Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lingo Online

Luckily, no one consulted me when computerese was being developed. I don't think I would have come up with "download," for example. I think I simply would have used "capture," "seize," or "receive." "Thanks for sending me the file. My computer seized it." Instead of "upload," I probably just would have used "load." I used to load a variety of trucks with a variety of things--lumber, stones, bags of cement, tools, topsoil. "Up"-load seems kind of redundant.

I don't know about surfing the internet. I think that's what we call, in the business, a mixed metaphor. If you tried to surf over or through a net, you'd get caught and take a terrible tumble because nets are for catching things. Surfing the electron ocean, maybe: that might work. Crawling on the web seems problematic, too. Who came up with "spam"? That seems like kind of an insult to a perfectly good artificial canned meat, which I think was invented during World War II. I think it was a kind of army-ration first.

"Podcast" I don't quite get either. To "fly-cast" is to cast an artificial bug out onto the water, in hopes that a fish will be fooled. When you podcast, you really don't cast pods at anybody, do you? I guess they wanted to distinguish broadcasting on a small scale from regular broadcasting. Why not say narrow-casting, then? Or thin-casting? Micro-casting?

I don't like PC, either--personal computer. Computers operate because they're impersonal; that's the whole point--all those impersonal zeros and ones, codes etched in silicon, hard-drives whirring. "Laptop" is pretty inaccurate, too. Almost no one places those things on a lap. People use tables or floors.

But, as I think I've mentioned before, poets aren't to be trusted to name commercial things. A car company asked poet Marianne Moore to name a car, and she named it "The Tyrolean Turtle-Top." I'd probably come up with something like the Ford Fate, or the Chevrolet Post-Colonial. The Angst would be a good name for a German car. If it were a convertible, you could call it the Doppelganger, with two dots over the a. I wouldn't mind driving a Volvo Brooder or a Saab Morose. Perhaps a Ferrari Vengeance. The Renault Cogito, named in honor of Descartes. The Toyota Tedium, for those long commutes. A Honda Absurdity.

What line is one on when one is online?
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