Sunday, April 8, 2007

So Funny, I Forgot To Laugh

Why is it technology nerds think it's funny to change the name of an object of your derision to make fun of it?

[This post was inspired by, but is not directly about, the NBCU-Fox joint venture I'm involved in; it has generated a ton of commentary online, with a slew of 'funny names,' like Clown Co., MeeTooTube, NBCFoxTube, etc.]

I first ran into this odd phenomenon when I cajoled my Mom into spending the then-princely sum of $399 for a Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer. I thought it was pretty slick, since it connected to my TV and allowed me to manipulate ANY ONE of eight colors on the screen, with an astounding 64 pixel resolution (for the entire screen, not per inch).

My elation at this device was dampened when I was informed by a fellow at school that I in fact had a 'Trash-80.' This bit of techno smackdown was delivered with a sneer.

Never mind that this kid wore flannel shirts that reeked so bad you imagined they could reproduce on their own. I was crushed- not only had my formerly cool computer been taken down a notch by this nascent technology commentator, but he had used its OWN NAME AGAINST IT! How subversive.

Years later, along came the Internet, and now I could communicate with millions of nerds, minus the pleasure of smelling their flannel. Imagine my surprise when I found that the practice of clever name changing was alive and well, and flourishing!

Off the top of my head, here's some of the more memorable fake name slams:

Micro$oft (Yeah, they make money, and therefore they suck!)
Nutscrape (for the Netscape browser- what did it ever do to offend anyone?)
Internet Exploder
Crapple Computer

These all share a single attribute: They are absolutely unfunny. They do not bestow a burst of insight, leading to laughter. They do not make you chuckle when you suddenly make the connection. They are embarrassing to the people who use them in earnest, and they are embarrassing to you, since you don't want to look like a spoilsport by pointing out that the person who just uttered a funny name is most likely a raving idiot.

These stupid, unfunny, soul-deadening silly names have been bothering me for so long, I was sure someone else must have written volumes about how stupid they were. However, I was unable to dig up any previous body of work on the suckyness of this 'humor' and its practitioners. Part of the problem was that I had some trouble even fashioning a search for it.

My first try:

'What do you call it when someone changes a name to make fun of something?'

came up with absolutely no usable results. I then ran my clumsy query through my, uh, brain and condensed it to:

'name change mockery'

This got me closer, but still no deep Internet store of derision and hatred; no extensive body of work deconstructing these alleged jokes and the alleged jokesters who use them.

I guess you have to start somewhere. I call on all bloggers to post up your opinions on this asinine 'Name Mockery'- unless, of course, you're one of the a-holes using Immovable Hype.

Har har har

1 comment:

Sara Kocher said...

Nah, it's not just technerds. It's kids. I vividly recall the "chicken a la barf" served at elementary school hot lunch. I've never even tried chicken a la king because I always flashback to that name and I just can't bring myself to order it.

Guess that means that adults who use that name mockery in lieu of actual criticism are just showing their level of immaturity. Nyah nyah na nyah nyah...