Sure happy it’s Thursday

Francis W. Porretto warns, in suitably stentorian tones, of the coming Acronym Shortage:

There may be lots of possible acronyms if one doesn’t care about mnemonic quality or pronounceability, but with those two features factored in, the space shrinks dramatically. Why, at some unforeseeable time in the future, we might have to go back to calling things by their original names!

I dunno. I don’t think I’d be too alarmed by this looming catastrophe, given this reaction from a couple years ago:

I am not hopeful about Senator Jim Inhofe’s not-necessarily-new immigration bill, partially because, well, it’s Jim Inhofe’s, but mostly because it’s called ENFORCE: The Engaging the Nation to Fight for Our Right to Control Entry Act.

Stupid acronyms contribute to stupid governance, and this particular example is flagrantly ugly, charmlessly kludgy, insipidly, nonsensically, grotesquely stupid.

(Title thanks to Triticale, may he rest in peace.)

8 comments

  1. fillyjonk »

    19 November 2009 · 7:55 pm

    In my high school intro bio class, we had what the teacher entitled Scavenger Hunt In Taxonomy. Almost no one got it, it was pretty beautiful to let people in on the joke and see understanding dawn on their faces.

    However, it was an inappropriate acronym, as it was actually one of the more fun and interesting assignments in the class.

  2. CGHill »

    19 November 2009 · 8:13 pm

    One of the great letdowns of my young life was finding out that the college in Huntsville, Texas was never actually called the Sam Houston Institute of Technology.

  3. fillyjonk »

    19 November 2009 · 8:29 pm

    OH! I just remembered another one.

    One of my friends in high school was planning on going to Southern Methodist. She used to wear an SMU sweatshirt a lot. One night, we were having study group in the library, and one of our other friends was asking her about it – she wasn’t familiar with SMU.

    “Where is it?” she asked.

    “It’s in Texas, near Dallas.”

    “Well, if it’s in Texas, why doesn’t it use a T in its acronym? You know, S…M…U… *nevermind*”

  4. CGHill »

    19 November 2009 · 9:06 pm

    Down Route 66 a tad is Southern Nazarene University, which is almost universally referred to as SNU, pronounced “snoo.”

    No relation to this.

  5. fillyjonk »

    19 November 2009 · 9:13 pm

    How did I know that was going to be a Futurama link?

  6. CGHill »

    19 November 2009 · 9:34 pm

    What I lack in originality, I make up for in predictability.

  7. McGehee »

    20 November 2009 · 8:27 am

    A Coming Acronym Shortage in the United States could contribute to Backronym Ennui and Lots of Little Idiocies.

  8. Brett »

    20 November 2009 · 8:40 am

    Them’s fightin’ words, McGehee…

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