I write stuff for kids...and muse on writing, children's books, and the publishing industry in general

Monday, July 25, 2011

Regarding the name (an important announcement to all Crusaders (both past and future))

While I don't normally become involved in political issues, the recent massacre in Norway has caused me to reconsider the name of my Writers' Platform-Building Crusade. While I fully stand behind the intention and aims of my Crusade (which are to provide an ongoing networking opportunity for all writers), and while I still intend to run my next Crusade in August as planned, I would hate to think that, by using the word "Crusade," I'm in any way being seen to support the actions of someone with such a radical and despicable viewpoint. Or anyone else who uses that word in a negative way.

In light of this, and out of respect for the people who've so recently lost their lives, I'm planning to "rebrand" my Crusade - and change it to the Writers' Platform-Building Campaign. I'll be taking down my "I'm a Crusader" badge, and replacing it with a new badge, which I'll unveil when my newest Campaign begins on 22 August. I'll no longer be referring to you as Crusaders - I rather think Campaigners has a nice ring to it! Or do you have any other suggestions for an alternative name for us?

I must say, it makes me really sad as a writer to feel I have to question if a word is used because of negative connotations associated with it. But in this case, I believe it's necessary.

ETA: I'm not by any means saying I now believe the word "Crusade" can't be used in a positive way. Nor am I trying to impose a taboo on the word or responding to others who may be trying to make the word taboo. I'm simply saying that, for me and in this instance, I've made the decision to change the name.

How about you: Would you change the name if you were in my position? Have you ever had to use a different word/change a word because of its negative connotations?

43 comments:

Zan Marie said...

I think you've made a good decision. We do have to think about cultural and historical context with our words.

I'm happy to be a campaigner.

Talli Roland said...

Can I make a small confession? I must admit I found the name a bit off-putting. Not that it was meant in ANY way to be offensive, I know, and I would never think you meant it to be. But... for those of us who are of different religions (or have relatives who are!) and know the historical significance of the term, it can be a tricky one.

J.L. Campbell said...

In deference to political correctness and your personal leanings, it's perfectly okay to make a name change that suits you. Have a great week.

Clarissa Draper said...

It doesn't bother me because I know what your trying to say with it but I understand that you don't want to step on anyone's toes.

Arlee Bird said...

I recall questioning the term at the beginning of this year when I first heard of your Platform Building efforts, not that I was against the term, but only as playing a sort of devil's advocate role. Personally, as a Christian, I like the word "crusade". The root of the word comes from the Latin word for "cross". However I am aware that certain groups are offended by the term, but those groups are agenda driven as well and they make attempts, and have been successful in many cases, of injecting their words into common language usage.

Crusade is an excellent word which does not bother me at all. I guess it depends who you want your audience to be and how you want to identify yourself. Campaign has connotations for me that reflect politics, which is negative in the eyes of some people. You can't please everybody I guess. I don't especially like the word "campaign" since even though it can be used to describe advertising or efforts to promote any cause or agenda, it still has that political ring to it.

Since I haven't given this much thought, I'm not sure what other word I might use. If I were in your place I probably wouldn't change things unless I was experiencing a huge negative backlash and if it hasn't happened yet I don't think it's an issue. You've created a name brand and now you'd be starting over.

I'll be interested to see what your other readers think of this. There are a lot of words in language that have taken different meanings over time, sometimes in a negative way and sometimes positive, and I share your sadness when words in language take on changes that make what a writer intended to say become different.

Looking forward to your upcoming event whatever it may be called.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Andrea Franco-Cook said...

Listen to your instincts. They will never lead you astray. If the word "feels" wrong then it probably is. It never offended me because I understood the meaning you were trying to give it, but in truth, you probably made the right decision here.

Sarah Pearson said...

I agree with Andrea. If it feels to you as though changing is the right thing to do, then that's what you should do.

Margo Berendsen said...

Interestingly, the college group (very common in the US, don't know about internationally) called "Campus Crusade" just changed their name too because of the negative connotations of crusade. I like the new name because you can more readily tell what the group is about!

Indigo said...

I think in the end you need to do what feels right to you. The word crusade to me has always had religious connotations. (Hugs)Indigo

The Golden Eagle said...

I agree with the other commentors--if you feel that changing the name would help to clarify things, then that seems like the way to go.

Regina said...

I fully support you and your Campaign. I went on my blog and took my badge down. When you get your new ones, then I will nab a new one. Thanks for bringing this to light.

Kate said...

I think you made the right decision for you. I would have supported you keeping the word crusade, but I probably would have changed it to campaign as well. I think it's very honorable to be concerned with the feelings of others in wake of this horrible tragedy.

Jemi Fraser said...

I like the new name. No one would ever assume you would condone anything so hideous as what's happened in Norway. You're way too sweet for that!

Deborah Walker said...

