January 24, 2009
Not so Tolerance Bridge

Remember Tolerance Bridge? When it was first announced, a lot of people expressed ambivalence (at best) about the name. Now the city has joined in on that.

"It has too many hints of negativity," said Councilman Jarvis Johnson. "It's like my grandmother saying 'I will not tolerate somebody yelling.' I don't want to just 'tolerate' any other culture, I want to embrace it, if you're really talking about unity."

After announcing the project in early December, Mayor Bill White received some feedback about the title, and asked the Houston Arts Alliance to contact its membership for more ideas. The organization is taking suggestions through Jan. 31.

Here's the Alliance's website. I don't know who is supposed to be suggesting alternate names to them, since I don't see anything there that's soliciting feedback, but I suppose you can use their contact page if you feel so inclined.

Neither the city nor Houston Arts Alliance could say who will make the final decision on a name, although [philanthropist Mica] Mosbacher said she is still looking for donors, so someone who gives "a major gift" could have "final input" on the name.

[Artist and blogger Bill] Davenport predicted it would all be for naught in the end.

"Inevitably, public art projects get nicknames," he said. "They should just build it and wait to see what people nickname it. The people will win out."

I kinda like that idea, and I say that as someone who had no objections to the original name. With the unique design this bridge will have, some wiseguy will come up with something.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 24, 2009 to Elsewhere in Houston

Tolerance is a bridge to acceptance and yet the word implies that those who are tolerated are somehow "less than" and so they don't accept tolerance or the use of the word.

Even though, interestingly in this case, it is a bridge to acceptance.

Posted by: Baby Snooks on January 24, 2009 3:44 PM
Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)