Thought Hollywood made legends?The recent onslaught...

SO YOU

December 01, 1992

SO YOU thought Hollywood made legends?

The recent onslaught of Columbus-bashing films and programs seems to say otherwise. A conservative group, Media Research Center, describes Hollywood's latest venture into political correctness in its November newsletter, "TV, etc." It's hard to recognize the Columbus of legend. He's been turned into a scoundrel of monstrous proportions.

In the film, "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery," we're faced with a thieving, cruel Columbus who not only steals personal jewels and gold from the local Taino Indians, but shackles and curses them when they won't recite Christian verses.

In "1492: Conquest of Paradise," Columbus is seen lying not only to the Spanish nobility about his expected finds on the other side of the ocean, but also to his crewman about the dangers of crossing the sea. He is later portrayed as ordering his men to chop off the hands of any Indians who are unable to locate precious minerals -- minerals which are his responsibility to find.

This is the same man for whom impressionable American school children dutifully recited, "In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue"?

Yet another attack comes from Hollywood actor Tim Robbins and his acting troupe, the Actor's Gang, in their TV broadcast of "Mayhem: The Invasion" on National Public Radio. This satire, set as a game show, has one contestant arguing the traditionalist theory of Columbus' discovery against a revisionist, who passionately attacks Columbus as the man who "turned the landscape of America into military sites. . . Thus the birth of American slavery."

Why don't we scrutinize his sex life while we're at it? Or better yet: Did he inhale? How often did he rape and pillage? Did he ever stop beating his wife?

Perhaps we should amend that little ditty we memorized in school: "In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. . . And when he was done, he gave his mother 41."

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