February 17, 2007

Spheniscid-American? Polar American?

That old question: What are we to call ourselves?  Here's one penguin's opinion, from the pages of the New Yorker:

But why ARCTIC-American?  Is Antarctic-American just too long?

[Addendum 2/18/07: Several correspondents have suggested that the cartoonist (Glen Le Lievre) just didn't know that penguins are restricted to the Southern Hemisphere, and don't occur in the Arctic at all.  I was hoping that this simple explanation wasn't true, that someone in the chain of people at the New Yorker, from the cartoonist through the cartoon editor (Bob Mankoff) to other editors and the fabled fact-checkers, would have queried Arctic and been reassured that there was some point to it.  But maybe it's just simple ignorance, of the sort that produces cartoons in which penguins disport themselves with (Arctic-only) polar bears.]

zwicky at-sign csli period stanford period edu

Posted by Arnold Zwicky at February 17, 2007 02:08 PM