April 21, 2016

"What gives you the right to trample over democracy like this?"

"More than 124,000 people voted to ensure that the boat would be named Boaty McBoatface. Yes, admittedly, almost every single one of these people was a tedious wet-mouthed ninny who found themselves stuck in the self-administered clutches of pathetic arrested development. Yes, admittedly, the name would have turned a multimillion-pound research vessel into a jumped-up Innocent smoothie carton, a vehicle so infuriatingly twee that it might as well grow an ironic moustache, learn to play the ukulele and get cast in a match.com commercial for all the poxy good it did. And, yes, calling such an esteemed ship something like Boaty McBoatface would have destroyed its crew’s morale so comprehensively that they would have almost certainly driven the bloody thing headfirst into an iceberg on its maiden voyage, leaping overboard at the very last minute to spell out 'YOU DID THIS, INTERNET DICKHEADS' against the ice with their shattered corpses as a permanent warning against irresponsible ship-naming. But, still, Boaty McBoatface is what the people wanted. Johnson can’t just march in after the fact and enforce his might, willy-nilly. That’s what dictators do. That’s the sort of thing that happens in broken states. So, it’s a bad idea. So what? People vote for bad ideas all the time...."

Writes Stuart Heritage in The Guardian.

27 comments:

Curious George said...

"People vote for bad ideas all the time...."

Like Hope. And Change.

Tommy Duncan said...

So, it’s a bad idea. So what? People vote for bad ideas all the time.

Democracy is mob rule with a ballot box (or Internet button).

n.n said...

People voted for reactive and planned parenthood.

People voted for "=" and unprincipled discrimination.

People voted for class diversity, redistributive change, progressive wars, anti-native polices, etc.

Democracy, in and of itself, is not a virtue.

Michael K said...

What were they thinking to ask for a mob rule naming thing ?

It was unserious from the start, Just name it "Mohammed" and be done with it.

After all, wasn't all science done by Muslims until yesterday ?

rehajm said...

You just lost your bitching about President Trump privileges wankers!

tim maguire said...

If you aren't prepared to live with the consequences, don;t turn over the decision to strangers who may not mean you well. That said, Boaty McBoatface is an awesome name. Right up there with Patty O'Furniture.

traditionalguy said...

Is this like remaking the Andy Jackson $20?

How dare they not honor our Democrat choice of our leader who won the new idea of one man one vote universal white male suffrage. Why wait this long to surrender to British propaganda that despised our winning tradition.

Michael P said...

I see Stuart Heritage (how's that for a good Scots name?) is not above a bit of yellow-journalism hyperbole and twee exaggeration to get a few more baited clicks and hyperlinks. Why does he even bother to complain, except to fill the space between ads?

PB said...

Go with the name. Own it. Have fun with it. Do good research.

rehajm said...

Have they never discovered multiple choice in Britain?

Let it stand with the thousands of other monuments to government stupidity.

Big Mike said...

Was it really more than 124,000 people who voted? Or was it one person who wrote a program that emulated 124,000 people voting? How did the contest organizers ensure that it was one person, no more than one vote? They didn't, did they?

Name the vessel HMS We're With Stupid.

Ron said...

Let's have the incoming POTUS give up his (or her) actual name, and have the Internet vote for what name we will call while in office. If people vote for 'Stinky McFahrfegnugen', vox populi, vox dei! They can go back to their real name when they leave the White House.

Mary Beth said...

It's a great name. Instead of being embarrassed to be on it, people would be competing for it. Any research they do will get much more attention than it would have otherwise just so journalists can print a story with the ship's name.

Michael McClain said...

Better than USS Jimmy Carter.

Comanche Voter said...

I finally found something I agree with in the Guardian. "People vote for bad ideas all the time." In the past see 2008, 2012 and President Tee Time. And willy nilly, it looks like whatever and whoever is "teed up" for the November election will be a bad idea. We'll have no choice but to continue the string.

Unknown said...

So there was an internet poll to choose a name for the ship and the authorities decided to ignore the frivolous vote. What right of these voters has been violated? What essential service have they been denied?

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Character is defined by how one handles life's disappointments.

Fernandinande said...

Stuart Heritage has lotsa words in The Guardian.

Paddy O said...

hmmm?

Char Char Binks said...

I can't think of a better name for a research vessel than Boaty McBoatface. And yes, it SHOULD grow a mustache and play the ukulele! Maybe he'll appear in a cartoon with Theodore Tugboat.

Bill Peschel said...

Shoot, just call it [Real Name] Boaty McBoatface, and print [Real Name] on the stern. Have it both ways.

Besides, it was still an awesome name. I'd work on that ship and wear the hat proudly. Ship names are usually remembered because they sank.

When did we get the memo that we were supposed to jam a stick up our ... fundament? This is making me long for the stupid ignorant joy of the '70s.

ken in tx said...

"That’s what dictators do." That's what parents do. Most people are born into an hereditary monarchy, thank God. These people just need parenting. They are not grown up.

eddie willers said...

Ship names are usually remembered because they sank.

The Wreck of the Boaty McBoatface.

Char Char Binks said...

eddie willers said...

"The Wreck of the Boaty McBoatface."

As big boats go she was boatier than most

John said...

How about name it HMCS Uganda?

Trivia for WWII buffs but another case of voters' will being overturned.

John Henry

Zach said...

An important lesson about democracy in the limit that voting becomes too easy. A momentary fad that affects millions can utterly swamp the opinions of a small group that is deeply invested in an issue.

The practical application is that groups representing extreme minorities need some way to resist being hijacked by much larger groups that don't share their values.

Zach said...

I'm actually happy that the research council is sticking up for themselves. In situations like this, there's always some person who wants to rationalize things: "Oh, but it will increase public engagement with science! We'll show that we have a sense of humor!"

Screw that. Name it after Robert Scott or some other distinguished Briton who did polar research.