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Thursday, January 30, 2014

An Excerpt From My Forthcoming History of The United States: Back Then

Back Then

Chapter One

The Beginning

The Truth Is, Only a Very Small Percentage
of Native Americans Behaved This Way.
    So what were things like, "back then?"  A lot like things are now, right?  Wrong.  You might be surprised to know things were actually very, very different, and not just because instead of "2013" or "2014," the calendars said, "1652" or something, or going even further back, "55 BC;" no things were different in all sorts of ways.  Even the people were different.  Don't be fooled by Disney movies like Pocahontas; sure they might be historically accurate, but the people in those things are a whole lot better looking than they really were.  People back then were ugly.  If you don't believe me, look at some old photographs.  Like, look at pictures from the 1980's: not too bad, right?  Then look at some from the 1970's, and it's whoa.  Then the 1950's and '40's, if you can even stand looking at those people.  Then extrapolate the trend back to before there were cameras at all, which was, I guess, 1935 or something, and you can begin to imagine how ugly people must have been.

     Anyway, before there were us, there were Indians.  You probably knew that already, but I bet you didn't know they didn't call themselves Indians.  They called themselves Native Americans.  The white settlers thought these people were blood-thirsty savages who wanted nothing but to cover themselves in mud and collect scalps from their screaming victims.  And actually, it's true, a few Native Americans were that way, a very few.  In any population, there's bound to be a few people who cover themselves in mud and collect scalps.  That's just statistics.  But the percentage of Native Americans who did that was tiny, no more than ten to fifteen percent.  All the rest were simple people who wanted nothing but to live in harmony with nature and worship the Great Spirit and share their (relatively) sexy wives with honored guests and smoke peace pipes.  But the original white settlers did not understand this because they saw Native Americans only in broad stereotypes.  Now this once proud people runs casinos.

     The white settlers were religious fanatics who believed sex was dirty and depraved and that God wanted people to remain virgins as long as they could possibly stand it.  This belief makes more sense when you recall how ugly people were back then.  They believed every word of the Bible was literally true, especially the parts in Leviticus where it mentions killing off gays and Native Americans.  

     Fortunately, once the nation got established, they got around to dedicating it to various propositions and when everyone had a mortgage and two cars in the garage, people began to see how badly their great-grandparents had treated the Native Americans and felt really bad about it, and also the slavery thing, which I forgot to mention.  And by the way, if you thought people back then had stereotypes about Native Americans, it was nothing compared to their stereotypes about blacks, but thank goodness, that's behind us now.  

     Anyway, like I was saying, once we all got comfortable and settled in, we began to study history - which people didn't study back then because they were in history - and we realized how mean and greedy and short-sighted and bigoted those people were back then, and were shocked they ever could have been that way because we never would have acted like that, and we felt really, really angry about it.  

     But by then there wasn't anything we could do about it, because it was too late.

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