Tuesday, June 17, 2014

2247 Automatic Association

What's in a name? So much. Because our brain gets trained to bring up a whole bunch of associations to the name triggers.

Take the word lamb. Immediately we get the picture of cute warm and fuzzy. Gentle, docile, something easily led. Something too cute to eat. Leading a lamb to slaughter is one of those phrases that brings up all sorts of images of cruelty. And yet lamb is prized as a tasty meat to eat.

But actually, lamb meat doesn't come from a baby sheep. A psychologist I know told me recently that the lamb we serve on the table is actually from the equivalent of an ovine teenager. The word teenager conjures up a whole different set of images to counter the baby lambkins ones. Eat hearty.

Then there's the term sienna. Yesterday I saw it on the back of a Toyota. As a model name. The Toyota Sienna. It sounded pretty good. Except I couldn't shake the association with the word used as a variation of the color brown. 

It made me chuckle because the Toyota Sienna I was following happened to be brown. Although it was a dark taupe, as opposed to the yellow-brown of raw sienna on Crayolas. Still, I expect we'll see the typical model name rip-offs from other car manufacturers. Maybe a Nissan Ochre, or a Honda Burnt Umber. 

Lastly, I wonder about St. Paul. The actual saint that one of the Twin Cities is named after. We hardly ever say St. Paul by itself when referring to that area anymore. It's always Minneapolis-St. Paul.

You think St. Paul is up in heaven saying, "All right already with the Minneapolis, you're ruining my saintly image. ‘Here's Minneapolis St. Paul’... Sounds like I'm a player on the Harlem Globetrotters."

America, ya gotta love it. 

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