There was a MJ thread started several days ago, the subject of which was about changing the name of the city to somehow incorporate the word Obama, or something of that nature. I never read it because I would never see the point of changing the name of our city toward a living politician. Perhaps the thread was a joke. I could'nt find it.
In any case, this made me wonder about the fact that Jacksonville is one of only two cities in the top 100 populous cities to have “… ville” at the end of it. The other one is Louisville, which has a population of a little over 600,000, while Jacksonville has a little over 800,000.
I recall how, on earlier threads about Jacksonville, some individuals, who perhaps had a low self-image themselves, suggested that too many Jacksonvillians had a low self-image as a whole so to speak, regarding Jacksonville itself, saying perhaps that, if it were possible, Jacksonville had a low self-image.
Hmmmmm. How can this be? A city, having a low self-image? Possible I suppose, and given what I’ve sensed over the years, perhaps a probable condition with some here in our city. It’s not an earthshaking realization of course, as I suspect the “feeling” occurs in many cities throughout the world.
But this gets back to the name, “Jacksonville”. Is it possible for a city to be saddled with a name which perpetually cultivates, however slightly, a low self-image? For example, look at the syllable “ville”. Other than Louisville, which has a population of a little over 600,000, most other cities having the “ville” tacked onto the end of a name are relatively small towns. The next one, below Louisville, is Fayetteville, having around 200,000. After this, the cities having “ville” attached are actually small towns.
The fact that “Louisville” is pronounced quite often with such little emphasis on the “ville”, most of any negative impact of the "ville" is removed. Jacksonville must be pronounced with the full sound of “ville”.
In any case, my point is that “ville” implies “small” in America, as ninety-nine percent of the time the town having “ville” attached is in fact a small town. How did we get saddled with a name which perpetually implies smallness? And should we accept it?
In order to remove one of the perpetually negative, although subtle, pressures within our city, I want to propose that we drop “ville”, and become Jackson, Florida. I think there is a Jackson county in Florida, but a quick search found no city or town in Florida named Jackson. There is of course Jackson, Mississippi.
Names are important to one’s self-image. Look at the names of automobiles for example. The Cadillac “Escalade” would never be named the Cadillac Scrounge, Cadillac Bum, or Cadillac Dirt. The people buying a Cadillac demand an uplifting name. Imagine an auto named a Pontiac Erratic, or a Ford Fart? Or a Dodge Defective? How about a Jeep Fickle? How about a Chevy Cower. Or a Toyota Descend? Or an Oldsmobile Hell?
My point is that we just might have been saddled with a perpetual negative to our city because of its name, quite understandable of course, as it was in fact at one time a small town. Should we consider getting a new name, having a more positive sound? If so, perhaps it could be Jackson. “JACKSON” alone sounds quite profound and bold, and is much easier to say. The single and more powerful sounding name "Jackson" is closer perhaps to the man Andrew Jackson, who was indeed a powerful sort of a man, not a “ville”. Let’s give him his due.
If we were not alone with the “ville”, it wouldn’t be so obviously bad. For example, if New York was “Yorkville”, and Chicago was “Chicagaville”, or San Francisco was “Friscoville”, then our “Jacksonville” would be aligned with the great cities in name too, and not only in potential. As it is, we are aligned with the hundreds of little towns in America having endings in "ville" too.
If this post causes a growing momentum of dissatisfaction with the name “Jacksonville”, then perhaps some might have a better suggestion for a new name, one without a “ville” tagging along at the end.
In any case, I sense the subtle pressure downward to the spirit, and to the self-image of many Jacksonvillians, as a result of having the “ville” tagged on the end of Jackson. What do you think? Am I nuts? Should I try to sleep more at 3:00 a.m. instead of posting midnight thoughts on MJ? Does anyone have a better suggestion for a new name? We would all have to change city names on all of our letterhead. After all, look at cities all over the world that have changed their names. Leningrad to St. Petersburg for example.