black tar heroin, Columbus hatched a dickish plan to create a new trade route to the Indies by sailing directly west across what was then redundantly known as the "Ocean Sea.”

Contrary to popular belief, learned people of the time did not still think the world was flat, although they did still believe that your soul could escape your body during a particularly violent sneeze. The problem they saw with Columbus’s plan, however, was his claim that Asia was only a few thousand miles to the west of Europe, whereas scholars had calculated he was off by roughly the combined size of North America and the Pacific ocean. Like a true dick, Columbus refused to admit he might be wrong, even when everyone in the known world disagreed with him. So how did a dick like Columbus convince people give him money in exchange for something everybody knew wouldn’t work? With the invention of late night infomercials almost 500 years away, he had to peddle his too-good-to-be-true get rich quick scheme directly to European royalty.

Financing his flawed plan

In 1485, Columbus presented his scheme to King John II of Portugal, requesting three ships and one year's time to complete his voyage and return to Europe. Columbus also dickishly demanded he be titled "Great Admiral of the Ocean," made governor of all lands he discovered, and given a percentage of all revenue from those lands. The King submitted Columbus’s proposal to his experts, who promptly rejected it because a) it was wildly flawed and inaccurate, and b) what kind of dick asks to be called "Great Admiral of the Ocean"?

Columbus next pushed his plan on King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I, rulers of the recently united kingdoms of Spain. They referred his request to a committee which, once again, concluded that Columbus’s math was off and that any crew sailing directly from Europe to Asia would starve to death well before reaching the land of tarragon and morphine. Spain, however, was desperate to compete with other European countries in trade, and after constantly nagging the Spanish court for two years, Columbus sold them on his scam in 1492.

Failing his way into history

In 1492, Columbus did indeed sail the ocean blue with the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa María – just like you learned in second grade! After a five-week voyage across the ocean, land was sighted at 2:00 a.m. on October 12, 1492. Instead of thinking, “Hey, that was a really short time to practically circumnavigate the entire globe,” Columbus simply declared that he had landed in the Indies. In reality, he and his crew had anchored in what is now the Bahamas, setting the stage for many a Carnival cruise ship to come.

Columbus called the island he “discovered” San Salvador even though the natives who already lived there called it Guanahani. Since Columbus continued to insist he was in India, he referred to its inhabitants as "Indians,” and in his journal he wrote of them, "The people here ought to make good and skilled servants, for they repeat very quickly whatever we say to them.” If anyone ever had an eye for picking out good slaves, it was ol’ Christopher Columbus! Columbus and crew returned to Spain on March 15, 1493, spreading word of the new. There is increasing scientific evidence that they also spread the New World syphilis they contracted throughout Europe, resulting in as many as 5 million deaths.

Additional failures

Starting in 1493, Columbus made three more voyages back to “the Indies” and, as his contract stipulated, he also began to govern some of the lands he colonized. As a ruler, he was most notably a dick to the people of Hispaniola, instituting a policy which is referred to by modern historians as “genocide.” Governor Columbus began systematically enslaving and murdering the island’s native Taino people, and it took the "Great Admiral of the Ocean" just two years to ensure that half of the 250,000 Taino were dead and the rest were slaves put to work on plantations. A God-fearing man, Columbus opted not to baptize the natives because Catholic law forbade the enslavement of Christians. What else was he going to do, NOT enslave them? Get real.  Thanks to all these barbaric acts of torture, Governor Columbus was greeted with arm and leg chains upon his return to Spain, and imprisoned for several weeks. Although he was eventually released, it put an end to his short-lived political career.

The Columbus legacy

On May 20, 1506, Christopher Columbus died at about the approximate age of 55, still dickishly convinced that he had traveled to and enslaved much of Southeast Asia. After a few centuries, European History chose to forget every negative aspect of Columbus’s life and simply hailed him as “the man who discovered America.” In 1866, this dick was even a candidate for sainthood in the Catholic Church. And in 1892, the 400th anniversary of his first arrival in America, the United States was infected with Columbus Fever: President Benjamin Harrison instituted Columbus Day, Ohio’s capital city was named Columbus, and the name Columbia was given to both South Carolina's capital city and the federal capital district, forever equating the seat of our federal government and our nation’s capital with a truly historic level of dickishness.

The only time in history that rivaled that era in terms of Columbus Craziness was in 1992 when, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage, Hollywood released two shitty movies about his life at the same time. That’s when you really know you’ve left a mark on the world.

Kathryn Allyn

Jazz singer, political junkie, cautionary tale and nights'n'weekends Stig, on the Island of Misfit Toys.