Where the Twains meet
William Faulkner once called him “a hack writer who would not have been considered a fourth rate in Europe, who tricked out a few of the old proven ‘sure-fire’ literary skeletons with sufficient local colour to intrigue the superficial and the lazy.”
Nevertheless, Mark Twain did catch on.
Ninety years after his death, his books and articles are still popular reading. Not quite as popular, it seems, as the name itself.
As described in stories in Monday’s Nevada Appeal, there are Mark Twain cigars, Mark Twain wines, a Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri and more than a few schools named for the writer. The list goes on and on.
We know him around these parts, of course, as the name of a community on Highway 50, a book store in Virginia City and the reason McAvoy Layne gets invited to so many public events.
Twain’s name and image also show up on advertising of the Carson City Convention & Visitors Bureau because the capital city likes to market its history as a prime attraction. Last time we checked, Twain (and his brother, Orion Clemens) was a part of that history.
But a company called CMG Worldwide wants Carson City to cease and desist. It seems CMG Worldwide is staking a claim to Mark Twain and doesn’t want Carson City getting rich off the former reporter for the Territorial Enterprise.
That’s what CMG said in a letter to the Convention & Visitors Bureau. The bureau replied by asking what authority CMG Worldwide thinks it has, and so far there’s been no answer.
If permitted, we would suggest Carson City’s next piece of correspondence may want to paraphrase Twain himself.
“Dear sirs,” we would write, “you may be idiots or you may be lawyers, but I repeat myself …”