What’s in a name?

Lake Calhoun may soon be just a distant memory of Rollerblading hardbodies and “on your left.” Advocates are getting traction for changing the name of the popular Minneapolis lake to something, well, anything not associated with 19th-century statesman John C. Calhoun, whose pro-slavery views have tainted his legacy.

Changing names with the times is hardly limited to lakes. This Delacroix painting long went by “The Fanatics of Tangier,” until it was recently decided that “fanatics” was pejorative and was replaced by “convulsionists”—a bit awkward, perhaps, but purely descriptive. And ironic: Delacroix, a Frenchman, was taken with the exotic “foreignness” of this scene; but “convulsionist” historically referred to a sensational, self-harming cult—in France.

—Tim Gihring, editor

July 17, 2015

Source: Star Tribune, June 23, 2015