Wednesday, June 16, 2021

No, not "UAP"

So tell me, you-a friends, or you-a foes?

There's been a push from the USG to rebrand UFOs as UAPs -- unidentified aerial phenomena. This is all kinds of lame for the following reasons:

  1. It's been immediately embraced by UFO buffs, defeating the presumed purpose of distancing "serious" discussion of UFOs from said buffs.
  2. The most common assumption about UFOs is that they are spaceships and thus not "aerial" at all.
  3. What are we supposed to call ufologists now? Uapologist sounds like someone who works for Campus Crusade for Christ.

Allow me to propose the adoption of a much cooler term coined by an appropriately "unidentified" (no byline) San Antonio Express-News reporter in a November 8, 1957 article:

Whatnik. Whatnik. Let it roll off your tongue a few times. What's not to like?

Shortly after composing the above post, but before publishing it, I saw a woman on the street wearing a T-shirt that said "Daymare Town." This caught my eye because the sync fairies recently drew my attention to the Piers Anthony novel Night Mare -- which, like many Piers Anthony novels, is constructed entirely of bad puns. The main character is Mare Imbrium, one of many night mares that work for the Night Stallion and deliver bad dreams. At the end of the novel (spoiler alert, I guess), the Day Stallion appears, and Imbri is transformed into a day mare, henceforth to deliver "daydreams and pleasant evening dreams" instead.

Searching the Internet for daymare town, I find that it is the name of a series of games and comics created by someone named Mateusz Skutnik. Whatnik? Skutnik.


Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - Managers always re-name - it's a low-effort way of imposing themselves and buffing the CV; and when the world is one bureaucracy, then everybody immediately adopts the managers lame new name (always lame - because managers).

The original name was flying saucers - as with the landmark Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky by C.G. Jung 1959 - or a book that helped launched the New Age - The Flying Saucer Vision by John Michell, 1969.

But when a massive literature (and TV Channel!) has grown using the name UFO - it would be as culturally destructive (which is, after all, the point) to change the name UFO as it is with, say, "Mormon"...

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

"Flying saucer" and "UFO" were coined at about the same time. By 1960, "UFO" was the more common term. Although it did originate as an ugly military acronym, I think it's since become naturalized into the language.

In China, UFOs are called 飛碟 ("flying dish"), while the Taiwanese prefer 幽浮 -- literally "mysterious floating [thing]" but chosen because it is pronounced "youfu" and thus approximates (within the limits of Chinese phonology) the sound of the English "UFO."

Another unremarked milestone

According to the latest figures , the pecks have now killed more than two-thirds as many people in Taiwan as the birdemic has, and that rat...