I have been saying this for YEARS. Thank you NDT.
Step into the rain: secondrain.blogspot.com
The moderns, unlike the ancients, seem to have a passion for misnomer. Why else should the great island of the eastern sea, greatest of all islands, be called New Guinea instead of Papua, or that English island, which pushes its green shores far down towards the Antarctic, be baptized New Zealand instead of Maoria, or worse still, the oldest province of Australia burden itself with the unspeakable name of New South Wales, which by natural sequence would make its people New-South-Walers! Our happiness depends a great deal upon the places in which we live, and the pleasure or pain they give is affected by the names we know them by.The above is an excerpt from a lecture I stumbled upon by David Dudley Field to the American Geographical Society in February of 1885, in which he laments the uninspired and inadequate old-world names of towns, cities, and places all across the North American continent. Field is dissatisfied with recycled classical nomenclature like "Athens, Arcadia, Attica...Babylon, Cairo, Carthage..Ithaca...Jerusalem...Rome" as well as European reruns like "Amsterdam, Berlin, Dresden...Dublin, Edinburgh, Florence, Genoa...Naples...Vienna." While he is perturbed by these unimaginative misnomers of American places, Field is wholly disgusted with the simplistic, "semi-barbarous" small-town appellations like "You Bet, Pop Corn, Wild Cat, Cub Run, Cut Shin, Bake Oven, Big Coon, Burn Corn, Bawhide, Toad Vine, Black Jack, Skunk Lake, Buzzard Boost, Cat Creek, Dirt Town, Doctor Town, Jug Tavern, Sawdust, Big Fort, Fish Hook, Big John Cowskin, Cut Off, and so on." Field advocates a return to native American names (he proposes "Tacoma" for what became the state of Washington, and "Sonora" in place of New Mexico, for example), which he believes would serve as a "memorial" to "the words of their plaintive tongue, lingering forever upon the hill-tops, the valleys and the streams which they loved so well[.]" Field also argues that the superior richness of the English language over French pleads for the banishment of the affix "ville," which he considers to be "mortifying proof of bad taste, or poverty of invention or of stolid indifference. The passion for it is almost a disease, and the instances of its disfigurement may be counted by thousands upon thousands. What could be more dreadful than McGrawville?"
...What a name is New York for this queen of western cities? Compare it with that which the Indian gave the island, barbarian as we call him, Manhattan or Manahatta. Who for its euphony and its significance would not wish the old name back again? Who that cares for such things does not grieve over the incongruity of the present name with the place? Old York and New York are as unlike as possible; one a small inland city, the other the seaport of half the world. As the voyager comes in from the sea, beholding the amplitude of the haven, the beauty of the islands, the richness and variety of the shores, the two rivers which clasp the island city with a rushing of great waters; the buildings, and the ships; the great bridge hanging in the air above them all, looking from below like an arch of gossamer, but above trodden on its solid floors as if it were part of the enduring earth, and withal the abounding and exultant life that animates the scene, he is ready to exclaim: 'Oh thou that art situate at the entry of the sea, which art a merchant of the people unto many isles; thy borders are in the midst of the seas; thy builders have perfected thy beauty.' One thing only is wanting to the completeness of the picture; the crown of a fitting name on the head of the imperial city. May we not hope that one day, when she joins hands with her sister city, as she surely will, she will retake the old and true name of the ever bright island of Manhattan.
The ultimate goal of technology, the telos of techne, is to replace a natural world that’s indifferent to our wishes — a world of hurricanes and hardships and breakable hearts, a world of resistance — with a world so responsive to our wishes as to be, effectively, a mere extension of the self.
...A related phenomenon is the transformation, courtesy of Facebook, of the verb “to like” from a state of mind to an action that you perform with your computer mouse, from a feeling to an assertion of consumer choice. And liking, in general, is commercial culture’s substitute for loving.
[Consumer technology products] are...great allies and enablers of narcissism. Alongside their built-in eagerness to be liked is a built-in eagerness to reflect well on us. Our lives look a lot more interesting when they’re filtered through the sexy Facebook interface. We star in our own movies, we photograph ourselves incessantly, we click the mouse and a machine confirms our sense of mastery.
And, since our technology is really just an extension of ourselves, we don’t have to have contempt for its manipulability in the way we might with actual people. It’s all one big endless loop. We like the mirror and the mirror likes us. To friend a person is merely to include the person in our private hall of flattering mirrors.
...The simple fact of the matter is that trying to be perfectly likable is incompatible with loving relationships. Sooner or later, for example, you’re going to find yourself in a hideous, screaming fight, and you’ll hear coming out of your mouth things that you yourself don’t like at all, things that shatter your self-image as a fair, kind, cool, attractive, in-control, funny, likable person. Something realer than likability has come out in you, and suddenly you’re having an actual life.
Suddenly there’s a real choice to be made, not a fake consumer choice between a BlackBerry and an iPhone, but a question: Do I love this person? And, for the other person, does this person love me?
There is no such thing as a person whose real self you like every particle of. This is why a world of liking is ultimately a lie. But there is such a thing as a person whose real self you love every particle of. And this is why love is such an existential threat to the techno-consumerist order: it exposes the lie.