Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mumbai? Ah, My Lord...

I thought I followed the news. While watching the footage from India today, I thought, What's happening in this random city is horrible. Little did I know "Mumbai" is what we've known as "Bombay" our whole lives. How did I never hear of this name change? I checked "the internet" and it said the change was made not last week like I assumed, but in 1995!

But I did dig up (meaning sit on my ass pressing buttons--archaeologists must be so pissed about that term being thrown around from couches everywhere) this Safire article from 2006. Okay, I don't feel so stupid after reading that.

But I'm thinking that the news stations really should be saying "Major Shit Going Down in City You Think of As Bom-freakin'-bay, Not Just Some City You've Never Heard Of!"

Wow, new gunfire at that hotel (what? I knew it was the Taj Mahal hotel as opposed to the actual Taj Mahal--I know that's in Atlantic City...sheesh)

Note: As soon as I heard this was Bombay, I thought, "Is Bollywood" now "Mollywood"? I see Safire beat me to it--only he went with "Mumblywood," which, while funnier, isn't consistent.
I was watching CNN a few minutes ago and a random analyst, maybe just some random guy they picked off the sidewalk - who knows - said, "This is like India's 9/11."

The anchor quickly said, "That's a very strong statement. Uh, let's move on now to [some other dude]."

In other news, I hate LeBron too. He's huge and he's a great player, but I couldn't look at him the same way again when he wore that Yankee cap in Cleveland during the ALCS in 2007. I really don't like superstars who feel the need to identify themselves with The Greatest City in the World, New York. Watch. He'll be playing for the Knicks in 2010. Douche.

Doesn't matter, though. The Celtics handle him well.
I heard the 9/11 guy, too! I was thinking, Hmmm, 3000 people, 100 people..... bad comparison. Something doesn't have to be 9/11-like to be horrible anyway.
I know that I should be sensitive to people who view the traditional names as Imperialist and want to name their own stuff, but this kind of thing still just pisses me off. Bombay, Burma, Upper Volta, Rhodesia, Constantinople (Byzantium is even better), Saigon, Persia, Northwest Territories...all better than the replacements. And yes, this is politically incorrect, but the native names either sound silly, or take away an old romantic quality. On the other hand, if the name has an intrinsic problem (Stalingrad comes to mind), it makes sense, but most of the time they're just mad that it was named by outsiders. I think if you've spent a hundred years as something you should be stuck with it. You don't hear anyone complaining that the Romans named London...

This reminds me of the Seinfeld when Peterman runs away, Heart of Darkness style, and they keep using both names. "You most likely know it as Myanmar, but it'll always be Burma to me."

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