The Cleveland baseball team

I see that the Cleveland Indians baseball team is finally going to change their nickname. I think that’s probably a good thing. For one thing, the word “Indians” is ambiguous, and you wouldn’t want to accidentally demean people from South Asia, when you’re trying to demean people from North America.

They say they haven’t chosen a new name yet. Many people have made suggestions. Popular ones include the Cleveland Spiders, and the Cleveland Rocks. Someone suggested the Cleveland Oranges, and their logo would be a brown baseball cap. All excellent ideas.

But I applied my knowledge of computer stuff, and came up with a better one: the Cleveland Little-Endians.

With respect to computer memory and computer files, the terms little-endian and big-endian are used to indicate the order of the bytes in the representation of a multi-byte number.

But they actually originate from the Lilliput part of Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift. I’m not sure if I’ve got this quite right, but I gather that Little-endianism is the school of thought approved in Lilliput, while Big-endianism is more associated with the rival nation Blefuscu. In the story, the two Endian factions arose out of a dispute over the proper way to crack open an egg.

“Cleveland Little-Endians” has some nice properties:

  • Those who are against changing name can still call them the “Indians” when speaking, and it will be hard to tell that they weren’t saying “Endians”.
  • It has a nice “C.L.E.” abbreviation.
  • Anyone who disagrees with me is automatically at a disadvantage, because the moral of the Little/Big-endian thing is that minor disagreements can snowball into huge pointless holy wars.
  • Something about the “Ten Little Indians” nursery rhyme, maybe? As a side note, if it hasn’t been done already, maybe we could modernize that nursery rhyme, rewriting it as “Ten Little-Endians”.

Unfortunately, there is a problem. I made the mistake of doing some research, and as far as I can tell, the term “Little-endian” does not actually appear in Gulliver’s Travels. The term “Big-endian” does appear a handful of times, as a derogatory term used by Lilliputians. The reader might well presume that Big-endian people use “Little-endian” as a derogatory term; it just happens that this doesn’t occur in the story. And of course I would not stoop so low as to suggest that a respectable organization like the Cleveland baseball team name themselves after those scurrilous Big-endians. That would be crazy.

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