Geronimo? Some totally inoffensive code names for Osama, next time


Geronimo (COURTESY OF THE ARIZONA HISTORICAL SOCIETY/TUCSON)

To be fair, almost any name chosen for Osama would generate this kind of indignation. Bin Laden by any other name might smell as sweet, but call him a rose, and the flower lobby would be out in force. Call him Romeo, and the Anti-Shakespearean-Character Defamation League would be hooting and hollering and carrying on. Yes, Geronimo was a conscious choice, perhaps because the Native American leader was famously elusive, and there’s a hostile history there. Geronimo wasn’t even his original name. (That would be Goyahkla, “One Who Yawns.”) But say what you will about the history of wildly misappropriated terms for Native Americans — Washington Redskins, anyone? — the objection boils down to the fact that a code name for Osama that referenced anything with any redeeming qualities whatever would be drawing fire from some quarter.

So in case this happens again, here are 10 totallly inoffensive code names to use instead:

10. Flo From Those Progressive Commercials.

9. Voldemort

8. IKEA, if only so that you can say, “IKEA EKIA!”

7. Windows Vista

6. That Time “Crash” Beat “Brokeback Mountain” for Best Picture

5. This Guy

4. Headbands That Make It Look Like You’re Wearing a Tiny Hat

3. TSA Patdowns

2. Metro Escalator Outage

1. Moroccan Scott Cannon

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.
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