Recently the president went to Alaska and announced that the tallest mountain in North America was being re-named.Since 1897 it had been called Mt. McKinley after the Twenty-fifth president of the United States, William McKinley. From now on it will be officially known by its native American name, Denali. This naturally caused a great uproar among people who had never heard of or visited the mountain when it was Mt. McKinley, and will never visit it now that it is Mt. Denali. Or is it just Denali? Wait, isn’t there an SUV by that name? Anyway, we non-Alaska visitors are in good company. McKinley never visited it either.
Alaska wasn’t even a state then, and the only reason it was named after McKinley is that some guy with a gold mining company that was working the area liked the president because McKinley had pledged to keep the US on the gold standard. We’re no longer on the gold standard, which is why it is the hands-down all-time favorite standard among conspiracy theorists and other nut-jobs who cause you to move to the opposite end of the bar and pretend to be deaf. The thing is, it was just sort of a whim that got it named Mt. McKinley in the first place.
Nobody consulted the Native American peoples who had always called the mountain Denali, which is usually translated as “The Great One.” Naturally this leads some of you more ancient readers who remember “The Honeymooners” to believe it should be known among English speakers as “Mt. Gleason” or maybe Mt. Kramden.” That has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? “Mt. Kramden” Which probably makes it tremendously offensive to people who get tremendously offended. There are even people who sort of “opt in” to certain favored victim classes just so they can be outraged about stuff. Take Elizabeth Warren who would be super sensitive about Mt. Kramden because she told everybody she was a Native American but isn’t. Now there are white people who pretend to be black and guys who pretend to be girls, and vice versa. It’s a confusing world lately. More about that later, but suffice it to say “Denali,” the Great One, is much more descriptive of our tallest mountain than old Billy Mac’s handle.
We have to wonder whether they’ll extend this line of thinking to our own Mt. Washington, which is also named for a dead president. A raconteur in a Grandview Avenue bar once told us a tale about a demented 18th century fur trapper who was taken in by the indigenous Iroquois and given control of the territories that now comprise Mt. Washington. He was given a tribal name, something like Kevin Costner in the movie, “Dances with Wolves.” Known among the braves as “Maxes Out Expense Account,” he opened the first public house, inn and trading post with a view of Fort Duquesne, complete with valet horse parking (motto: “Best Pemmican in Penn’s Woods). So if the president shows up to rename it, they could always name it after him. Wouldn’t it be cool to see him land his Marine-1 helicopter up there? In the alternative, he could ride the rails up from Carson Street if he’s so, uh, inclined.
Speaking of political correctness, the University of Pittsburgh has now adopted an open bathroom policy. At first we thought this story was from the Onion or maybe the April 1st edition of the Pitt News, but you decide:
“Pitt’s new practice encourages faculty, staff and students and their guests to use any restroom that corresponds to their gender identity, or whichever bathroom they feel most comfortable using.“ – The Pitt News, September 15, 2015
When asked about the new policy, the interim vice provost and dean of students, Kenyon Bonner, said. “We’ve been focusing on this for quite a while.” That’s right, the university that gave us Jonas Salk, August Wilson and Fred Rogers has been focusing on toilets for quite a while.
At least they warned us. So if, on a campus visit, Grandma allows as how she thought she saw a defensive tackle enter the adjoining stall in the ladies’ room, you don’t have to rush her up the hill to Western Psych. You might ask Kenyon Bonner to stop in for a tuneup though.
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