Much as the Arctic ice cap is receding from global warming, Western culture is shrinking by revisionism.
Our associate Ken Borelli in San Jose, CA (south of San Francisco in “Silicon Valley”) keeps tabs on the Columbus controversy there. Both Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as San Jose, have subverted Columbus Day. The state holiday is next on the block. In 1958, Italian Americans donated a statue of Columbus to San Jose City Hall where it stood until this year. Protesters managed to have the statue removed with the blessing of Mayor Sam Liccardo (yes, that’s Italian with Mexican and Irish thrown in). But, Hizzoner has no problem with the Aztec feathered-serpent god Quetzalcoatl the city bought in 1994 for $400,000. He doesn’t care that the Aztecs made human sacrifices to the god. Ken suggests our organizations demand the snake god be removed from public property. Great idea – wonder if the media would be sympathetic?
Across the Pond, Britain’s BBC Teach, a public corporation, has produced a multicultural video of English history taking many ethnic and racial liberties. Colleague Joe Graziose tipped us off and Senior Analyst Don Fiore located the video Story of Britain on YouTube. Here is a still-shot from the video aimed at 7- to 11-year olds. Who knew the Romans were multi-racial?
We doubt if Italian-Brits are going after BBC Teach for such liberties, but be sure that Jewish-Brits are on top of things. Here is a response from BBC Teach concerning a faux pas it made about the Temple Mount in Jerusalem:
“The mistake about the most sacred place was made in good faith and we apologise. We are having the film edited to correct errors and confusion, and ensure it is correct in future.”
Like the Anti-Defamation League here, and the Primo Levi Center in Italy, Jews in Britain can count on their own UK Media Watch to protect their culture and heritage. We, on the other hand, accept without a squawk.
It isn’t difficult to see where all this historical revisionism is headed. The key word is ‘relevance.” History is boring to most students because they cannot identify with historical figures. Even Euro-American kids are complacent to pale-faced history. But minority leaders know their children desperately want historical role-models.
Sometimes you have to destroy traditional heroes like Columbus to create a new narrative about yourself. Hispanic mestizos are using their exploding population to gain the coveted victim status which Native Americans have already acquired. Ousting the federal Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples Day would be a tremendous victory for mestizos, natives, and Blacks. Even indigenous cannibalism and human sacrifice can be expunged when you find the right European scapegoat. It’s called reductio ad Hitlerum. Columbus was Hitler! End of debate.
But as you progress up the “Victims Ladder” you need to manipulate history to make your ancestors also appear as heroes. African Americans have made great strides in victimization but now realize younger generations need a more inspiring foundation than slavery. Black History Month and a slew of Hollywood movies have magnified Black contributions in American history. Victory in the Second World War depended on the Tuskegee Airmen, the Red Ball Express, the Buffalo Soldiers, and Patton’s Panthers, a tank battalion. A million Italian Americans in uniform is only a footnote.
I suspect there is some jealousy among the minorities as gays and transgenders ascend the Ladder. Some claim DaVinci and Michelangelo were gay. Using such hunches, gays may take credit for most of the Euro-Caucasian gifts to mankind – too numerous to list – confusing our achievements. I see often how NY Times columnist Frank Bruni, heavily connected to Italian culture, nevertheless represents the gay world rather than the Italian American perspective.
Tis a brave new world a ‘coming and our piece of it is getting smaller. –JLM