Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Case Study in What Late Capitalism Does to Language

leave a comment »

Case study in what late capitalism does to language: The Sci-Fi Channel is changing its name to SyFy.

NBC Universal’s Sci-Fi Channel is changing its name to the “SyFy channel,” a name that is apparently easier for children to text to one another and will therefore increase the company’s earnings dramatically.

“SyFy” sounds exactly like “Sci Fi” when you say it, but, as Richard noted in the Trade Roundup, NBC Universal will own it now. For years, NBC executives had longed to trademark the channel’s own name, but legal kept telling them you can’t trademark a genre of entertainment for lonely obsessives. So they spent years, and paid a branding company gobs of money, to come up with SyFy.

“SyFy” is actually a fairly appropriate neologism; it nicely captures the relationship between the Sci-Fi Channel’s generally crummy output and actual SF.

The end of the Gawker piece twists the knife just right:

Accompanying the name will be the channel’s new slogan, “Imagine Greater,” which means nothing and is grammatically incoherent.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 16, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: