"In fourteen-hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue."
What school-aged moppet didn't learn this little ditty (although I don't think I learned it until Arnold Horshack on "Welcome Back, Kotter"). And growing up, I was taught that America had been discovered by the Explorer Christopher Columbus, an Italian sailing for Spain with his fleet, consisting of the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. The journey was in search of a new trade route to India. Upon arriving in the Caribbean, the area was dubbed the West Indies.
Christopher Columbus - Discoverer of the New World. They had Parades in his Honor (big Italian pride parades in New York). School was closed (some still are). Banks were closed (most still are). No Mail Delivery (no loss for me, they only deliver adverts and junk lately).
And then it all unraveled. I mean after all, how do you 'discover' a place that already has people on it? And what happened to those people? Oh yes, they were pushed aside - essentially invaded by hordes of Europeans who saw these less-developed indigenous peoples (less-developed by their high-falutin Euro ways - any really, aren't the Euros still trying to convince us that they are just a little more superior?)... who saw these indigenous peoples as either savages to be tamed or workers to be enslaved. Ultimately, all were barriers to our eventual Manifest Destiny.
How quickly one man's reputation went from valiant Explorer to genocidal Despot - just in a couple decades. And really for no more reason than people started to THINK about it more. When that touch of Rational Thought began to overtake the Mythical Lore of this one Man, his reputation hit the mud.
Oh how fickle we are.
Anyway, in Honor of Columbus Day, I thought I'd share this fabulously funny routine from American comedy genius, Stan Freberg (check him out on Wikipedia if you are unfamiliar with him). This routine comes from his classic album, Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America, Volume One - The Early Years (1961). Just click below: