In the early days of linguistics, a man named Ferdinand de
Saussure forwarded the idea that units of language (words) are
made up up two components, the “signifier” and the “signified.”
An example would be a bridge, say, the Manette Bridge. The
signifier would be the sounds that, when linked together, form
“M-A-N-E-T-T-E B-R-I-D-G-E.” The signified would be the steel
structure that spans the Port Washington Narrows and furthers
Bremerton’s insatiable hunger for land acquisition and iron-fisted
Soon, assuming the state and city survive the snow and the
conversion to digital television signals, Bremerton will have a new
signified, a new
Manette Bridge, but it may also get a new signifier in the form
of an honorary name.
Comes now, Jacob
Metcalf, writer, activist, roller-derby emcee, video game
scholar and perhaps bridge-name-campaigner
His plan is to lobby a local state lawmaker to introduce a bill
in the Legislature. He’s pushing to get a small metal plate on the
bridge, so that would be the extent of the state’s involvement,
which will cost very little.
Here are his ideas:
Bob Deitz – Former county Democratic party chair, OC instructor
and friend to Kisap Democrats. Metcalf admitted this is a
long-shot, but noted that “Republicans have a bridge named after
President Harry Truman – It’s said Truman gave his “Give em
hell, Harry” speech on Pacific Avenue, that is, a heckler yelled
the catch-phrase at him during the speech, presumably a
Bremertonian. It’s nice that a president’s visit was the occasion
for a memorable piece of profanity.
Robert F. Kennedy – Not sure about this one, but it was one of
Martin Luther King – Again, not sure what King thought of
Bremerton, if he thought of it at all.
President-elect Barack Obama – “That would make the Republicans
heads explode, but if they had their way they would name everything
after Reagan,” Metcalf wrote.
State House Speaker Frank Chopp of Seattle – One of the
strangest things about Bremerton, beside all the places where one
can buy exotic swords and knives, is that living, sitting
politicians get structures named after them. Chopp already has a
building named after him
here. “Of course he would actually have to vote on this bill,”
Late U.S. Sen. Warren Magnuson – “Already has a bridge named
U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks – “Has his building.”
Mayor Cary Bozeman – “Has his damn tunnel and condos.”
Late U.S. Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson – “Has a naval base in
Everett and a submarine named after him.”
Metcalf also mentioned former President Jimmy Carter and U.S.
Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, as out of the running.
MxPx – Pepsi pitchmen and sons of Bremerton.
Sir Mix-A-Lot – Wrote a song about women from Bremerton,
demeaning them. We all know what a bunch of winners the men
Quincy Jones – Not a strong Democratic connection, but before he
left town and never returned, this Michael Jackson producer and
Dizzy Gillespie band member lived here.
Pat O’Day – The scoutmaster of northwest rock, voice of the
hydros, drug and alcohol treatment center owner and former Westpark
resident, brought the Beatles to Seattle and was personally
responsible for whipping up more youthful exuberance in the Puget
Sound region than Rainer Ale.
Singh the 7-Eleven Man – Always remembers my brand of
cigarettes, along with the brands of half of the city, endlessly
patient and generous, tries to break up fights, once refused to
sell me an old churro out of concern for my health. He’s a really
good guy, I’ll vouch for him.