By Steve MacDonald, GraniteGrok
Some find the word gypsy offensive. It connotes a less than flattering stereotype of the Romani people. The Entomological Society of America took this to heart and decided to do their part to roll back the stigma by renaming an infamous critter.
The Gypsy Moth and its caterpillar.
It’s like the Democrat party. When there are lots of them, vast swaths of the landscape are stripped bare. But that’s not the only damage the caterpillar does, or at least that’s what the folks at The Entomological Society of America were thinking.
[Jessica] Ware says the moth does hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of damage every year in the eastern United States. But the moth does other damage, too, with its common name. Since it was first released from a lab in Massachusetts in the 1800s, it’s been called the “gypsy moth.”
Gypsy is a slur, and they wanted to change it, so they embarked on a mission.
After getting nearly 200 suggestions, consulting with more than 1,000 people and putting the final choice out for public comment, the group came up with a new name. The Entomological Society voted to accept it and officially announced the new name on March 2.
“The spongy moth.”
The bug folks say there’s lots of global precedent for the change. Other nations’ descriptions of the critter invoke the reference. They think it’s an excellent choice, but will anyone adopt it outside their community?
It’ll begin showing up as a spongy moth in print, textbooks, journals, and people will wonder what that is (it’s the gypsy moth!). It could be decades before the change approaches critical mass in the collective consciousness if it even manages to achieve escape velocity and arrive outside the cloistered scientific community.
I’m sure Google will be happy to help, but not yet. And not just caterpillars.
But since we are talking about the caterpillar (and the moth).
If Gypsy is offensive, you’ll need to convince the #wokest tech company of all, or it’s never going to take. And even then, it never may.