While I was at City Hall today performing some preliminary research for another top secret project (no, I am not running for City Council), I happened to stumble across the minutes for the latest “promotions committee” meeting, while I waited for the clerk to finish giving directions to someone over the phone. As I idly thumbed through it, I stumbled across something so horrific that I actually let out an exasperated wheeze which was loud enough to cause the clerk to stop talking and look up suddenly, apparently afraid that I had either expired in the lobby of City Hall or turned an asthmatic bull loose.
What I found, gentle readers, was this: some…lummox…on the promotions committee submitted a proposal “to change the name of Fort Bragg,” because it would “attract attention.”
This infuriated me so much that I was barely able to conduct a civil conversation with the poor clerk, and I ended up savaging scrawling my name and address through three sheets of paper when I was asked to leave it, before spinning out the door, savagely kicking a piece of litter in front of City Hall, and then striding off to the Post Office for my mail while I started enumerating all the reasons this is a horrible, terrible, offensive, awful, disgusting, infuriating idea. My face may have even become a bit blotchy, although that might also be the mugginess.
Let me tell you, gentle readers, why I object so strenuously to having the name of my hometown erased:
- It’s a huge bureaucratic hassle. Huge. Do you have any idea of the kind of expense and pain in the ass involved in changing the name of a city? I hardly think we need to be spending our minimal budget on the bureaucratic fiasco that this would end up being. Now, if Fort Bragg was named, say “Horribly Offensive Racist Epithet Town,” I think we’d have a darn good excuse for changing our name, and I would be willing to support the economic costs associated with a name change, but this is not the case. Fort Bragg is a perfectly respectable, nice sort of name.
- It rejects a huge part of our cultural history. Fort Bragg was once, in fact, a military fort and trading post, like Fort Ross and all the other “Forts” across America. To change the name of the town is to bury our history, and I’m a big fan of history, unlike most of the shortsighted idiots on the “promotions committee,” apparently. Long-term, it’s far more valuable to be a town with historical character (see the commercial success of Mendo for an example) than one with a crappy invented name generated to stimulate controversy.
- Which brings me to my third point, which is that the idea that we should change our name to generate controversy and attract media attention is disgusting and totally foul. Want to generate attention? Let’s shoot up the grammar school! Oh, or maybe we could bomb the Baptist church! Or ban illegal immigrants! There are so many exciting things we could do for our 15 minutes of fame, and I want to make sure that we carefully consider all of the options. Given that some of the people on the “promotions committee” already have a pretty acrimonious relationship to the committee, do they really want to go there?
- Finally, it’s a prime example of everything that is going wrong with Fort Bragg. People like the “promotions committee” are slowly choking this town to death with pastiche and gentrification, and it disgusts me. It’s not just sad, it’s short-sighted, because jumping with the wind is a great way to fall off the map forever. If they really care about promoting Fort Bragg in the long term, instead of just their profits in the short term, they need to think long term. They need to promote sustainable development, instead of sprawl. They need to preserve our history, instead of destroying it.
I think we all know my stance on tourism and what is happening to this town, so I think it’s funny that the notoriously rabid anti-tourism industry meloukhia is pointing out that this idea would be terrible for tourism.
If this goes to City Council, so help me Pete, I will raise hell, and I hope the rest of the town does too. This is sheer, disgusting, foul vanity, and it should be quickly quashed before anyone gets any ideas. Apparently no one on the “promotions committee” knows the meaning of “let sleeping dogs lie.” I hope this dog bites them in the behind, big time.