To change or not to change, that is the question

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, December 22, 2009

That a world-renowned performing arts venue in New York Citycould be confused with a small county multi-use facility inMississippi with the same name has been a source of much humor andjocularity in recent weeks.

Yet the dispute over the Lincoln Center name is serious businessto some, not the least of which are the Big Apple venue’s overseers- and, apparently, some local residents as well.

Two weeks ago, New York’s Lincoln Center people sent LincolnCounty supervisors a letter demanding that the name of the localfacility be changed. In response to publicity surrounding thebrewing feud, some Lincoln Countians have expressed concern thatsupervisors may go along with the demand.

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For the record, supervisors have not taken a formal position onthe issue. The board is expected to discuss the matter again atMonday’s meeting.

Since the matter surfaced, potential new names for the localfacility have been offered. Some names have been made in jest, suchas the one in today’s editorial cartoon, while others have been alittle more serious in nature.

Lincoln County resident Claude Van Norman suggested the BrookLinCenter or the LinCo Center. He also presented an idea to name thefacility in honor of Stephen Davis, the firefighter and countydeputy who died in a plane crash in Copiah County earlier thisyear.

Fellow resident Georgia Walker found a resolution by simplyremoving the word Lincoln. Her suggestions included the BrookhavenMulti-Purpose Facility or the Brookhaven Multi-Complex.

Brookhaven’s Robyn MacSorley also keyed on the “multi” aspect ofthe local facility name.

“I along with others thought multi-purpose meant something canbe used for a variety of purposes,” she wrote.

It does. But the commission governing the local facility feltthat the multi-purpose moniker was not reflective of the widevariety of events and activities that it is capable of hosting.

While the new name offered the desired effect, it may run afoulof trademark issues with the Lincoln Center for the PerformingArts. And thus the latest controversy.

An unscientific online poll conducted by The DAILY LEADER lastweek found more than 68 percent of respondents opposed changing thelocal facility’s name. That position even had some support from atleast one reader of a New York publication.

“I side with Mississippi,” wrote a loyal reader of the WestsideIndependent. “Why can’t the New York folks rename their LincolnCenter the Upper West Side Multi-Purpose Arts Facility?”

Since we’re dealing with performance arts issues here, perhapsthe title of William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” wouldbe appropriate in describing the current situation. MacSorley seemsto think so.

“Honestly I think the whole situation is a waste of money andtime for something that does not need fixing,” she wrote. “Thereare many other issues that need addressing than a name on abuilding that does not need to be changed.”