Archive for October, 2006

Damn the Man

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I’m working at getting various medical things wrapped up before the end of the year. Today was my trip to the optometrist for new glasses. That whole bit was uneventful up to the dilation at the end. Apparently I’m a really good dilator. Even the doctor commented on how good I was at it. From more than about a foot away you couldn’t see that I had irides at all.

My appointment was in Chinatown, so afterward I went off in search of some food looking like something from Demonbaby Goes to Washington.

The waitress seemed friendly enough. Apparently she hadn’t seen Demonbaby or she would have certainly been more disconcerted since, as we all know, Demonbaby eats his server after enjoying some tasty lo-mein. Though I couldn’t really see anything at that point. I attributed her soft-spoken speech to being Asian, perhaps it was abject terror.

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I’ve been reading Lies My Teacher Told Me and spent last night learning a little about Columbus. Since tomorrow, October 12, is the anniversary of his landing, I figured I’d share some of what I learned.

When Columbus first landed on what is now Haiti, there were an estimated 8 million people already living there. Between when he took his first shipful of slaves back to Spain and the end of his self-appointed reign as “viceroy and governor” in 1500, that population had dropped to as few as 100,000. By 1555, the Indians of the Caribbean Basin were extinct.

“Haiti under the Spanish is one of the primary instances of genocide in all human history. Yet only one of the textbooks, The American Pageant, mentions the extermination. None mentions Columbus’ role in it. [Loewen, pp. 63-64]”

Should we take this day off and celebrate this man’s life? Well, perhaps not celebrate, but it is unarguably a part of our history that I think deserves recognition. One of the primary themes of the book is captured well in one of the opening quotes:

“By idolizing those whom we honor, we do a disservice both to them and to ourselves… We fail to recognize that we could go and do likewise.”

— Charles V. Willie

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