It's been our tradition this time of year to question the appropriateness of Columbus Day. As an Italian-American, and specifically a Ligurian-American, I have long maintained that Columbus, whose treatment of the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere was horrific, is not an appropriate standard-bearer for my people and our culture. Today, Dr Zoom at Wonkette wrote a post articulating this, a post similar to my typical posts on the topic.
I usually propose better representatives of Italian culture to replace the problematic Columbus. This year, how about Italian-American singer Ronnie James Dio? Signore Dio started his career as a teenager in the band Ronnie and the Redcaps. Here's il giovane Dio singing about a missing angel:
Later in his career, he discovered that the missing angel had become a holy diver:
Signore Dio's album covers typically depicted occult themes, which many critics might chalk up to a crass attempt to boost sales due to controversy, but my guess is that Ronnie was paying tribute to Dante Alighieri's most famous work- Dante being, after all, the person most responsible for the formulation of the formal modern Italian language.
Since the man grew up in Cortland, New York, the best way to celebrate Ronnie James Dio day would be to cook some spiedies, the jewel in the crown of Southern Tier Italian-American cuisine:
Perhaps the best thing about changing Columbus Day to Dio Day is that the Spanish translation would be Día del Dio.