Call it America

There’s an idea running around out there that it’s somehow inappropriate to refer to the United States of America as “America” or to its citizens as “Americans.” It derives from the fact that the country shares a name with two continents, and I suppose (if you’re a moron) that it might be possible to get confused between residents of the western supercontinent and citizens of the only nation on it that doesn’t have another name, despite the fact that noone ever refers to residents of said supercontinent in that way.

There’s actually no continent named America per se, there’s North America and then there’s South America, and while you will occasionally hear people referring to Canadians as “North Americans” or Paraguayans as “South Americans” nobody EVER refers to Argentinians as “Americans.” Why?

Because there’s a nation named that, and there was a substantial number of decades before the idea of supercontinental identity (which is insane) became popular. To further compound the problem, said nation doesn’t have another name. This may surprise some of you. After all, we’ve been known to refer to it only as “The States,” “The United States,” or a number of related acronyms, which has led to a variety of idiotic conventions to try to plug the nonexistent hole. That’s not really bad, except that “USers” and “USAians” sound really stupid, and could legitimately be viewed as insulting by Americans.

Also, while it’s not a problem, the USA is hardly the only US out there. We’re just the only one that people refer to by our title. Kind of like having only one person you call “Mister” though about half of the people in the room could legitimately claim the title. But being called “Mister” is actually usually diminuitive. Especially if people also fail to attach your name.

National identity takes precedence over (super)continental identity, and so when we were figuring out how to disambiguate with the absurd new concept of supercontinentalism, we naturally preferred to keep our name and force everyone else to come up with something else. “Westerner” might have worked, if that weren’t already taken. The common term appears to be “North and South America” with the people being “People of North and South America.” Is it unwieldy? Heck yes. But it’s actually correct, offends noone, and really doesn’t do anything useful anyway. If you’re using it, you’re probably already doing something wrong.

Because, as I mentioned earlier, the idea of supercontinental identity is insane. Perhaps we should rename our country to accomodate the easy speech of a handful of crazy jackasses who insist on referring to people in terms that don’t make sense. Oh sure, we’d spend millions or billions of dollars in the process, but what’s a few more? We’d get nifty new letterhead. Only what would we call it? Right. It doesn’t have another name. Even unofficially. So we’d probably end up naming it something stupid. Like “Exxonland” or “McDonaldsia” or “Cocacolia.” And I really don’t want to be a Cocacolian. I prefer Pepsi.

Maybe we should rename the supercontinent instead?

5 thoughts on “Call it America

  1. BobRichter

    You mean there was respect to begin with?

    Actually I prefer Mountain Dew, it’s just that places will contract with one or the other of the cola companies, and coke means I get no Dew, so it makes me slightly cross. Really just don’t like colas much, but I prefer the sweeter ones if I have no choice.

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  2. skiltao

    What, I’ve got to comment to give eprops? Sheeeoot… as long as I’ve got to say something: I won’t begrudge someone struggling against names if they do it for spite or comedy. Those motives I can appreciate; and their heart’s not in it anyways, so it’s not like the struggle is going to last. But when you see someone trying in earnest, well, I guess I’ll have a coke and they can have the kool-aid.

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