The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

8 February 2004

Straining at GNATs*

*Garish Name Application Techniques, which have acquired staggering popularity in today's Congress, and have achieved prodigious levels of banality in so doing. Prime example: The USA PATRIOT Act, an acronym of such mind-numbing idiocy that if Ashcroft and company don't disown the whole package over Constitutional concerns, which they won't, they ought to can it for having a stupid, maudlin, wretched name.

And God forbid someone should concoct some legislation whose purpose is, say, Keeping Internal Terrorism Threats Everywhere Neatly Suppressed.

Posted at 3:03 PM to Political Science Fiction

The KITTENS Act of 2004 is terrible, but just soooooo cute. I used to think laws named after the first names of child victims were unseemly, but this trend is a new low. Wonder if it's a recent development. Were there GNATs in the 1860s?

Posted by: plibin at 3:16 PM on 8 February 2004

What burns me is when people/organizations use SOME of the letters to "make" the acronym fit.

Typical offender: Our Lady Of The Lake University in San Antonio. They abbreviate themselves "OLLU" -- when the correct acronym should be OLOTLU.


Posted by: David at 4:14 PM on 8 February 2004

Hmmm. Acronyms can be dangerous. For example Charles, do you ever get the feeling your co-wprkers treat you like Supreme Headquarters for Information Technology?

Posted by: McGehee at 5:24 PM on 8 February 2004

Especially the Assistant Superintendent, Semi-Human On-Line Entities.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:45 PM on 8 February 2004

"Our Lady of the Lake University" does not capitalize the "of" nor the "the" within its name. Actually, small words such as prepositions and articles are not capitalized within titles, gramatically speaking. For example, The University of Kentucky is not "University Of Kentucky" and, therefore, its abbreviation is UK.

Acronyms by definition are actual words created by the first letters of successive important words. Therefore, neither ALLU nor ALOTLU are considered true acronyms.

Posted by: Vickie at 8:47 PM on 8 February 2004

Note that if they picked out the word to spell first, and then come up with the long title to fit it, the result is a backronym.

Of particular interest to McGehee, when TGIF first caught on, my sister took to announcing that she was Sure Happy It's Thursday.

Posted by: triticale at 7:48 PM on 10 February 2004