I didn't make the connection. But as another commentator said, go with your instincts, and you'll not go wrong.

Rogue Mutt said...

Yeah, maybe they should change the third Indiana Jones movie's title too. You're overreacting. All people have to do is see that cuddly badge and they would know you're not some neo-Nazi fundamentalist.

Angela Scott said...

The new name sounds great to me. You go with your gut and everyone will support you :) (Except maybe Rogue Dog, but well, that's just Rogue Dog).

kelworthfiles said...

Personally, I liked being a crusader, but maybe it was the best choice for the largest number of bloggers. ;)


If you get a chance, check out a fellow writer's zombie story and help me make him wear an embarrassing shirt next year! Details are here:
http://kelworthfiles.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/prove-the-zombies-wrong-social-platforms-can-build-readership/

li said...

I normally don't weigh in with opinions, and since I didn't get to join in on the last cru...uhh...effort, I'm wary of offering one. But since you asked, campaign also makes me think of politics. I wonder if something like expedition or journey would appeal?

Theresa Milstein said...

I never gave it much thought. Calling it platform-building has nothing to do with death and destruction. If you want to change it, that's fine. It's too bad because you've set up a brand. I was just going to mention your crusade for an interview I'm doing in August, but now I don't know what to call this thing you do. I'm sending it in the answers now. Hmmm.

Rachael Harrie said...

@Zan - Thanks so much. Cultural and historical context can be important can't it. And particularly in light of current events too!

@Talli - It can be tricky, definitely. I hope the new name sits a bit easier with you.

@J.L. I'm glad you think that. You too!

@Thanks Clarissa!

@Arlee - I'd agree that there's nothing wrong with the word at all, and it's unfortunate it has become something that's used to drive an agenda. Up until recent events, I was comfortable with using it in this context. Unfortunately, I think it might be seen as being insensitive to use it in August when the massacre has so recently occurred. And also if the person arrested for the massacre keeps it fresh in the eyes of the media.

In terms of the word "campaign", I'll be using it in the context of "a vigorous concerted effort to accomplish a purpose." While it may have some political overtones for those in the US, I hope it will not offend too much or confuse anyone who sees it used.

As for starting over, *sighs* - I know, and it's gutting me after putting in so much hard work! I can only hope everyone gets behind the next Campaign, as it is still the same thing just with a new name.

@Andrea, Thanks, I really appreciate your comments.

@Sarah, *nods* I think so too!

@Margo - I didn't know that! Interesting. And thanks for your comments about the new name :)

@Indigo, thanks for your thoughts.

@Golden, *nods* definitely.

@Regina - Thanks so much. I really appreciate your support!

@Kate, that's great to know. And thanks for your lovely comment.

@Jemi, I'm so glad. *blushes*

@Deborah, thanks :)

@Rogue Mutt - Yeah, perhaps so. Still, *sighs* And I'm laughing at your "cuddly badge" comment!

@Angela - awesome, thanks. LOL (I'm sure he's a big softie at heart :D)

@Chris - I did like it too, but I'm hoping Campaigners will also take on a good ring too after it's had a chance to grow on people.

@li, I really appreciate your opinion, don't be wary! I was hoping to keep the name as similar to Writers' Platform-Building Crusade as possible, and "Campaign" has a similar meaning - "a vigorous concerted effort to accomplish a purpose." I'm hoping people don't find any political overtones too strong.

@Theresa, I know! It’s gutted me to have to do this, and I realize the whole brand will suffer because of it. I hope people can make the transition easily, which is partly why I kept the “C” word at the end, so the name looks much as possible like the old one.

erica and christy said...

I think you need to go with your gut and most, if not all, will move forward with the "campaign" seeing it as exactly the same thing with the same purpose as it always had before. It is difficult on the Internet to be sensitive to everyone's needs. I commend you for your sensitivity the care you are taking not to offend anyone. Best of luck! Christy

Michael Offutt said...

Words are very powerful Rachael. As writers we all know this. Example: At work I cannot under any circumstances even if it is for illustrative or educational purposes use the words "rape" "retarded" or "midget". I must use politically correct terms or if none exist...then the subject is completely inappropriate at work period. So I understand you not wanting to associate yourself by use of one word with the actions of a lunatic mass-murderer.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Yes, of course I have changed words in my ms, when I found out they were misused or the meaning was more negative than I wanted. You need to do what you think is right. I like the new "Campaign."

Francine Howarth said...

Hi,

"Crusade" - Croix Cross - is essentially a medieaval term for religious quest (regiments of soldiers) to the Holy Land.

The term Crusade later adopted for campaigns other than religious in nature, often charitable in status. There is a difference between The Knights Templar and The Knights Hospitalers, known as the Knights of St John. Yet, the latter often brandished/tarnished with same brush as The KTs. Ah, don't you just love history...

Are writers' on a Campaign, Quest or a Challenge toward certain goals in their writing career'? ;)

best
F

Crystal said...

