Will P.C. overtake Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg?
Massachusetts is the Algonquin word for “a big hill place.” Its state flag features a Native American.
Minnesota Public Radio reports that political correctness is leading some in the Bay State to reconsider the design of the flag:
In Massachusetts the governor has hinted he’d be open to a new design after the Confederate flag protests prompted a little introspection.
“By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty,” the state motto on the flag says.
“The irony of using a Native American on the arms of the political entity that destroyed them is rather like a hunter hanging trophy heads on his wall,” a respondent in a poll said.
“It is hard to read it all together as anything but a flag designed by and for the colonial conquerors who made the Bay State, the ones who won the land -- with a short time out for Thanksgiving dinner -- by all but eradicating the people who got here first,” writes Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham.
The motto is actually printed in Latin, Ense Petit Placidam, Sub Libertate Quietem, so that no public-school child would ever understand it.
If Massachusetts were to change its flag to something more P.C., perhaps it could have more to do with its history of patriots – but not too similar to Virginia’s motto, Sic Semper Tyrannis, which would appear too Tea Party-ish, and might offend tyrants.
No, instead of themes about the old patriots such as Adams, Hancock, and Revere, perhaps something a little more 21st-century would be better. Maybe a Brady and Belichick-themed logo would work. I wonder what the Latin word for “deflate” might be.
Meanwhile, I worry about my native part of Massachusetts near Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, known to locals and everyone else who can’t pronounce the word as Webster (pronounced Webstah) Lake.
Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg is reportedly Nipmuc for the phrase "You fish on your side, I fish on my side, and nobody fishes in the middle." T-shirts sold in Webster feature the face of a Nipmuc Native American.
It’s not just the Nipmuc logo that’s a problem these days. The phrase "You fish on your side, I fish on my side, and nobody fishes in the middle" seems a little too pro-free market. After all, who are you and I to decide who may and may not fish in the middle? Only government may decide that, and darn if neither you nor I have a permit to fish on our respective sides.
Webstah Lake also has a sordid past. As described by the Webster Lake Association:
The waters of Webster Lake attracted Samuel Slater to the area in 1812 where he built a cotton mill next to the lake. He also developed other local sites along the French River. These factories marked the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the New World.
Unholy smokestacks! Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg was ground zero for anthropogenic climate change in America.
I’m afraid it’s about time to rewrite the history of Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg for good.