Knowing Better is incorrect in naming his channel. Columbus was a genocidal, racist, religiofascist slavemaster, and no amount of “linguistic gymnastics” will save the vid I’m responding to from being absolute trash. In this video, I respond to all of this guy’s weaseling about Columbus, and respond to the people sending me the link to this vid, as though it changes anything.
So this is basically a test run for response videos. Next ones will be much flashier, but I wanted to see if people liked my style, and get general notes for improvement. If you have any suggestions, let me know. Open to feedback 🙂
First incorrect claim: Adam didn’t say anyone thought the Earth was flat. He simply said Columbus doesn’t deserve credit for “discovering” otherwise. He’s tearing down a myth – of course he’s going to attack obviously incorrect trope-y parts of it. It’d be like me saying “he can’t fit through most home chimneys” as part of a proof Santa isn’t real. Nobody said Santa said he could – he wouldn’t need to, because the myth carries the baggage, and that’s what’s being discussed – the myth, not the man. Saint Klaus wasn’t magical and couldn’t fit in chimneys. Columbus didn’t discover the Earth was round, and children shouldn’t be taught otherwise. But they are. So in dissolving the veil of dumb around Columbus, it’s perfectly logical and fine to bring this up and dispel it. What an asinine point.
Second incorrect claim: a ball with a breastlike protuberance is a pear shape. Nobody should have to explain this.In Adam’s caricature (totally fine and accurate in this context) he uses a pear as an analogue, because it’s more ubiquitous than other objects, say some squash or gourd varieties. Lets not mince dumb details like this in a show meant to be entertaining, when the original point is, for all intents and purposes, true. And the fact that they were in need of new imports doesn’t change that. Yeah, Adam took some liberties with his depiction, but his point was to show that Columbus is human, not some deity in need of a day of reverence.
Third incorrect claim: the “thinking the Earth is tiny” part is a joke aimed at the fact that Columbus simply believed someone’s assertion, rather than doing any real discovery. Missing a continent makes the world smaller. Humans aren’t fish, and a bigger ocean doesn’t make our world grow. The point is still valid, even if you don’t like the jokes made alongside it. What a needlenosed point. And I mean, come on – is it really better that he believed someone’s depiction with no proof, or that he ran all the calculations himself? Because he still miscalculated 7000 miles. Even if his only “calculation” is believing someone else’s. Like yeah, if you copy someone’s homework, and they’re wrong, you get a bad grade. Duh.
Fourth incorrect claim: it isn’t “weird” to dispel the claim that he discovered America, because let me remind you, we’re dispelling myths taught in school, and in school, myself and many others, were taught he was important to US history because he “discovered America”. This is rhetorically and qualitatively untrue, as what he named “America” is not even a part of America today. He came in, mushroom stamped a territory, and said “behold, I discovereth!” And it was already discovered, by the hundreds of thousands of Tainos there. So there’s that. He didn’t discover the land, and he didn’t discover America. And the fact that Columbus could stumble on the Caribbean while looking for Japan, and “discover America” by this guy’s inept assessment, means Lief Erikson discovered the continent first, by the same token. This special pleading is trash. And if “discovering America” is the thing under discussion, Erikson had bitcoin, and still has bitcoin, he just lost his seed phrase. By the way, the Amerigo Vespucci and Waldseemüller thing is the first substantive point in the video, and it doesn’t even really counter anything. Next?
Fifth incorrect claim: no livestock for machining. What people commonly refer to as “domesticated animals” are animals that go to the polls every four y- oh… sorry – he doesn’t like jokes, so I should stick to raw facts. Like how domesticated animals are ones which have been selectively bred for a specific level of servitude over several generations. It starts with taming and ends with chihuahuas. So for him to insist it would have been impossible for the natives to get draft animals when Equus Ferus and Bison were in the region now known as North America for millennia before Columbus arrived is asinine. And that’s just cows and horses – which, ya can’t get much more ‘Merican than – but there are a variety of potentialities he simply ignores which might vindicate Cody Johnston’s use of the word “yet”. Again mincing terms – really starving for watch hours, yeah? And sure, someone’s gonna bring up the “Peru” part, and claim making it about North American horses and bison is moving goalposts, but if you consider the theory that horses, bison, and humans all came over on the Bering land bridge, toward which I lend significant credence, not only were those people the real discoverers of what are now the Americas, but they theoretically could’ve ventured North, exploring the rest of their – and I stress this, *their* – continents to get access to domesticable animals for gruntwork. The fact they didn’t doesn’t mean they couldn’t have. I could stab myself in the chest – I have the tools and skills. I obviously haven’t yet, but we’re discussing ability here. And the word “yet”. When he says there are no horses or donkeys, he’s simply wrong. And also laughable. I laughed. And when he said there were no cows, it’s also laughable, because of course there weren’t – those are the result of domesticating taurines over many generations – things of which America’s First Nations people would have been capable. And just didn’t do. Yet.
