Ah, brand names, naming rights, forbidden words, and other such fun things!
In a society where the powers that be (economic and political) conspire on this and that, the society becomes (in some eyes, at least) stranger and stranger. And despite the obvious dangers of such things, we have to smile at the results – if not outright laugh.
But there is a serious reason to be concerned.
A few years ago (and continuing today), there was been the demand to stop naming sports teams after so-called “Native American” mascots: the Redskins, the Fighting Sioux, the Warriors, and so forth. This madness has gone so far as to have various States force schools which have student bodies that are predominantly AmerInd (“Native American” or “Indigenous” or “Aboriginal”) to rename their teams.
Today, this insanity has evolved to the point that the San Francisco Public School District has outlawed the use of the word “Chief” for any school or student official, because it supposedly demeans the Native Americans. So such titles as “Chief Financial Officer” or “Chief Executive Officer” or “Chief of Staff” must be prohibited. (May I suggest some alternatives? “Supreme Executive Officer,” perhaps. No, that wouldn’t work: that would make the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court the Supreme Justice of the Supreme Court.) But I expect the trend to grow.
Still, it is more than just political correctness that is running amok and amuck today.
An example is the former Mile-High Stadium in Denver. Courtesy of selling of naming rights, this ugly structure and place of worship of the Denver Broncos has been variously known as the “Invesco” Field and the “Sports Authority” Field and the “Enpower” Field. At least some of these got the companies to pay $6 million a year for the prestige. At least for Sports Authority such stupid spending probably led to bankruptcy because it wasn’t the company that paid that chunk of change. It was the customers, in increased prices. So they went someplace else to buy their running shoes, fencing masks, and hockey sticks (and probably Bronco teeshirts).
Another example: In the Black Hills, the well-known Regional Hospital System spent millions in renaming itself “Monument Health System” and then “invested” millions by buying the naming rights to the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, rebranding it as “The Monument.” Now, Monument Health is supposedly a non-profit medical care organization. So guess where the money for naming rights comes from (to say nothing of the cost of replacing signage, stationary, and everything else)? That’s right, patients and patients’ insurance companies. (Which means, of course, insurance premiums paid by patients and their families and employers.) See, what fun!
What about “truth in advertising?” What would it be like if professional sports teams were named for their corporate sponsors or owners instead of the cities in which they play?
General Dynamics Cowboys
Harvard Foundation Yankees
Wells Fargo Twins
Let us take it one step further, One of the original Thirteen States is in the process of changing its original name of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” because “Plantation” is associated with slavery and masters. (Just as the biggest bedroom in houses and apartments cannot be the “master bedroom” anymore.) What if states sold naming rights to big companies, foundations, and special interest groups?
Would Delaware become DuPont State?
Would California become the Screen Actors Guild State?
Would Washington State become GreenPeace State?
Would Utah become LDS State?
See? Much fun!
We discuss all this to point out that there is NO term that various political and special interest groups cannot find an issue with. Ultimately as political correctness makes appearance more critical than reality, we slide into 1984 territory: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Truth is Fiction, and so forth.
In other words, communications between people becomes more and more difficult, because more and more words must be avoided, and using politically incorrect words warrants both punishment AND ignoring whatever that person or organization says. And deteriorating communications leads to chaos and thus invites authoritarianism.