Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.

Not Just for Aryan Babies, I Hope  | e-mail post

A new store opens tomorrow in Minneapolis: Über Baby. I actually don't know if they have the umlaut in the store name, as it isn't used in the Business Journal article that discusses the opening (just plain "Uber Baby"), but that could just be the fact that many people don't know how to get an umlaut in their word processor.

I am honestly a little surprised by the choice of names for the store. The founders appear to be of German descent, given their last name (Gonsior), so I can see how "Über" would spring to mind. I often use it myself. But I'm not sure if it is a great name for a store.

It was Nietzsche who first introduced the idea of the Übermensch, literally "overman" or superman, to the world, and it was a noble concept in Nietzsche's mind. Although the concept is debated among scholars, a reasonable interpretation of Nietzsche's idea is that the Übermensch was one who would risk all for the sake of humanity's enhancement. A noble ideal, indeed.

However, it was Hitler's Nazi party that really twisted the idea of the Übermensch into something aligned with their concept of racial superiority, particularly based on a very loose interpretation of Nietzsche's last book "The Will to Power." In any event, given that the word has a somewhat checkered meaning, I'm not sure I would name a store with it.

One irony is that the original name for the store was "Urban Baby," a name that is the diametric opposite of "Über Baby" in racial terms. It does seem to indicate that not too much deep thought went into the store name.

It actually sounds like it will be a nice store, so I don't want to give the Gonsior's too hard a time about it. I really do hope they do well. It's down around 60th & Lyndale, if you live in the Twin Cities and want to check it out.

However, if you are looking to produce a real Über Baby, however, you might want to read about this herculean child in Germany.

e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Thursday, September 23, 2004
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