One of my favorite musical groups of the 60’s was the California group that started out as “The Men”.
Influenced by the New Christy Minstrels, the group reorganized and this “sunshine pop” band became known as “The Association”.
In 1966, they released “Along Comes Mary”, followed by the love ballad of the 60’s, “Cherish”.
In 1967, they backed up the hit, “Windy” with “Never My Love”, another great love song.
In 1969, their work was the title tune for the movie, starring Ali McGraw and Richard Benjamin.
“Goodbye Columbus” was based on the first book written by author Phillip Milton Roth of “Portnoy’s Complaint” fame.
The romantic comedy centers on the relationship of Richard Benjamin (Nick Klugman) an impoverished librarian and Ali McGraw (Brenda Patinkin).
She’s described as a spoiled Jewish-American princess in one of those “coming-of-age” late 60’s culture films.
I mention the song and the movie, “Goodbye Columbus” because there is a petition circulating in the capital city of Ohio to change the name of the metropolis to “Flavortown”.
There are those who think Ohioans need to distance themselves from the city’s original namesake, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.
The petition-pushers think another Italian, Guy Fieri, is more representative of “what the city’s all about” these days.
The Columbus native gets kudos for his charity work, including raising more than $20 million for restaurant workers during the pandemic.
Sounds like a great guy.
Good for him!
So why not rename the city “Fieri-ville” or something similar if you really wanted to honor the person who truly represents your city?
Right or wrong, at least when you say “Columbus”, most people understand who that is.
Now lest you think this effort is doomed, I must remind you that Andrew Ginther, the mayor of Columbus, OH, says the statue of Christopher Columbus, which has been on the grounds of city hall will be moved to storage.
Ohio’s capital city is near the middle of the state so Centerville would make a lot more sense than “Flavortown”.
However, that name is already taken by the town who’s claim to fame is a giant pumpkin festival.
Ohio’s capital city is the largest U.S. city named “Columbus”.
You’ll find one in Indiana, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Texas.
I’m betting that of all the states to change their “Columbus” to something else, Texas will be the last…if ever.
You could change the Mississippi version to “Sweatsville” and the Wisconsin city to “Badgerville” and the Georgia Columbus could become “Peachykeen” while Missourians would just say “Show me what you want.”
Just thinking out loud.
Meanwhile, there have been statues representing George Washington, Abraham Lincoln., Thomas Jefferson and even Theodore Roosevelt vandalized or slated for removal, in addition to anyone connected to the Civil War.
Just to magnify how goofy things have become, Popular Mechanics magazine consulted scientists and engineers to provide guidelines for the safe removal of statues so no one gets hurt while removing symbols of “long dead inanimate racists”.
But this is just the latest example of “window-dressing” going on in our nation today.
There are those who believe that we can solve social issues by changing the name of a box of rice or a bottle of syrup or box of pancake mix.
Geez, even Dreyer’s is going to change the name of Eskimo Pie because that name is “derogatory”.
“Eskimo” is commonly used to refer to the Inuit or Yupik people of Alaska.
A spokesperson from the University of Alaska says “Eskimo” is considered derogatory because it was given by non-Inuit people.
Yet, young blacks can refer to one another with that dreaded “N” word that would result in a racist charge if uttered by anyone else.
I am confused.
We seem to be adrift in a whirlwind of rampant “symbolism” and “pandering”.
Merriam-Webster dictionary describes “symbolism” as the “art or practice of using symbols, especially by investing things with a symbolic meaning or by expressing the invisible or intangible by means of visible representations”.
“Pandering” is defined as “providing gratification for others’ desires”, “catering to or profiting from the weaknesses or vices of others” or “doing everything someone wants often to get some advantage for yourself”.
So as major companies react to a loud opinion being heard, we now might have to say, “Goodbye Columbus”.
As the Association sang to us;
“Hello life, goodbye Columbus.
I’ve got a feeling that you’re gonna hear from us;
You’re gonna know that we’ve taken the world by surprise.
Got that look in our eyes.
It’s a lucky day”.
Honestly, if I thought not buying Aunt Jemima or Uncle Ben products was the answer, I would’ve stopped buying both years ago.
Same goes for white bread.
(Frankly, I like wheat bread better anyway.)