Last month, I wrote about a contest to name a new Arctic research vessel in the United Kingdom. Because the internet is both a terrible and wonderful place, the submission "Boaty McBoatface" ended up being the winner of the online poll by a very large margin. Unfortunately, it looks as though the internet may not get the final say after all--government officials are hedging at actually giving the ship the name that was voted on.
"There is a process now for us to review all of the public’s choices," Science Minister
Jo Johnsontold the BBC Monday, per Newsweek. "Many of them were imaginative, some were more suitable than others.”
Nicky Campbellexclaimed that the government would “ride roughshod over democracy" if it did not go through with naming the ship " Boaty McBoatface," which garnered 120,000 votes — four times that of the next closest choice.
Britain's National Environment Research Council, which sponsored the contest, noted that it retains authority to choose the final name.
“I think we were clear when launching the competition that we were looking for a name that would be in keeping with the mission," Johnson said.
Oh, come on.
While I'm not exactly stunned that the internet decided to have fun with this, nor am I surprised that the British government is probably not going to go with the internet's decision, it's still a little bit disappointing. This was a harmless prank, and at least the name is appropriate and not something obscene or blasphemous. A name of a ship is just a name--and with a name as spectacularly hilarious as "Boaty McBoatface," the ship will get far more attention than if it were named something generic sounding.
To close, here's a joke about the whole matter:
RIP Democracy: 5th century BC — 18 April 2016. https://t.co/s1QD2ASR1A— James Ball (@jamesrbuk) April 18, 2016