Hartley: Help give this bloated red tub a name
I’m With Stupid
I had a conversation recently with an old buddy of mine, a professional stand-up comedian, and we both agreed that this whole Donald Trump thing is really, really funny. I mean, yeah, it might lead to the end of the world as we know it if he somehow became president, but for now, his candidacy and what it’s doing to the Republican Party are freaking hysterical.
I think it just goes to show you that if you announce that you’re going to base a decision on popular opinion, and your opinion isn’t popular, you won’t get to make the decision you were hoping to make. There’s actually a great parallel going on right now over in jolly old England that you might get a kick out of.
It seems Britain’s Natural Environment Research Council is getting a new ship in 2019 — a polar research vessel — and the council decided to stage a promotion seeking public input for the name. In a post on the council’s website announcing the promotion, the author suggests: “The ship could be named for a local historical figure, movement or landmark — or a famous polar explorer or scientist.”
Guess which of the following is the leader by a wide margin (RRS stands for Royal Research Ship):
a. RRS Poseidon
b. RRS Queen Anne
c. RRS Henry Worsley
d. RRS David Attenborough
e. RRS Boaty McBoatface
Did you guess a, b, c or d? Then you’re wrong! As of this writing, Boaty McBoatface had 73,184 votes. The next-closest name, Henry Worsley, had 7,002.
The best part is how cocky the guy who dreamed up Boaty McBoatface is. Each name has a brief description about its meaning and why people should vote for it. For instance, the Henry Worsley one has a lengthy paragraph explaining that Worsley was a guy who died recently trying to cross Antarctica by himself. The Boaty McBoatface one simply reads, “It’s an absolutely brilliant name.”
The Natural Environment Research Council is calling all the entries “suggestions” and isn’t necessarily bound by the public’s decision, so ultimately Boaty McBoatface may never set sail, but I think the council would be making a poor decision by ignoring the will of the people, just as I think the Republican Party would be ill-advised to bend its own rules to nominate someone at least mildly palatable to the general population instead of Trump.
Of course, in that regard, the comparison twixt Trump and Boaty McBoatface isn’t especially apt. The Natural Environment Research Council will be getting a state-of-the-art research vessel regardless of its name. The Republican Party would be getting Trump. I know it’s comparing apples to oranges, but it seems to me that the Republicans would absolutely be getting the short end of that stick. There’s nothing particularly state-of-the-art about racism, misogyny and an endorsement from Sarah Palin.
In any event, should the Natural Environment Research Council forgo RRS Boaty McBoatface in favor of another suggestion like RRS Boat, RRS Science!!! or RRS I Like Big Boats and I Cannot Lie, the council could be risking a public backlash. Admittedly, in the council’s case, “public backlash” means people are mad for about half a second and not the implosion of the entire Republican Party, but still, it’s never nice to have people mad at you.
So, hopefully, come 2019 the British monarchy will have a ship named RRS Boaty McBoatface, which really is an absolutely brilliant name. And you know what? People will remember that name, and it might spark some interest in polar exploration, which could benefit the Natural Environment Research Council’s cause in the long run. I don’t think Henry Worsley could do that. No disrespect to the man, but his name is pretty forgettable.
As for the Republicans, alas, they’re pretty much damned if they do, damned if they don’t. I think at this point they may just have to suck it up and nominate Trump, let him run and hope he loses. I don’t know if that’s a good idea for the sake of the rest of humanity, but it sure is funny.
So with that being the case, I think there’s only one thing left to do: The Republican Party needs to have a contest to rebrand Trump with a better name. Here are your choices:
a. Marco Rubio
b. Mr. Poofy Orange Hair Guy
c. Spray-Tan Satan
d. Donut Voteformi
e. Boaty McBoatface
Todd Hartley wouldn’t vote for Donut Voteformi even if he had chocolate frosting and creme filling. To read more or leave a comment, please visit http://zerobudget.net.
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Two Rivers Unitarian-Universalist Church, in conjunction with the Roaring Fork Valley’s Interfaith Council and Sanctuary Unidos, is showing a Zoom presentation of the documentary “Welcome Strangers” at 10 a.m. Sunday.