Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Weird Science

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

This little theory, that a name has no intrinsic connection to the thing it represents (so sweetly articulated by Ms Capulet via the Bardic Big Cheese) is periodically taken out of the cupboard for quiet contemplation but not often held up to rigorous scientific analysis.*

Indeed, in theory a rose would smell as sweet if it were called a 'skanky-arsed-cesspit,' it's just that no-one would get close enough to check it out.

So let's have a peek into the skanky-arsed-cesspit of the Rose/Name/Smelling as Sweetly theory and see if we can't apply some rigorous scientific principles to it.**

Step one in our analysis must be to determine a suitable experimental subject. By happy happenstance I came upon the Chilliwack Progress the other day, a delightful daily out of British Columbia. With its distinctive name and heavily hyperlinked home-page I'm hoping it will prove a fruitful subject for our investigation.

Let us begin, then, by identifying the features of said news site's name. Frankly it's got something of the Homer Simpson about it, don't you think? What with the inclusion of chillies (season eight, episode nine: 'Springfield Chili Cook-Off') and wacking (add an 'h' and you've got season four, episode 20: 'Whacking Day').

So we've got a name connotative of a heavy-set yellow cartoon man who, at a class reunion, won trophies for "most weight gained, most hair lost, most improved odour and person who had travelled the least distance to be there". Excellent.

Let us move on to step two of our rigorous scientific analysis: examining the subject's distinctive features, in this case the Chilliwack Progress's content. For this we need look no further than this list of headlines from the front page (unedited, unfiltered and unsorted), thus:

  • Three more Bigfoot sightings reported
  • NEW!! Collision claims one life
  • Nearly nude teens disrupt high school football game
  • Slain Trail man identified
  • WEB FIRST: Victim in homicide identified
  • Victim was seeking positive changes
  • Thousands more from B.C. cities
  • [Hang in there, we're almost at the end]
  • Abby Police capture four teens and stolen car
  • Plant shuts down production
  • Cyclist in stable condition after Highway 97 collision
  • [Only two more, thank chroist]
  • NEW!! Highway may be open to traffic at noon
  • NEW!! Highway 97 re-opened

I kid you not: CAPITALS and !!! and 'web first' claims all part of the original headlines.

So we need to ask if this content has any intrinsic-type connection with a yellow cartoon man who at a school reunion won awards for most weight gained yadda yadda.

Bigfoot, nearly nude teenagers, Homer Simpson, Chilliwack Progress... I don't know where the name ends and the object begins.

We have thereby debunked the Rose/Name/Smelling as Sweetly theory.

Wow, science is really easy.

* Could this sentence be any longer?
* Scientific principles not actually applied, rigorous or otherwise.


Senji said...

This from Simpsons Season 9:

Lisa: A rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet.
Bart: Not if you called them "stench blossoms."
Homer: Or, crapweeds.
Marge: I'd sure hate to get a dozen crapweeds for Valentine's Day. I'd rather have candy.
Homer: Not if they were called "scumdrops."

The Dangerous Kettle said...

Gawd love you, Senji, not only a fabulously hilarious Simpsons quote but a comment on a ridiculously wordy and frankly ridiculous post of mine. Many thanks, friend.

Now I'm going over to your blog to read some sense.