Chris, a 33-year-old in New York, doesn’t think too highly of a certain historical figure with whom he shares a first name. “Why don’t you tell me how you’d feel growing up with classmates every year spinning around in their chairs and looking at you and pointing out the very obvious fact that you share the same name as this fucking imperial genocidal maniac,” he begins.
To be sure, Chris isn’t the only Chris who’s sick of being associated with Christopher Columbus. In fact, he’s taken up arms with his fellow Chrises on the subreddit r/Chris, where nearly 4,000 Chrises and Christophers congregate regularly to discuss how much they despise the Spanish explorer.
“When people bring up lists of famous Chrises, there are always two excluded deliberately — Christopher Columbus and Chris Brown,” Chris and Christopher, the founding members and moderators of r/Chris write via joint statement. “Here at r/Chris, we welcome all with Chris-like names and don’t hold grudges against those without them, but Christopher Columbus and Chris Brown have been excommunicated from Chris-endom.”
Throughout the subreddit, Chris and Christophers of all stripes denounce Columbus, calling him “quite the butthole,” a “cringe guy,” a “pretty shitty dude tbh” and a “disgrace to the name [who] makes us all look dumb.” Some have even gone as far as to summon what might be the greatest insult a Chris or Christopher could bestow upon one of their own — that Columbus has lost his “C” card, rendering him a “Topher.”
“I’ve been a ‘Chris’ all my life, but it wasn’t until I was much older that I found out that not only did Columbus not discover America, but he was also a jagoff,” 38-year-old Chris from Massachusetts tells me. “So no, I don’t have much nice to say about him.”
“Maybe it’s unfair to judge someone from history with contemporary morals,” 33-year-old New York Chris adds. “But on the other hand, there’s historical documentation that he was a real piece of shit.”
So it probably goes without saying that the community of Chrises on Reddit will not be celebrating Columbus Day today. But that doesn’t mean discussions of the famous spice hunter will cease to exist completely. “Just to play the devil’s advocate, maybe we cannot appreciate the good Chrises without the existence of bad ones,” Chris from Massachusetts argues. “Let him be a ‘Chris,’ we just have to remember what kind of Chris he is.”