Monday, January 04, 2010

what's in a name

It was on January 3, 1899 that The New York Times used the word "automobile" in an editorial, the first known use of that word in English.

What would eventually come to be known as automobiles were still very new items, and the first mass production of them in America was two years away. The New York Times seemed equally disturbed by the machines themselves and the fact that there was no good word for them. It concluded: "There is something uncanny about these new-fangled vehicles. They are all unutterably ugly and never a one of them has been provided with a good, or even an endurable, name. The French, who are usually orthodox in their etymology if in nothing else, have evolved 'automobile,' which, being half Greek and half Latin, is so near to indecent that we print it with hesitation."
-- from The Writer’s Almamac

what's in a name

one of the first tasks given
to our first human beings
was to name the creatures
that surrounded them
from hydrax to hippopotamus
aardvark to arachnid

creation on a first name basis

we’ve moved on beyond zebra
to try and name our own devices
machines and ideas that fill
up our minds and cities
faster than we can come to
terms with our inventions

existence in the crush of anonymity

the world is exploding with
both hatred and hope
stand here and call me
by name by my name
and I will call yours then
together we will name Love

the Love that named us first

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