Sixth incorrect claim: responding to his sarcasm about “if by silly you mean brutal” with “brutal is not a synonym for silly”, as though he didn’t know that is intentionally missing his point, and strawmanning it. He never said it was – in fact, his point was that people shouldn’t dismiss the mistake as “silly” when it’s really brutal. His exact point is that they’re not synonyms.
Seventh incorrect claim: when Columbus said they’d make good servants, he meant slaves. The colonies he set up operated with the encomienda system, a system of servitude defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “a grant by the Spanish Crown to a colonist in America conferring the right to demand tribute and forced labor from the Indian inhabitants of an area.” From ThoughtCo, “In the Americas, the first encomiendas were handed out by Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean…” It goes on to say, “The natives were supposed to provide tribute, in the form of gold or silver, crops, and foodstuffs, animals such as pigs or llamas or anything else the land produced. The natives could also be made to work for a certain amount of time, say on a sugarcane plantation or in a mine. In return, the owner, or encomendero, was responsible for the well-being of his subjects and was to see to it that they were converted and educated about Christianity.” This was originally established under the Spanish inquisition as part of the Reconquista system of Conquistadores. They used it as a conversion system for Muslims – you know, in context of the Ottomans Knowing Worse here brought up earlier – and were all to happy to use it on the natives as well.But don’t let that stop ya from plugging a thing into Google Translate and declaring victory. Especially then going on to make a dumb statement like “It takes some linguistic gymnastics to get from ‘they must be good servants and of good wit’ to ‘the people are ingenious and would make good servants’.” No, it doesn’t. Those are basically the same sentences. And “with fifty men they are all subjugated” is the same as “I could conquer them all with 50 men and govern them as I please”. Almost like you’re trying to fill time by making the translations seem uncharitable, but can’t actually increase the charitability by using yours. Almost like this whole point is bullshit. And by the way, the ending would make much more sense if you didn’t use the universally panned Google Translate. Pro-Tip – speak to a Spaniard before making videos about Spain. And by the way, government and conquering are the same as subjugation too. Especially when dealing with conquistadores using the reconquista system of encomienda to force Indians to become Christian and serve your crown. I mean the only real substantive point you’ve made so far is about the “six of them” part. But go on.
Eighth incorrect claim: slaves are people forced to work against their will, and this point is such garbage, it lights itself on fire. It’s an automatic dumpster fire! We should use it as an energy source. Because in 1542, King Chuck of Spain would call it both government and slavery and abolish it. You absolute assclown. The fact that he was ousted for not enslaving them well enough doesn’t mean it’s not a plantation operating slavery. And by the way, free men can choose not to work. These were not free men. Literally never speak again if this is what comes out. The fact that he was complaining doesn’t change the fact that it happened under his oversight, and by his approval. His letter to the Crown changes anything naught. The fact it was translated by someone you suspect changes it naught. The fact is, he said these things, and your personal bias toward your interpretation of Google Translate’s generally bad translation changes it naught, neither. But feel free to say that an AI knows better than a Spaniard, and continue to poison your opponent’s well as evidence. Fallacies are just as much fun as fact, after all.
Ninth incorrect claim: Adam wasn’t attributing the Tainos’ death to one person – he said Columbus’s REGIME was to blame, and they were. The policies he set up did result in that number. Now yes – his misuse of sources was a problem, but your disliking the source says nothing of its accuracy. And saying you’re not trying to minimize it? It seems like that’s all you’re doing. Especially when you take the definition of genocide, which includes religions, something the encomienda sought to homogenize, thus wiping out entire religious populations at the threat of conversion, cruelty, or death, and claim that’s not what Columbus did. Intent doesn’t matter – what matters is effect, and the effect was racial and religious subjugation. You literally just disproved yourself. But keep going. Not long now.
Your second correct claim is that Adam shouldn’t have used Washington Irving the way he did. A little hacky. But most of your vid was extremely hacky, so there’s that. Like how you include a pic of Columbus with y’know… bison in it.
In conclusion, I hate Columbus because he was a murderous, genocidal, enslaving, racist, religiofascist piece of shit and I was taught the opposite in school. That’s the reason people hate Columbus the most. The lies, the deification, the apologism, and the fact that Adam’s special, the Cracked presentations, and more, were news to a lot of people meant that not only were they betrayed by the education system, but robbed of all the energy they spent supporting him. And that’s just people who supported him – plenty of Natives don’t like having their historically brutal treatment whitewashed. I’d hate that too. So it makes sense to change a day devoted to erasure of First Nations cultures to a day celebrating it. Even if people angry at its previous purpose say “fuck Columbus”. Feel free to cry about that. I won’t. And by the way, people don’t blame all of America’s evil on Columbus, nor do they ignore Cortez. I’d say , but you have none. People talk shit on Columbus because there’s a day every year where banks and government buildings close to celebrate his bloody regime. Fuck that. And fuck Christopher Columbus.
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