Sunday, May 8, 2011

Code Name: Geronimo

Some months ago I established a "Google Alert" for the words "Geronimo's Skull," which informs me when those two words come up on the web. The purpose was to find a way to network and promote my novel, GERONIMO'S SKULL, now that it's available on Kindle and Nook. I got occasional notices, because it's a subject that will never go away (the robbing of Geronimo's grave by a bunch of Yalie pranksters), but there was no great flurry until the past few days. 

Then there was a bonanza. The reason: our hunting party that took out Osama bin Laden was named "Geronimo." The old story about the Skull & Bones gang and their midnight grave-robbing is now all over the place, tying the two events together with flimsy string.

I'm somewhat embarrassed by this surprise publicity. Yes, I admit I'm exploiting the coincidence at this very moment, but I do so with a red face. (Is that a Freudian slip or what?) Native Americans are up in arms about this exploitation of the great Apache warrior's name. And if there's any intent to equate Geronimo with Osama bin Laden, the Indians have every right to be mad as hell.

But if the use of the word "Geronimo" simply refers to the battle cry that American soldiers have used since WWII and perhaps before that, then it's more acceptable. Maybe that's giving Geronimo some due credit for the bravery he always displayed.

Curiously, there is one legend (or perhaps historical truth) that Geronimo got his name in battle, but it was a band of Mexican soldiers, under attack by the Apaches, who cried out "Geronimo!" because they were terrified and were appealing to their patron saint (also known as St. Jerome).

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