Wednesday, July 7, 2010
A Rose By Any Other Name... What Should It Be Called
A rose is a rose is a rose....
Unless it is an apple.
A rose and an apple may be from the same family of plants but an apple is not a rose.
Names are important. Cut an apple in half, from side to side, and you can see its ancestor the original five petal rose, but no one wants rose pie a la mode.
So when the phrase BP "oil spill" is used as it is each day now, it totally misses the mark as to what is being described. It is not a spill. A "spill" is something you mop up. A "spill" has a given specific volume that makes up the spill. You can spill a cup of coffee. You can spill a truck load of dirt. You can even spill an tanker-ship of oil. But you can not "spill" an oil formation.
What has been done here in the Gulf is the poking of a hole in a oil formation within the earth.
Now that hole is allowing oil to empty from that formation under pressure and there is no set amount like in a spill and no end to it guaranteed except in politics and theory. So it is NOT A SPILL any more than an apple is a rose.
What is it? Is it a blowout? a runaway well? explosion? tragedy? All of these have been used and they are true except they represent generic events and single events with a beginning middle and end. So far with the Gulf all we have is a beginning and then "ongoing".
The term "spill" is hardly even partially adequate to what is happening.
All sort of words are being use or have been use to attempt to corral the meaning of this.
Editorial boards around the world have discussed what "words" to use. NPR has had stories about the "word".
There are cute words being used such as oilmageddon, and oiltastraphy etc. but this is not worthy of cute this time.
I have pondered and ruminated and have decide to use "eruption".
Oil well eruption...
But even that seems insufficient. I mean that is not a well down there, it is a hole in an oil reservoir erupting continuously.
The ongoing oil eruption...
The continued eruption of oil...
The oil reservoir rending eruption...
Better but not strong enough.
Got any suggestions?
This needs terms that are correct but gut wrenching.
What would you call it?