Thursday, September 14, 2006

It's the end of the worlds as we know it, I feel evil..

Astronomers finally announced the new name of “Xena” the minor planet* found way out beyond Pluto a few years ago. It has been re-named “Eris” after the Greek goddess of discord. Interestingly, this name continues an unnerving trend where new planets are named after increasingly dark and evil gods the farther away from the sun we get.

Cases in point, let’s examine the current planets, the gods they represent, and said deity’s perceived level of evil:

Mercury – God of speed, trade, and travel.
  • Essentially, the god of vacation – and what’s more good than vacation?

  • Goodness Rating = 10
Venus – Goddess of beauty and love.
  • Being in love is good, beauty is good. Also the goddess of sexual healing**. Only slightly less good than vacation because you can at least go on vacation when you’re single.

  • Goodness Rating = 9.5
Earth – Goddess of…well…earth.
  • Yeah, hey…the earth is good, right? Sure, it’s slowly turning on us what with global warming and all, but can you blame it given how it’s been treated all these centuries? It’s like Farrah Fawcett in “The Burning Bed” - I mean, if you don’t like it why don’t you just leave?

  • Goodness Rating = 7
Mars – God of war
  • It’s hard to say that any sort of war is terribly good. Maybe the war on drugs…but that’s not actually a war. Given all the references to WWII as being “the last good war” one wonders whether Mars has begun slowly moving away from the sun since 1945 in ways yet unmeasured by science…

  • Goodness Rating = 6 (and dropping possibly)
Ceres – Goddess of the harvest (and bad parenting)
  • Sure, the harvest sounds good, but remember she was also a terrible parent, allowing her daughter to be kidnapped by the god of the underworld and never instructing her not to accept food from strangers.

  • Goodness Rating = 5.8
Jupiter – King of the Gods, God of lightning
  • In general Kings aren’t thought of as terribly good, particularly when they sleep around as much as Jupiter did and using so many deceptive tactics to do so***.

  • Goodness Rating = 5
Saturn – Father of the Gods
  • Castrated his father, took his throne, and ate his own children. Not a lot of goodness here.

  • Goodness Rating = 4
Neptune – God of the sea
  • Also known as “the earth shaker” – responsible for earthquakes, shipwrecks, and drownings. Kind of petty, at times.

  • Goodness Rating = 3
Uranus – God of the heavens
  • Grandpa of the gods, his and Earth’s union resulted in the birth of Saturn and eventually, everyone else. Judging by his placement in the solar system however, it is obvious that he and Earth divorced a while back and he moved out to the suburbs as a deadbeat dad. No wonder his kid castrated him.

  • Goodness Rating = 2.5
Pluto – God of the Underworld
  • Ruled over the dead, kidnapped his wife, tricked her into staying over winters against her will.

  • Goodness Rating = 1
Eris – Goddess of Discord
  • Enjoys breaking up parties with her little apple. Started the Trojan War.

  • Goodness Rating = 0.6
Sedna – Inuit Goddess of the Sea
  • Ate her parents out of house and home, chopped off her father’s arm, took a dog for a husband. Not just bad…crazy bad.

  • Goodness Rating = 0.1

Here’s my problem with this theory though. Let’s say that Eris and Sedna aren’t the farthest dwarf planets from the sun? Haven’t we pretty much run out of bad gods to use? What’s left? Will the next one be named Satan? What happens when we start naming planets found in other solar systems?

This whole naming system needs to be re-done, IMHO. My recommendation would be to just re-name all the planets after cartoon characters, as we seem in no way close to running out of those. My name is Grrrbear, and I’m from Planet Spongebob.

* AKA planetoid, dwarf planet, “dinky”, destroyer-of-astronomy-world-peace
** Well, until Marvin Gaye at least.
*** I mean, disguising himself as “golden rain”? That’s going to extremes…

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