We Need to Come Up With a Better Name for Uranus
Giordano J. Lahaderne
The planets of our solar system have beautiful names. There’s Mercury, named for the messenger god of swiftness. Venus, after the goddess of love and beauty. Neptune--a name so majestic, so mythical. And then there’s Uranus. Named for, you guessed it, your actual anus.
Uranus was not officially discovered until 1781. This was due to its dimness and slow moving orbit. Astronomers spent over fifty years deciding on its name. In all those decades, apparently not one of those men stopped to think: “Guys, this sure sounds a LOT like someone is just saying YOUR ANUS.” Wikipedia notes that His Majesty’s Nautical Almanac refused to even call the planet Uranus until 1850. Say what you will about British colonialism; at least they weren’t naming stars after butt holes.
“But Giordano,” you might object, “it’s actually named after Ouranos, Greek god of the sky!” That’s a great little fun fact and all, but it doesn’t change the reality that astronomers are disgusting people, and shouldn’t actually be listened to. What if they had named Jupiter, Poopiter? Or Venus, Penus? Sure, that would be admittedly kind of funny at first, but we have to live with these names and teach them to our children. I’d like to be able to have a discussion about the seventh planet with minors that doesn’t result in me having to register as a sex offender.
Part of the disturbing nature of the name is that it’s so personal. A name like “Anus,” while certainly disconcerting, I could forgive, perhaps even enjoy. After all, outer space is full of bawdy terminology, from “black holes” to “bulge mass relations,” (again--are astronomers okay?). Unfortunately, the planet in question is not merely “Anus,” but specifically “YOUR anus.” Excuse me, NASA?
How is this not the main issue being dealt with in the world of science?
Some may object, saying that we’re all just pronouncing it incorrectly. I recall gleefully booting up the Encarta CD-ROM in our grade school library so that we could order the computer to repeat “your anus” for our endless amusement. Imagine my disappointment when the software decided to go with the alternate pronunciation, “Urine-us,” which sounds an awful lot like two people demanding urine. It’s difficult to imagine a scenario where this is a better option.
I am a modest man with modest dreams. I would prefer to live in a world where all of my planetary names be free from references to anuses or urine, if at all possible. Thank you.
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*For each moot, we generate a cover image using DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'We Need to Come Up With a Better Name for Uranus' in the style of the Brothers Hildebrandt, the Giordano's artist of choice.*