What’s in a name?

So I had this whole essay written about my brilliant idea to have bars live stream opera, as way to get opera out into main stream culture. I wrote about sing-a-longs, and Opera Fantasy Leagues and spin off bars. We could have Shakespeare bars, Musical Theatre bars, a Pinter bar where the nightly contest is who can pause the longest. I had a whole host of thoughts on this when a headline caught my eye.

“Spanish town of ‘Camp Kill Jews’ votes for new name”

Hmmm, I thought to myself this can’t be real. Well sure enough about 160 miles north of Madrid lies the town of Catrillo Matajudias.



Apparently the town’s name was changed from Hill of the Jews during the inquisition by the Jews themselves to prove that they had really and truly converted to Catholicism. The original town name was “Hill of the Jews, as it was founded in the 12th century as a Jewish enclave. There’s even a  Star of David on the town’s coat of arms, which was not removed when the name changed.


Let’s think about this for a moment. It’s the 12th Century, some wandering Jews are looking for a home. They find this lovely plot of land in the hills of Spain. They decide they can live with the heavy pork culture seeing as how the wine is super good and there’s plenty of lamb to go around. So they move in and start to think about a town name. Now, it is not an exaggeration to say that throughout history the Jews have not been the most popular of people. And chances are these folks were running from someone, and what the hell do they do? Make a giant target and in the bullseye write “JEWS LIVE HERE!”

So the inquisition comes and Camp Kill Jews is born. And it lives on, and on, through WWII, after WWII, until a sudden awakening in 2014 when the town finally has a vote to change the name! And how did that vote go? 29-19 in favor of changing. Um, who were those 19 who were okay with living in a place called Camp Kill Jews? Let’s say Maria and her boyfriend Juan are travelling around the world and decide to go to, let’s say, Israel…”Where are you from” askes Lev, their tour guide, “Camp Kill Jews” replies Juan, with a tone of pride in his voice. “Interesting” says Lev. “You guys ever met anyone from the Israeli military?”

And now, once again the people have decided to go with Hill of the Jews as their town name. Are you kidding me? First of all, how many Jews do you think are actually left? Second of all, in light of ALL of history, do you think this is the best plan? I’m all for leaving the Star of David on the town crest, that’s part of its history, but in the name of all that is holy, stop leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for the crazy Nazi bastards still out there.


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You know what I would call that town if I was Mayor? “EbolaVille” Subtext: stay the fuck out.

Yes, I’m back. In a new format. Forcing you to click the link so you have to go my blog. Maybe they’ll be a post that I didn’t email that you want to look at. Maybe you’ll direct people to my blog.  Maybe I’m using you all to start getting traction. Maybe I just like saying maybe. Regardless, this will always be the Friday Afternoon Update at heart, but Notes From The Slippery Slope has book deal written all over it.

One thought on “What’s in a name?

  1. Zora says:

    Ha! It’s only the tip of the iceberg for Spain, and lots of Latin America, where there are still plenty of towns called Matamoros, “Arab Killer.” Awesome! (Until relatively recently, the patron saint of Spain was Santiago Matamoros, St. James the Arab Killer. They really meant it about the Reconquista.) I believe there’s also a Mataindios or two in the New World.

    It all makes me wonder whether any of the Matamoroses were towns of Arabs-in-disguise, the way Matajudios was….


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