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A Rock By Any Other Name
March 12, 2009 - Wes Burns
The Illinois State Senate is attempting a galactic power grab.
Blagojevich? Somehow the Lego Man ex-governor managed to avoid this current controversy.
So what power-mad fools in the state senate dare to challenge the universe itself? What corrupt mind(s) could muster the hubris to assault the very nature of our world? What kind of crazed, megalomaniacal, self-absorbed...
Listen, if you think this is going to turn into a rant about Obama then you're in the wrong blog.
I am talking about the Illinois' State Senate declaration that, on March 13th of this year, Pluto will officially become a planet once again. It will then cease to be a planet as of 12:01 am on the morning of the 14th.
How dare these impudent senators intrude upon the all encompassing scope of professional scientists' right to name whatever they want, whenever they want. In years previous there was a vote taken amongst scientists (read: lab coat wearers) where they were asked if Pluto should still be a planet. Using criteria known only to them; planet size, axis tilt, attractiveness of the interviewer, scientists the world over decided that Pluto did not meet the rigid requirements of being a planet.
And now the Illinois State Senate is going to challenge their austere claims? Well...originally I was going to say that they shouldn't but, after reading my previous paragraph, I have changed my mind. Congratulations me, we've convinced me once again. You little devil; what will you think of next, me?
Pluto is a planet. Maybe not by some narrow, literal definition but planets aren't about literal definitions. We name them after old gods, we memorize the order of them as kids, and we yell at people on TV game shows when they can't figure out which planet is named after a messenger (Mercury! Mercury! What's wrong with you! He's the guy on the FTD ads! Come on!).
Planets are a cultural thing. Maybe not to the rest of the world but to Americans, and probably Russians, the planets are a lot closer to our lives then others. They aren't distant objects in a cold vacuum but destinations on a time line of travel. It would be tantamount to planning a long road trip to visit the all the national parks but when you're already on the road you here that the Grand Canyon was sold to Kodak and no longer a national park. Nuts to that, I'm still going.
Give Pluto it's day in the sun, as it were. Do something Pluto like on Friday. You could spend the whole day moving slowly, cut in front of someone who resembles Neptune and then apologize by moving behind them again, or just yell "It's a planet!" at anyone in a lab coat and watch their face scrunch up.
But not those ladies at Younkers; don't let the lab coat fool you, they are not scientists.
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