Thursday 31 August 2017

Naming things after politicians

Colby Cosh writes on the perils of naming things after politicians in a world in which standards change. 

I didn't know that Ontario has 10 schools named after Sir John A MacDonald. 

You should read the whole thing, but I enjoyed this snippet:
I personally think it would be terrific if we stopped naming things other than pub toilets and landfills after politicians, but maybe that’s just me. A politician’s contribution to the world is never certain, never too safe from appropriate revision or justified dissent. To me, it seems less deferential and creepy to honour artists, scholars, and innovators who definitely added to the happiness or knowledge of humanity, and especially if they did it in a way that went mostly uncompensated.

I would certainly name any number of schools after Walter Chell, the man who mixed the first Caesar, before I would name one after a prime minister. Sadly, naming schools after bartenders is not the usual rule where I live. But we follow another pretty reasonable one: we typically name new public schools after highly regarded schoolteachers.

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