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Mike Pomranz
Updated January 18, 2017

If you ever had to read Moby Dick in school, you may have felt that getting forced to read the dense novel was an offensive task. But as far as the name being offensive? I think we’re all above the reading level where a simple mention of the word “Dick” would make us chuckle. But try telling that to a local building council in Vancouver, Canada: According to the New York Post, a group in the city has been fighting to keep a seafood restaurant called “Moby Dick” from opening in part because the name is “offensive.”

Granted, naming what appears to be a glorified fish and chips shop after one of the most heralded American novels ever is offensive in a totally different sort of way, but reportedly the local council is more concerned that the inclusion of the word “dick” on the sign would be low-brow enough to lower the value of neighboring properties in the area near Vancouver Harbor where the eatery’s proposed site is located. Moby Dick Restaurant, whose original location has been operating, seemingly without incident, in White Rock, British Columbia, since 1975, leased the space for this second location back in 2015, but has been battling with other businesses in the area ever since. The management company behind the property is now suing to get Moby Dick open, complaining that keeping the seafood shop out of the space has cost them rent revenue.

According to court papers cited by the Post, the management group defended the name in its lawsuit, stating that Moby Dick is “not offensive to the public, given its literary significance and fame.” Of course, to prove that, you might have to convince members of the local building council to read the book, and as you high school English teacher found out, good luck with that!

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