RE: NANFA-- PR-friendly common names

Denkhaus, Robert (DenkhaR_at_Ci.Fort-Worth.TX.US)
Sun, 11 Mar 2001 10:12:21 -0600

Christopher Scharpf said

"From now on, maybe undescribed "cold and slimies" should be given "warm and
fuzzy" or "patriotic" common names to serve as a form of public relations
"protection." Disregard whether these names have any descriptive value
whatsover. We're talking conservation here!"

But now, with a specific goal of providing "warm and fuzzy" or "patriotic"
names, we find ourselves in actual need of common name police or at least a
committee of respected "name-ologists" who can approve proposed names based
upon the changing social values of the times. Of course, we can also expect
common names to change rapidly to reflect societal changes. The common name
police would also have to be on the lookout for those who would choose to
further the side of evil through intentionally negative names. Who would
want to preserve the "Charles Manson Madtom" or the "Fidel Flagfish".

We also need to take a look at the other words that are used to describe
fish. For example, calling young fish "fry" really does them a disservice
as far as P.R. Imagine how much nicer it would sound to the unknowing
general public out there if we could say my "fish had puppies last night" or
"I have a whole tank full of fish kittens". If we called young fish "fish

In the words of Arlo Guthrie, "If one person does it, they'll think you're
crazy. If two people do it....." (From the song "Alice's Restaurant" for
all the young folk out there)

While discussing this issue with my wife last night, she pointed out that
the naming of fish should be turned over to women who seem to have the
innate ability to pick up on the tiniest differentiation in color and
pattern and then give it a name. This would even appeal to the lumpers and
splitters among us as the women would be able to divide a complex genus of
fish into the icthyological version of mauve, salmon, peach, etc. and for
those of that wanted to, we could still call them all "pink". (No offense
intended...this was my wife's suggestion).

Rob Denkhaus
Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge

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