A mountain by any other name…

Mount McKinley
Mount McKinley
Denali
Denali

“My name is Raymond J. Johnson, Jr. Now you can call me Ray, or you can call me J, or you can call me Johnny, or you can call me Sonny, or you can call me Junie, or you can call me Junior; now you can call me Ray J, or you can call me RJ, or you can call me RJJ, or you can call me RJJ Jr.” ultimately ending with, “but you doesn’t hasta call me Johnson!” – comic Bill Saluga

Well, we seem to be making a mountain out of a mountain.  Since before I was born, the tallest mountain in North America was called Mount McKinley.  It seems it is being renamed Denali, which apparently is what some folks once called it, thought it ought to be called or want it to be called.

Denali is a Native American word meaning “The High One.”  It fits a really high mountain. (I seem to recall a guy in college who had Denali as a nickname, but it was a reference to a different sort of high.)

Changing the names of famous things causes a host of problems.  Someone is going to have to change maps, road signs and guide books.

Walter Harper was the first person to reach the summit of Mount McKinley, back in 1913.  Can we with moral certainty say that he was the first to scale Denali?  This might go all the way to the Supreme Court.

I don’t really care about the name of a mountain in Alaska.  But I think if we are going to rename something, we ought to make it profitable.  So…why not name the mountain for some company, the way to name sports arenas.  I figure it would be worth millions to somebody to have it named Mount Apple, Mount Lego, Mount McDonald’s or some such thing.

In the meantime, I’m not going to call it Mount McKinley or Denali.  I’m going with The High One.

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