In honor of this dubious-at-best holiday, I offer a relevant excerpt from my play The Good Ship Manhattan. (Fair warning: for the most part this is a near exact transcription of a conversation that actually happened. Politically correct, it was not.)
. . . . GREG: You gotta live in the real world.
RICHARD: Yeah. And apparently you gotta shit in it too.
GREG: Please. Cry me a river.
(Pause, as Greg takes a healthy gulp from his single malt.)
GREG: So are all ex-social studies teachers big whiney liberals like you?
RICHARD: Actually, my 11th grade American History teacher was a flag-waving, ignoramus Nazi wacko such as yourself: Mr. Capezio.
GREG: Oh, he was a wop, too, hunh.
RICHARD: I don’t hold it against the wops. Some of this country’s greatest Leftists were ginnys: Sacco and Vanzetti, LaGuardia, Columbo.
RICHARD: No, I said “Columbo”. As in Peter Falk, as in a joke?
GREG: Yeah, and I’m saying “Columbus”. As in Christopher.
GREG: Please what?
RICHARD: Do not talk to me about Columbus.
GREG: We’re talking about great Americans. How do you do greater than actually finding the place?
RICHARD: Oh boy.
RICHARD: Where do I start?
GREG: Oh don’t tell me. You got a beef with Columbus. You’re one of these idiots out here protesting the fucking parade.
RICHARD: Do you know anything about Columbus?
GREG: Uh... yeah, I know a little something about Columbus.
GREG: Like Fourteen Hundred and Ninety two. Sailed the ocean blue. To tell the liberal schoolteachers, “fuck you”.
RICHARD: Landed on Haiti. Immediately enslaved the entire population. Effectively wiped them out with disease, torture and execution. Encouraged his men to hunt them for sport.
GREG: You wanna compare him to a Nazi now? That’s you people’s favorite thing to do, isn’t it?
RICHARD: Well, let’s see... he rounds up an entire race of people, puts ‘em in camps and proceeds to annihilate ‘em in a holocaustic blood-fest, all in the name of Queen and Cross. I wouldn’t say it’s an unfair comparison.
GREG: And who was it exactly that stopped the Nazis? Hunh?...
GREG: The Americans. RICHARD (simultaneously): The Russians.
RICHARD: Ever heard of Stalingrad? Got any idea what the casualty rate was for a Soviet infantryman?
GREG: All I know is, if it wasn’t for us, the Brit’s would be speaking German right now.
RICHARD: That’s the standard Hollywood fantasy. Unfortunately utter bullshit.
(The bartender, Ursula, steps closer to listen.)
GREG: Yeah, I know: nothing I learned in history class is true.
GREG: There’s no such thing as George Washington. He never crossed the Delaware. We never kicked ass on the Redcoats and won our independence.
RICHARD: I’m not saying that. I’m saying there’s always more to the story. Like if it hadn’t been for the French, we’d all be--
URSULA: What? Speaking English right now?
RICHARD: What? That makes no sense.
GREG: Makes sense to me.
URSULA: That fact is, the French only brought their full support to bear once they were convinced the Continental Army would ultimately beat the British.
RICHARD: Which they could only do because Britain was over-extended with her empire stretched across the globe.
URSULA: Agreed. But you can’t deny that the symbolic victories Washington won at Trenton and Princeton after crossing the Delaware-- as this gentleman mentioned-- and the subsequent winter of drilling and reinforcement at Valley Forge, effectively transforming a motley crew of rag-tag citizens into an inspired fighting force, had nothing to do with the ultimate victory of the Continentals and the formation of the United States that you call home.
(Ursula steps away to another part of the bar.)
GREG: Holy fuck!
GREG: You think she’s ever modeled?
RICHARD: Reductionist claptrap.
(He drains his glass.)
GREG: How much would you pay to fuck her right now?
RICHARD: I wouldn’t pay your money to fuck her with your dick.
GREG: Yeah. Okay, teach. . . .