Thebes, Illinois Changes Name To Thee-bees

Fake News written by Martha Throebeck on Wednesday, April 10, 2002

from the joining-the-club dept.

In a promotional gimmick designed to boost interest in this small Southern Illinois town, the city fathers of Thebes have voted to officially change the town's pronounciation to "Thee-bees". The new name will fit in with other regional towns with bizarre pronounciations, including Cairo, Vienna, Hayti, and New Madrid.

"Why have the folks in Cairo been able to get away with pronouncing their city different from the namesake city in Egypt? If they can do it, so can we!" explained the Thee-bees resident who originally proposed the idea.

"It's a Midwest tradition to give towns the names of Old World cities and then mispronounce them," explained a professor of history at Carbondale. "In fact, Thebes has always been a weird exception because they spell and pronounce their town the same as the place in Egypt. Not anymore, though..."

Residents in Vye-enna, Illinois and New Maaaaaaaadrid, Missouri applauded the pronounciation change. "Welcome to the club," said the mayor of New Madrid. "It's good to see another town throwing off the yoke of Old World pronouncation rules. Now if we can just get Memphis to change its name to 'Memfize' we'll be all set."

Other "Little Egypt" (now called "Little I-gypt") towns that have changed their names in recent years include Dongola (now Dun-galla) and Karnak (now Kare-nook). Tourism has increased 100% in both towns since the pronounciation switch (from one visitor per year to two) but otherwise the change hasn't had much impact.

"It's still a good way to identify out-of-towners, though," explained one resident of Kare-nook. "We also get a laugh when the weather guy on Channel 6 keeps calling our town by the right but wrong name of Karnak."

Both residents of New Hamburg, Missouri (who are pondering a change to "New Hummmbarg") were unavailable for comment at press time.