Happy Columbus Day Week!

Friday, October 19, 2007

(And better late than never!)

My birthday falls close enough to Columbus Day that my Dad would often jokingly wish me a "Happy Columbus Day!" instead as I was growing up. In return, when his birthday rolled around in July, I'd sometimes wish him, "Happy Independence Day!" And so it is that I am usually pretty good about remembering Columbus Day -- although this year, I got busy and had to be reminded on the day by my calendar program.

Do you see what is wrong with this picture? You normally can't go through the run-up to some major holiday or anniversary without being bombarded with reminders from all directions -- sometimes for months in advance. Although I don't recall a huge fuss ever being made over Columbus Day as I was growing up, it has taken a beating from multiculturalists for years and seems to have slowly started sinking out of the public view.

This is a big shame, for Christopher Columbus, with his discovery of the New World, helped get the ball rolling for that greatest expression of the ideas of the Enlightenment, the United States of America.

Fortunately, historian Scott Powell didn't forget about Columbus Day. Indeed, he has made the week around Columbus Day a festival over at his blog:

Unlike modern historians, I am a huge fan of Christopher Columbus. I would rank him as one of the ten most important men in history–and for the good! So Powell History is going to celebrate not just Columbus Day, but as a small measure of justice for a man so wrongly villified in our modern culture, a week of Columbus-related posts highlighting his achievements and his significance in world history. [my bold]
So stop by Powell History Recommends for sculpture, paintings, and poetry commemorating this great man of independent vision, and to learn how to begin mounting an intellectual defense of his place in history.

As I have mentioned several times here previously, it was Scott Powell who initially got me interested in working a lot smarter. Were it not for him, I would not have been so well-organized as to necessarily check a calendar program every day. Conceivably, I could have gotten so wrapped up in my work and personal affairs that the day would have passed completely unnoticed. So this year, it isn't much of a stretch to say that I owe it to him to have remembered Columbus Day on Columbus Day in addition to getting to read his blog posts about it.

And for next year? I've added a calendar reminder for early September to consider taking Columbus Day off. Even if I can't do that, at least, I'll be ready the next time that day arrives! As Thomas Bowden once put it, "On Columbus Day, ... we celebrate Western civilization as history's greatest cultural achievement. What better reason could there be for a holiday?"

Thanks again, Mr. Powell!

-- CAV


: Minor edits.


Gideon said...

Scott Powell is awesome. My daughter is taking lower elementary history with him and I like his lectures very much.

Oh and by the way, I'm back to blogging. You'll see more of by me soon.

Gus Van Horn said...

I agree, Gideon.

And I'm pleased to know that you're coming back soon. I miss your blog.

Vigilis said...

Interesting post, Gus. Your link to Scott Powell also afforded me a long awaited opportunity to speak my mind on the subject of Columbus and his trendy detractors!

Gus Van Horn said...

I love it!

I'm reproducing it in whole here:

"How right you are, Mr. Powell. Christopher Columbus probably represents the lowest-hanging fruit of modern academics intent on stealing some of a decedent's fame by claiming it has been unjustified. Balderdash!

"There probably exists no spot on Earth where someone else cannot be traced earlier, and earlier, etc. Missing, of course, is any enduring significance to such earlier appearances.

"The results of migrations by bands of other ethnicities or cultures never amounted to more than the discovery of ingrown toenails on their own feet; and the result today can be summarized similarly as: So what?"