— sᴛᴀʀᴛᴜᴘ ᴅᴀᴇᴍᴏɴ, PhD | click link in bio (@startupdaemon) March 27, 2020
Wuhan Virus, (novel) coronavirus, Covid19, Sars2.
And yes, the infamous “China virus, because it comes from Chi-Na”. How we name a virus is a fraught task. Spanish flu didn’t hail from Spain. But was first identified by physicians there. Yet many more invisible monsters are named after places they emerged. Be thankful you’ve never discovered one. So since 2015 labelling conventions have evolved too.
Although how prescient was this opinion at the time: ‘Many scientists agree that disease names can be problematic, but they aren’t sure the new rulebook is necessarily an improvement. “It will certainly lead to boring names and a lot of confusion”.’
Even when trying to make a name as neutral as possible, difficulty can arise. Note the displeasure of the initial Sars naming. As it was first spotted in Hong Kong, known locally as a SAR. Special Administrative Region of China. Eerily giving the same initials as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
I note the clamour not to refer to covid-19 like the above tweeter. To stave off racist accusations, there’s the adaption to swap the word China to CCP. Standing for Chinese Communist Party. A totalitarian tyrannical organisation more fixated on its own survival than anything else. To quote just one democratically elected law maker:
The brutal truth is that China seems to flout the normal rules of behaviour in every area of life – from healthcare to trade and from currency manipulation to internal repression.
I personally disagree with those saying WuFlu and the like are offensive. Chiefly because the Chinese government are pure evil. Just like every single despotic regime before them, no matter how ‘benign’ they claim to be.
I note arguments that suggest the temperature be lowered;
“Let’s stop saying ‘Chinese virus’ — not because everyone who uses it is racist, but because it needlessly plays into the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to divide us and deflect our attention from their bad actions.”
I hold a different view. Acknowledging it as originating from Wuhan I believe brings closer, not pushes out farther, Chinese people’s freedom.
Given this backdrop, back in our selling world all this brouhaha reminds us that not only must we name our bid projects, but that how we choose the name we try get adopted by our prospect is vital.
Have you run it through the contentious-checker?
Are you avoiding any problematic eponymy or metonymy?
For more ideas, I’ve blogged on this a few times down the years, including;
Project Names Background Management – Name That Project – Figonymy – The Magic Words To Ensure Your Message Is Passed Around – 3 Sales Tips From Budding Nation Branding Boom – Where’s Your Prospect Project Dividend – Project Unicorn – No.1 Bestseller Bond Author Provides 3 Bid Pillars – Is Your Prestige Proposal Cover Chasing the Dream