- Exxon Valdez.
- Three-Mile Island.
- Love Canal.
- Pearl Harbor
- Mt. St. Helens.
- Amoco Cadiz
"Gulf Oil Spill" seems to have gained some currency. I don't like it or any of its variations, mainly because what has happened is not a spill. Spills go from higher places to lower places -- gravity is what makes a spill a spill. This effluvia does just the opposite, shooting upward. "Spills" are also singular events, bounded in time and volume. This one -- no. "Gulf Oil Spill" also fails to remind us of the villain here (there are many, I know, but one over-villain). And what about when we have an actual spill in the Gulf of Mexico, or some other Gulf?
Comparing the present disaster to those in my list, we can see that this particular event is not associated with a uniquely named spot on the globe. Oceanographic cartographers may have a name for that location, but I can’t seem to find one.
How about the name of the rig itself? The Exxon Valdez and Amoco Cadiz were oil disasters associated with the name of the ships. Here, "Deepwater Horizon," the name of the rig that asploded, has a nice ring to it. But it's too late to adopt that as a name for this event. Too hard to sell.
I propose one that is short, alliterative, descriptive, colorful, and memorable:
So henceforth, that’s what I’m going to call it.
In the nick of time, I might add.
The Cool Hot Center grants you a worldwide perpetual royalty-free right and license to use the phrase as well. When you do, people will know instantly what you're talking about, and you'll sound very much more hip than people who are still calling it the dreary old "Gulf Oil Spill."
And pass it along to all your friends and news directors and copy editors of your acquaintance. Let's get this thing rolling, people.