Dia de Denali

First it was  Denali, then it  was  McKinley, then Denali

Politicians change the name, but  still the mountain is the same

-with apologies to Donovan

So, now Mt. McKinley is officially known as Mt. Denali, a change which I thought

Mt. Denali

Mt. Denali

had taken place years ago because everybody calls it Denali, certainly anyone who’s ever been there or lives in the area.  Maybe they still teach it in schools as McKinley, and because it’s the highest mountain in North America, it’s one of the few mountain’s names that lots of people actually know.

Republicans are angry, because McKinley was a Republican, but I’m not too bothered.  He was a war-monger and undoubtedly corrupt as hell and the best thing he probably ever did for America was to get shot so Theodore Roosevelt, who was also a war monger but not so corrupt and did a few cool things like the  Panama Canal and the National Parks system and trying to break up monopolies, could become president.

I approve of the name change because Denali sounds cooler than McKinley and, as a general rule, I like the old Indian (or Aleut or whatever) names better than boring Anglo-Saxon names.  But I don’t think it’s a big deal.

Leningrad/St. Petersburg, Istanbul/Constantinople, Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, sometimes a name change sticks and sometimes it doesn’t, and it has as much to do with phonetics and local tastes as with politics.

Cape Canaveral is Cape Canaveral again and it’s not because anybody hated Kennedy, or wanted to deny his part in the exploration of space.  Canaveral was just the name people were used to.  Besides, JFK has an airport and plenty of other stuff.

I remember one time when I was working for TWA in the reservations department and one guy didn’t want to fly into LaGuardia.  “LaGuardia was a damned communist!” he  screamed down the  phone line.  So, I had him fly into Newark instead and his cab to the hotel probably cost twice as much, and that was his own damned fault.

There is something in a name, but not enough to inconvenience yourself, or spend time thinking about it.  Denali, by any other name, would look as sweet.


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