Since the FEI never hesitates to correct me when I make a factual error on my blogs, I thought I would return the favour, and offer them a free geography lesson in today’s post.
Dear FEI: Kentucky is not a city. It’s a state.
In your press release of November 15th, you said that “The two US cities – Wellington and Kentucky” had joined Bromont/Montreal in bidding for WEG 2018. To be honest, I’m a bit shocked a correction was never issued. Surely there must be someone with a pulse rattling around Mission Control over there in Lausanne who has at least a vague memory of WEG 2010, where we all enjoyed hillbilly sightings and fried chicken in the city of LEXINGTON. Given the great importance you must surely be attaching to the fact that you finally have more than one bidder for your biggest gig, I am a bit disappointed that you couldn’t be bothered even identifying the name of the famed bluegrass town that has actually stepped up to the plate – not once but twice. If I were Lexington, I’d feel a bit like a girlfriend who’d just been called by a previous girlfriend’s name in the middle of a marriage proposal.
To continue our geography lesson: in the United States of America, it is not sufficient merely to name a city when identifying it – although in the case of Wellington, at least you correctly identified the burg, rather than attaching city status to the state of Florida. When you say Paris, France, or Berlin, Germany, there can be no mistaking which Paris or Berlin you are talking about – you could even get away with not mentioning the country in the case of the world’s great cities. But in the US of A, unless you are referring to the big ones like Chicago or LA, you have to include the state if you want people to have a clue where on the map they might find the town. There are at least five Lexingtons in the US: in Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts and Virginia. There are even more Wellingtons. Besides in Florida, you will find a Wellington in Alabama, Colorado, Ohio, Massachusetts and Kansas. And my list is not exhaustive – it’s just what Google Maps turned up.
One might be tempted to believe these multiple locations of same-named towns indicate a lack of imagination on the part of the American people. But let’s not forget that the US has a population of 314 million and a pretty big footprint as countries go. Even with ample use of indigenous (Mississippi, Tallahassee) and Hispanic (California, El Paso) names, the Americans did resort to recycling at least a few of the more common place names in order to give all its 18,443 towns an identity.
For those of you who think I’m mountaineering a mole hill, just put yourselves in the shoes of the two American cities that have taken the courageous step (I still haven’t decided if Lexington is just a slow learner or if it wants to prove it can do it right the second time) of bidding to host the world’s most expensive horse show. This is not a decision lightly taken by those two places, but the FEI couldn’t even be bothered to correctly or completely identify them.
To Mr. Greg Aziz: I sincerely apologize for any unintended harm that may have been caused by the text that was formerly in this post. I will not, under any circumstances, ever find cause to mention your name in any context, in any written material published on his blog or in any print publication, ever. Karen Robinson