Tuesday, January 10, 2006

What a Tacky Sunset, What a Vulgar Moon

Going back through the mnemonic device I was taught to remember the names of the planets in our solar system — yes, the one about the very eccentric mother — I was suddenly struck with the comparative crappiness of the name of the planet I'm writing this on. Earth — as in, a synonym for "dirt." Literally, our planet shares its name with some of the smallest particles that make up its outer layers. Our nearest neighbors, as pop culture self-help books remind us, share names with this great figures from Roman mythology — Mars, the uber-manly symbol of wrathful warfare, and Venus, the embodiment of all things sexy to the point that her name gives us the itchy, scratchy term "venereal." But here we sit in the middle, with no clear mythological figure to look up to. Even the two celestial bodies most important to Earth — the moon and the sun — get the shaft, as far as names go. Rather than calling them by their Roman names, we stick them with the generic terms for such things. Just a plain old sun, and a boring moon. We could have easily called the sun "Sol," I suppose, and the moon "Luna." Or something like that. But no. Other planet's moons — bodies which, I understand, have fairly little impact upon the daily lives of Earthlings — get fantastic names, like Europa and Ganymede and the like. We, however, insist upon referring the ones important to us as if they were the most humdrum, run-of-the-mill sun and moon we could possibly come across.

What I propose: If we're to rename the Sun, Moon and Earth, I vote that we either call them by their Roman names so as to fall in line with the rest of the solar system and call the three Sol, Luna and Terra, respectively. But if we really go through with this, I say we shoot the moon, so to speak. My suggestions for the new names for the Sun, Moon and Earth are — again, respectively — Superman, Moonie the Best Moon Ever, and the Wonderful Planet of Funk.

1 comment:

  1. What about "Earth, Inventor of the T Shirt?"