I mean seriously, why do we call Cristoforo Colombo “Columbus”? It’s not as if “Colombo” is terribly hard for an English-speaker to say. It’s not even like “Iraq” which for some reason many Americans seem physically unable to pronounce the way everyone else does. It’s quite a simple name, with no trilled ‘r’s or guttural ‘g’s or ‘ch’s. There is the difference between Italian ‘l’ and American ‘l’ but I think we can get away with that. So why do we call him by the wrong name?
It’s not as if me call Michelangelo Mike Angelo. It’s not as if we call Fra Angelico Bro Angel. It’s not as if we call Mussolini Muscle Leany. So why “Columbus”?
Maybe all the existing Columbus-based names. The capital of Ohio. The university on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The movie company.
One of the passages David Sedaris read from his diary when I saw him a couple of weeks ago went roughly like this:
I think the Washington Redskins should keep their name, but change their logo to a bag of potatoes.
Maybe we should start afresh and call Columbus Bro Eyetalian Explorer Dude.