Sometime in the mid- to late-1980s, a letter-writer opined in the pages of the Washington Post that President Reagan insulted women whenever he opened his broadcast speeches with the words “My fellow Americans.” This letter-writer proposed that Presidents instead use “My associate Americans.”
That’s an absolutely true story (at least my memory tells me that it is). And it reveals the extent to which people will go — even to the point of igoring the fact that many words have more than one meaning — to feign being insulted.
I recalled this long-ago letter when I read in the Post on Tuesday this story about a controversy over naming a new school in Loudon County, VA, after the Tuscarora indians. Geez.
Since when did naming become insulting?
Should my late Uncle Donald have been insulted that my parents named me after him?
Should ranch-hands take umbrage at the Dallas Cowboys? Ought tall people feel belittled by the San Francisco Giants? Maybe Boeing should protest the New York Jets, or the Daughters of the American Revolution file some sort of law suit to recover damages for the mental anguish they suffer because of the New England Patriots or the Philadelphia ’76ers.
Are Canadians insulted by the name of Montreal’s storied professional hockey team?
What about my favorite team, the New Orleans Saints? Are they a slander upon good people? Should the Pope object to the team’s name? Should the French interpret the Saints’ emblem – a fleur de lis – as a grande insulte?