They’ve tried this with us before, renaming the Sears Tower in 2009. It’s now the Willis Tower, or as any self-respecting Chicagoan calls it, the Sears Tower.
The irony of this post is that "The Free Press" used to be called "Common Sense".
I liked the original better.
Does this mean that “The Twitter Files” are now “The X Files”?
As Frank Herbert said in Dune: "A beginning is a delicate time". If you get the name of something wrong at the outset, you're stuck with it. It becomes very hard to change later.
There are a few exceptions. Sam Harris successfully changed the name of his outstanding podcast from "Waking Up" to "Making Sense". (Just as well: the full title was the accidentally lubricious-sounding "Waking up with Sam Harris".) It took years and years before Aussies got used to calling Ayer's Rock by its Aboriginal name "Uluru". But at least there was nothing else in English called "Uluru". The same cannot be said of "X".
What's inexcusable about this particular name change is not its poverty of imagination - it's that it's not even a name, it's a variable. "X" conveys no information at all about the product. "X" is what things are called when we don't WANT them to have a name. "The X case" was a famous Irish trial about abortion; in the movie JFK, Jim Garrison encounters a shadowy government agent who identifies himself only as "X"; the "X,Y,Z" scandal was a famous cause célèbre in Jeffersonian America - doubtless even the famous examples multiply to the horizon.
Then again, if Musk wishes to name his new toy SpaceX without the Space, should we really care? Sam Harris himself (a quondam friend of Musk) gave up on Twitter because of its time-wasting and toxicity. If Musk continues to take an accidental wrecking ball to Twitter so that everyone does a Harris and abandons it, won't they all just wind up getting their lives back?
I love this piece. Humor is the hardest thing to write and Eric, you did a bang-up job here. I laughed out loud several times.
Thanks, Bari. This made my day.
So far, every article I've read about this name change omits the fact that Elon has owned the x.com domain since 1990s. It's been a name in search of a concept ever since. Whether this is a wise move or not, time will tell, but Elon has this odd history of proving his detractors wrong, so I think it's best not to second guess him.
Also, every article critical of his management of Twitter will cite declining ad sales, but no one says anything about his revenue from selling those blue check marks and offering other subscription based services. They can't since Twitter is now a private company, but I suspect the number might surprise and disappoint his naysayers.
Elon mostly bought a perpetually money losing business with incredible brand awareness. Tweeting became a generic name for doing something on social media, like Kleenex for blowing your nose. And that was all over tv, movies, magazines etc. X just doesn't work. "OMG, he just X'd it" just doesn't work.
Clearly hasn't kept up on where Musk is going with that.
Bookmarked, saved, will read again.
It reminds me of why I don't call Chicago by any other name than "Democrat shithole"...
That's just because it is a Democrat shithole.
I've never tweeted or instagrammed or tik-toked and I gave up facebook years ago. I found myself making statements that I hoped would receive positive affirmation. I think that is pathetic so I stopped. Elon is the most interesting man in world. His morals are questionable as it regards creating children out of wedlock but then I'm just an old white guy. His money his call. Blah blah blah, let's party. Please don't like my comment, I hate being a hypocrite. Funny article- I'm from Chicago and his attitude is right aan da Chcawgo money my fren.
Perfect sense. Name changing is essentially a marketing excise to draw some attention to you product. (I agree with Mr. Bingham. "Common Sense" was better.) But Musk? Doesn't he understand that "X" is the Greek letter for "Chi"?
As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter what they call it. Twitter, "X," whatever you call it, is a disaster for civil discourse among human beings. Whether intended or not, it is by its own interaction design a hot mess of political grandstanding, incivility and vigilantism. The world would be better off without it.
I noticed recently that the word "Sugar" no longer appears in the names of cereals as it did in the 80s. For example, "Sugar Pops" is now "Corn Pops" even though sugar is still the prominent ingredient.
A lot of companies also like sticking the word "Nature" in front of product names so they can charge a couple bucks more.
Same with stadiums and sports teams. The Dodgers were in NY as were the Giants. You're lucky buddy, the Bears have always hailed from the windy city. It's not a perfect world. Anymore.