There's been a lot of press recently about the naming of the UK's new polar research ship and the poll that spawned several thousand mimics. It got me wondering - where does the need to take serious things not too seriously come from? From the desire to add an 'I' to the middle of any 'TO LET' sign (even if only mentally) to the daft names given to landmarks (anyone know the real names for the 'Gherkin' or the 'Cheese-grater'?) we just can't help ourselves. Humour has long been used to deal with issues like death and illness as an effective coping mechanism (so called 'dark' humour) but what about issues which seemingly have nothing to do with us, like naming a ship?
In a mission to understand the psychology behind it I came across an article by Nell Frizzell (writing for the Guardian) which (apart from making me chuckle at all the other absurd examples of juvenile naming humour) suggested "We’re bored of being asked our opinion, then ignored when it doesn't fit with management ideology. Of course, I doubt that any of the thousands of people who crashed the Natural Environment Research Council website had a genuine gripe with NERC. We’re just getting a little sick of toothless public “engagement”. And we can’t help but make jokes."
Which I think is true (I can think of multiple examples of where else this would apply, particularly in the workplace...) but I also think there is an element of both rebellion and risk - a bit like pressing a doorbell and running away. We start as children, unfiltered, and our behaviours are learnt and modified by experience - but do we ever loose the desire to be unfiltered? Many 'mental health' conditions are often seen as scary or unacceptable because they feature an inability to modify our behaviour to fit in with what society expects. So what's everyone else's excuse? Are these outbursts just people taking the opportunity to be 'unfiltered' and deliberately rebel (albeit at a very minor level) against the confines of adulthood and the learnt behaviour that goes with it? Maybe, maybe not, but being 'different' in any way is often frowned upon in society and the pressure to conform is enormous. People often don't see how huge this pressure is as it's an accepted 'norm' but when you start to watch children at play or spend time with people who have mental health challenges you start to wonder what we would all be like without the social conditioning. Would it lead to anarchy? I doubt it - but would it encourage variety - almost certainly, because it would be the 'norm'.
Personally, I'm on the Boaty side. I like 'different' - probably because that's where I 'fit'. My jewellery will never be mainstream because it shows the wearer is a little bit 'different' without shouting it from the rooftops - it's a click to vote on Boaty McBoatface with a smile. A little bit of rebellion around your neck - I rather like that idea. :)
Despite all this you will no doubt be reassured to know (much though it might amuse me) that I don't intend renaming any of my pieces or collections any time soon... Baroquie McBaroqueface? Maybe not... for now. ;) *snigger*