In the wake of all the brou-ha-ha about the offensive name of the Texas hunting camp of Rick Perry (one of our erst-while Republican Presidential hopefuls for 2012 election), I was reminded of the wonderful book by Mark Monmonier, “From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame,” University of Chicago Press, 2007. This book deals extensively with pejorative toponyms (the name of a place or geographical feature) on government maps. “In the early twentieth century, it was common for towns and geographical features to have salacious, bawdy, and even derogatory names….Placenames are far more than simple markers of location; they are social constructions which create, define and validate the particular reality desired by the namers,” from http://www.markmonmonier.com/from_squaw_tit_to_whorehouse_meadow__how_maps_name__claim__and_inflame_39898.htm
And then I thought I would share with you guys this very amusing clip from the Jon Stewart Daily Show from last night (October 3rd). Some masterful reporting on the topic, and some classic quotes! When Jon Stewart asks the reporter in the field (ostensibly in front of Nigger Lake in upstate New York) what all these derogatory and insensitive place names say about America, the reporter responds "It says there aren't enough black people making maps!"