A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Isis Pharmaceuticals Becomes Latest to Change its Name

Isis & Horus. The other ISIS would blow this up
The great Egyptian Mother Goddess Isis, wife of Osiris and mother of Horus, seems to be rather out of favor in the corporate world these days for some reason. The latest instance is Isis Pharmaceuticals, which has suddenly decided it would rather be Ionis Pharmaceuticals, whatever that may mean.

Earlier, the Isis Wallet mobile app decided it would rather be called Smartcard. (They must not know the reputation of the Washington Metro, which issues SmartCards as well.) An Isis Bookstore in Denver has been vandalized; a woman named Isis has had her Facebook disabled, and so on. The NYT discusses similar cases around the US.

I guess few businesses are named Isil, IS, or Da‘ish, and the acronym works mainly in English. But lots of things are named for the goddess (especially in Egypt, where hotels, shops, and products bear her name).

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