Lauded for its feisty female protagonist, “Brave” comes out next June but is already getting a lot of media coverage. But the lead character isn’t a Latina, even though her name borrows from at least three Latin cities. And frankly, I’d rather hear the voice of someone like Salma Hayek rather than Kelly McDonald, who landed the job. Nothing against Kelly McDonald.
So how did a red-headed medieval Scottish warrior get the name Merida? What are the ramifications for the good people who live in the Yucatecan capital, or are researching the possibility?
First, we are at risk at having the whole world pronouncing the word itself differently. If the actors say “Muh-RID-a” or some such thing, no one will ever properly pronounce our city’s name properly again. Could it be that the world will start saying it with a brogue? (I heard her name uttered only once in this trailer. I can’t be sure.)
If her character catches on, googling for news on our “Merida” will only be tougher. The Mérida Initiative already clogs up my search results, an unfortunate consequence of having the Bush-era drug-cartel conference at the Fiesta Americana. Already the movie is creeping up on the search-engine ladder. I suppose if there was a city called Mulan, they had the same problem.
And this pretty, melodic name may catch on with new parents. Will Merida became as popular as Britney or Sarah? The word could well explode all over the Internet. The city of Mérida will become both more familiar and more obscure on the world stage. I wish they had named her Campeche instead.