Hey there, Rach! To be honest, I didn't even think of the word 'Crusade' as having any sort of negative connotations given the context it's used here - I looked at it as meaning something akin to "mission" for the purposes of building a platform for writers/bloggers. That said, I can understand your misgivings and if you feel a name change is in order, I say it's your organization, so go right ahead. Crusader or Campaigner, I'll still be there in August ready to participate! :-)

E.C. Smith said...

Go with your instincts. That little voice is rarely wrong. And hey, Crusader or Campaigner, I'll be there in August!

Tanya Reimer said...

You can call it a blood bath and I'm in! It was fun! hehe.

Stacy S. Jensen said...

I think one has to go with their gut. And, it's kind that you are sensitive enough to think and have feelings about the issue. (I haven't watched Monday's news accounts to see what the killer said about it all). I look forward and hope to participate in the next campaign.

Anne-Mhairi Simpson said...

Personally I wouldn't have changed it, but I understand why you have. And it's your blog and your initiative (ooh, 'initiative' is a good word...) so it's entirely up to you what you call it :)

Carol Riggs said...

The change is fine. Campaign sounds similar enough and accurate, although "campaigners" sounds like a mouthful. But it'll work. Best to be sensitive to what's going on in the world, in this case.

Deniz Bevan said...

Great idea Rach. I hope I don't miss the announcements and new badges while I'm on vacation!

The Sisterhood said...

Rach,

I never had a problem with the previous name. (And loved the badges!) But if it was making you uncomfortable, then I think it's better that you changed it.

Looking forward to the next "campaign"!

Lorena

PS. If you get a chance, check out my latest interview to agent Elizabeth Kracht of Kimberley Cameron & Associates. Q&A on Friday July 29th.

http://divinesecretsofthewritingsisterhood.blogspot.com/2011/07/interview-with-agent-elizabeth-kracht.html

Christa said...

Interesting...
The thing about words is mostly about intention behind them. You obviously don't have bad intentions behind your crusade. I feel like sometimes we give power to things by making them "taboo." I don't know, I'll have to think more on it.

Natasha Hanova said...

Either way, I'll see you in August. I think it's wonderful the care you put into this. Thanks!

Rachael Harrie said...

Thanks so much to all of you for commenting, I really appreciate your support! Can't wait until the next Campaign begins!

Hugs,

Rach

Madeleine said...

Hi Rach, I can see where you are coming from and yes changing the name seems like a pertinent thing to do. Campaigners (To engage in an operation planned to achieve a certain goal) has a different slant to it or how about Challengers? I look forward to seeing the new badge. :O)

Wendy. Blog Author said...

You can't please everyone Rach, you need to do what feels good to you I think. I must say I'm one of those who does think names acquire different names in time but at the same time perception is everything.

Julie said...

I like the new name, and I think you are doing the right thing by following your instincts. I can't wait to participate in August!

Holly Vance said...

"A rose by any other name . . . "

I admire your sensitivity and will fully support the name change, but I'd like to throw this out there for pondering:

A word maintains the power we allow it to have. Just as the African American community have incorporated variations of "nigger" into their colloquial and the play Vagina Monologues addresses taking ownership of the word "cunt" maybe as writers we can take that word back from that nefarious excuse of a person. But, it may also be too soon.

Sarah Ketley said...

Hi rach,

interesting question.

No i wouldn't have changed it. BUT you changed it because you felt the need to change it and that is perfectly ok with me. That is not to say that i might not have eventually changed it if the word had developed further negative connotations.

I agree nobody would ever associate your 'crusade' as something that was bad.

I personally like the word crusade, as a history nut it is all thing good (and bad) that happened in medieval times. I like to use it. It has a place in my word repertoire.

Such a shame that idiots (i mean the gunman) can spoil things for people. What a waste, a senseless waste. My mind doesn't comprehend the evil in that man's mind.

If you feel that you needed to change it, then don't feel bad at all. It's your way of showing your support.

Happy writing, and yes i am looking forward to your next crusade. Sign me up baby...lol

sarah

Michelle Merrill said...

I like the change Rach. Sometimes there's a need for change. Campaigners does sound nice!

J. Rosemary Moss said...

In all honesty, I avoided joining before because of the name 'crusade.' I know the name was not meant in a negative fashion--but for Jews (and Muslims) it has historically nightmarish connotations, calling to mind one pogrom after another. Even if I could get past that, I didn't want to risk offending anyone from my synagogue who might be taken aback to see a big 'crusader' badge on my blog.

So, yes, I think this was a positive change!

Rachael Harrie said...

Thanks so much for all your comments.

J (Rosemary?) I’m so glad you think so. It most definitely wasn’t meant to have any negative meaning, far from it, but I can see why it would have been hard for you to join. Thanks for being so honest :)

Hugs,

Rach

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