Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Columbus Day Musings

Christopher Columbus always takes a beating around this time of year, In the last week I've heard that he was not only a rapist, but personally invented the concept of chattel slavery. It's hard to vouch for Columbus's character, yet I remain glad that he had the guns and ships and not, say, Tlacaelel of the Aztecs. Now that was a bad dude. He makes Columbus look like Michael Dukakis.

As 25% of an Italian-American, it is disappointing that our holiday has been hijacked into a forum not only for fair criticism, but also for people who sincerely believe Western civilization has on the whole been a bad thing --- a remarkably stupid position to take, yet millions do. Again, I'm no Columbus fan, but we should either get a "clean" holiday (may I suggest Fiorello LaGuardia Day?) or no holiday at all. Just give everyone a day off in the middle of October and don't get into the reasons. But we have to stand and watch our guy used as a punching bag.

It is ever thus for Italians. We have to put up with insulting caricatures like Vito Corleone, Father Guido Sarducci and Silvio Berlusconi. The National Italian-American Council tries to stop it, but they're the Washington Generals of advocacy groups. If a TV show has a black lawyer, he has to win every case or else the NAACP organizes an advertiser boycott. NIAC can't even stop Super Mario.

One Italian stereotype is especially hurtful. I refer, of course, to the Roman Moronie character from Johnny Dangerously. Not only is he a murderous gangster, he also mangles the English language. They never flat out say he's Italian, but come on, look at the mustache. He calls Johnny a "fargin sneaky bastige" and a "somanabatch" and accuses a Congressional panel on organized crime of   "violating [his] fargin civil rights."

The night I watched Johnny Dangerously, in which Moronie's conviction is followed by a newsboy handing out papers with the headline, "Moronie Deported to Sweden: Claims He's Not From There", I gently bedewed my pillow with tears and dedicated myself to a life of activism against 20th Century Fox and the Great Lakes Mall Cinema. The next morning, I came to my senses and laughed myself silly, and later watched Johnny Dangerously several times on video. It's a hilarious movie and Roman Moronie is the most memorable character. There are kids going around calling each other "fargin' iceholes" and they don't even realize where it's from.

Roman Moronie threatens to crush Johnny Dangerously's bells in a meat grinder 

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