You Can Change Your Name, But You Can’t Hide Who You Are

by Bill Brenner on July 26, 2011

An epilogue to yesterday’s post about Lynn, Mass.: A reader reminded me yesterday of the time some Lynners tried to get the city’s name changed so the “Lynn, Lynn city of sin” insult could no longer apply.

Mood music:

From my friend Katherine Doot: “Thought they wanted to change the name to Ocean Park some years ago? So it was Ocean Park Ocean Park never go out after dark?!”

I had forgotten about that, but it’s true. That was one of the movements afoot the year I covered the city as a reporter in 1997. I thought it was a stupid idea from the start, and I’m glad most people didn’t take it seriously.

My first concert was a festival headlined by Motley Crue in 1985 at Manning Bowl in Lynn. That was at the start of the band’s “Theater of Pain” tour. I have fond memories of singer Vince Neil badly mispronouncing the city’s name as “Leeeee-innnnn!”

If the city had been named Ocean Park, he might have pronounced it correctly and I wouldn’t have that fun memory of mangled language today. That would suck.

My main point is this, though: You can change your name, but it isn’t going to change who you are or who you should be.

If you don’t like yourself or your city, a name change is a stupid and ineffective way of trying to hide in plain sight.

You want real change for a city, you have to change the politics and clean up the streets. I think Lynn has made good progress on both fronts.

If you want real change for yourself, you have to identify what you don’t like and rebuild yourself.

Lynn Shore Drive

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin C Brenner July 26, 2011 at 4:14 am

Too funny! I hadn’t known about the Ocean Park scheme. What about Don White? He’s proud to be from Lynn: http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/song_details/4656529. Love it!

Laura Coy July 26, 2011 at 8:51 am

Ha ha! The first thing I thought after reading the title: “Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin”…..

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