There’s a 30- to 40-mile-long stretch on the Great Allegheny Passage—a 150-mile bike trail stretching from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Md.—where you’re pedaling through nothing but woods. No landmarks, no cities and no sign of civilization other than the trail itself, the mile markers reminding you how much farther you need to go before you can stop and cry, and the occasional bench or two. Just rocks, cliffs, trees, rivers and various types of wildlife.
We (my wife and I and another married couple) discovered this during our trek through the GAP trail last month, and in order to keep ourselves occupied and sane through that seemingly never-ending stretch of green, we pondered the mysteries of the universe while on our bikes.
Is Michelle Obama Beyoncé’s Beyoncé?
Are pears the most underrated fruit?
Why did Levis discontinue the 522s?
Also, considering our environment, one of us (I forget who) asked, “If a tree falls in an empty forest, does it make a sound?” The answer, of course, was (and is) hell the fuck yes. Just because someone isn’t present to witness a thing happening, things don’t cease to happen.
And then, after agreeing that this is the stupidest question ever, we also agreed that it’s the whitest question ever, too. Suggesting that things don’t exist unless you’re personally there to verify and validate their existence is perhaps the pinnacle of caucasity: Nothing matters unless I 1) witness it happening and 2) declare it worthy of mattering.
Which, of course, brings us to Christopher Columbus and today, which happens to be Columbus Day. Much has been written and studied and discussed already about how Columbus was a terrible man who kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered and now, inexplicably, has been credited for discovering a whole, entire continent and has a whole, entire day devoted to his bitch ass, so there’s no need to refresh that.
But along with his terribleness, Christopher Columbus may have been the whitest man to walk the earth. Considering what we know about whiteness—why it was created and continues to be cultivated, and what this creation and cultivation compels the people deemed white to do—Columbus, not Thomas Jefferson or Donald Trump or Taylor Swift, is both whiteness’s benchmark and model. When you visit the Whiteness Factory and tour the adjacent Whiteness Museum containing all of the original whiteness archetypes preserved in glass cases, you will find Christopher Columbus there with a bronze placard underneath saying simply, “The Prototype.”
Perhaps instead of Indigenous Peoples Day, a more accurate renaming of Columbus Day would be Father’s Day. Not because he “discovered” America but because whiteness sees his face and thinks one thing: