You know, whippersnappers, a little cultural history won’t kill you.
Madison, Wisconsin is the latest location where a “Gilda’s Club” is changing its name because young people today don’t know who Gilda Radner was. And apparently, enough people think that’s a barrier to success.
The “clubs” started when the comedienne joined a support group in California as she battled cancer. She wrote in her autobiography, It’s Always Something, that she felt she could share what she was feeling. So her husband, Gene Wilder (a Wisconsin native, by the way), started the Gilda’s Club movement. to provide social and emotional support at no cost.
She said her ovarian cancer gave her “membership to an elite club I’d rather not belong to.” Thus the name. It meant something.
Today, the Madison location announced it’s changing its name, the Wisconsin State Journal reports, because references to Gilda Radner “are not part of the cultural literacy of young people in 2012.”
The new name: Cancer Support Community.
Funny, though: The name Gilda didn’t stop people in Minneapolis from raising enough money in the last year to locate a Gilda’s Club here.
“Our parent organization, Cancer Support Community is now the parent agency of all Gilda’s Clubs and Wellness Communities. As of this year, all of the Wellness Communities have changed their name to Cancer Support Community. Gilda’s Clubs across the county are beginning to follow their example,” says Lannia Stenz, the executive director of the Madison Gilda’s Club… err Cancer Support Community.
Too bad. Gilda Radner was too important a part of cultural history to wipe her name away.