My good friend and Peppercomm’s Chief Comedy Officer, Clayton Fletcher, likes to joke that one person can ruin a name for everyone else.
“For example,” he says, “have you heard anyone naming their little girl Kaitlyn of late?” He continues by asking about the name Adolf. “Ever hear a worried mom asking if anyone had seen little Adolf? ‘He’s about six, has a little mustache and is pushy.'”
I cite these politically incorrect jokes because a name really can shape the image of a person or an organization.
That’s why I was stopped in my tracks (which happens daily on my NJTransit commute, BTW) when I stumbled across The Alt.
Serving Troy, Schenectady, Albany and Saratoga Springs, The Alt bills itself as “The capital region’s alternative news weekly.”
All of which would be fine if there wasn’t a certain, far right-wing extremist group known as the Alt-Right (See: Steve Bannon, fake news, etc.).
The Alt’s editor, David Howard King, says the publication, which just launched, intends to “…. differentiate ourselves by writing alternative journalism. Hard-hitting [poor word choice if I’ve ever seen it] stories that daily newspapers don’t have the resources to pick-up.”
And, get this, King says The Alt will “…always remain opposed to normalizing racism and hate speech.”
Wow. Then why choose the damn name in the first place?
I’m delighted to see the return of a FREE alternative print newsweekly in the wake of similar publications going belly-up in Philadelphia, Boston and San Francisco.
But, considering the paper’s mainstream target audience, The Alt is knowingly, or unknowingly, alienating at least 50 percent of its readership from the get-go (See results of recent national election popular vote).
It not only boggles the mind but flies in the face of Clayton Fletcher’s astute observations of the impact one bad apple can have on the future of a name.
What’s next? A Democratic National Committee newsletter called “The Clan?”