May 23, 2013

Crazy Horse clubs battle over name

Two Las Vegas clubs--Crazy Horse III and Crazy Horse Too--recently battled over the "Crazy Horse" name:

Crazy Horse III halts use of name Crazy Horse Too, but rival club is opening anyway

By John KatsilometesToday’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge James C. Mahan is a legal victory by officials representing rival gentlemen’s club Crazy Horse III. That club has been in operation since 2009, and its operators were concerned over brand confusion prompted by the announced reopening of another gentlemen’s club with “Crazy Horse” as its title. Mahan ruled that Galam and his Canico Capital Group, the company that now owns Horse Too, acquired only the real property rights and the actual property on which the old club sits.

The judge’s ruling is that Galam’s group did not acquire the trademark Crazy Horse Too and sided with Crazy Horse III that the revival of the old name would create confusion in the marketplace that could be damaging to Crazy Horse III’s business.
Comment:  The article doesn't mention that both names are probably offensive to many Natives, especially descendants of Crazy Horse and his relatives.

All the misuses of Crazy Horse's name have the same problem. They use the name to suggest products are wild, licentious, or debauched. In other words, it's a play on the idea of the savage Indian.

In reality, Crazy Horse wasn't crazy. According to Wikipedia, his name really translates to "His Horse Is Spirited" and comes from a vision he had:Black Elk, a contemporary and cousin of Crazy Horse, related the vision in Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux, from talks with John G. Neihardt.When I was a man, my father told me something about that vision. Of course he did not know all of it; but he said that Crazy Horse dreamed and went into the world where there is nothing but the spirits of all things. That is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that world. He was on his horse in that world, and the horse and himself on it and the trees and the grass and the stones and everything were made of spirit, and nothing was hard, and everything seemed to float. His horse was standing still there, and yet it danced around like a horse made only of shadow, and that is how he got his name, which does not mean that his horse was crazy or wild, but that in his vision it danced around in that queer way.So Crazy Horse wasn't some sort of forerunner of Johnny Depp's crazy Tonto. His name had nothing to do with his own behavior. Associating the name with sex and alcohol is therefore stereotypical.

For more on the misappropriation of Crazy Horse, see Funny Face and Crazy Horse Beverages.


dmarks said...

Not sure what the Greek temple effect does. Nullifies the use of the Native name some? Or makes them look dumb by putting a Native name on a Greek looking place.

Sort of like if someone bought the Chinese Theatre and renamed it "King Tut's Theatre" while keeping the look

Anonymous said...

Cultural cannibalism? Is there such a term?

Anonymous said...

That particular pseudo-Greek font is also used in a lot of campgrounds with a string of Indian clich├ęs, usually spelled out in sticks.

I just find it funny that they use Crazy Horse in so many places where alcohol is sold. Now, gambling is a traditional Lakota pastime, though we never advanced to the point of inventing house advantage.

Excess in anything is bad in traditional Lakota culture, though.

Anyway, you can't copyright Crazy Horse, any more than Star Trek could copyright a certain well-worn quote of his that Klingons were fond of.

Rob said...

I'm not sure about copyrighting or trademarking "Crazy Horse," DMarks. If the relatives of Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson can control his name, why not the relatives of Crazy Horse? We're talking about a person's name, not just a colorful phrase.

For more on the clubs, see:

'The Horse' strip club is ready to open, minus the 'Crazy'