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Tree pest to get renamed; experts seek suggestions

NPR reports the Entomological Society of America is looking to change the name of gypsy moths because the current name is "very hurtful to the Romani people."

The moths are an invasive species, originally imported from Europe in the 1860s by a French artist turned entomologist living in our very own Medford.

Etienne Leopold Trouvelot got it in his head the moths could produce silk rivaling that of the better known silkworms. He was wrong, some of the caterpillars that hatched from the eggs he had sent here escaped and now, every ten years or so, they erupt in a leaf-munching frenzy that denudes millions of trees.

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Comments

It's not fair that Lyme, CT gets credit for that illness while Medford can't get any credit for the destructive bug we created. There won't be justice until every farmer and pest control company knows my city's name.

Also, I love the fact the biologist who coined the name "Gypsy Ant" has the last name of McGlynn. While he likely has nothing to do with Medford, the surname McGlynn is well known to all Medfordites as that family had run Medford for decades.

So they should call it the Medford Ant too.

Take that, Lyme!

PS. Bloomberg Moth would be my 2nd pick.

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Voting closed 62

As far as I know, no Lyme nor Old Lyme resident had anything to do with ticks or Lyme disease being present in Connecticut or elsewhere in North America.

To that end, Lyme disease is nothing like the medford moth, which is a menace to our lands entirely because of a poor decision made by a Medford man.

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Lyme disease was named after the CT town as that was where the disease was first identified, not because it was created there. The conspiracy bus has it hitting Lyme via deer from Plumb island.

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The conspiracy bus has it hitting Lyme via deer from Plumb island.

This island, is it made of lead?

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n/t

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We have too many artists turned scientists around.

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I'm sure there are any number of things they've been called that can't be printed in the newspaper.

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Call them “Trumpers” because they are awful & cause mass decay.

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Voting closed 34

Is that how the Romain people really feel about the name, or is that just someone's "expert opinion".

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This is a stupid question. Decent people don't wait for complaints to correct their behavior. Either way, a name change is in order.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2021/07/11/entomologists-renaming...

“Roma are dehumanized in so many ways: being associated with insects, being associated with animals,” said Margareta Matache, director of the Roma Program at Harvard University’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights. “And that is really how structural anti-Roma racism is justified.”

The word “gypsy” comes from England, Matache said, at a time when the English mistakenly thought Roma were Egyptians. The push to stop referring to Roma as “gypsies” started more than a century ago, though some Roma have reclaimed the word. In a 2020 study that Matache helped conduct, 35 percent of Romani Americans surveyed said they consider “gypsy” a racial slur.

Here's a link to the study cited: https://cdn1.sph.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/2464/2020/11/Roman...

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But did the survey ask how they felt about the "gypsy moth caterpillar", "gypsum board", or the Fleetwood Mac song? I doubt it.

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Gypsum board doesn't come from "gypsy".

If you're going to be a dick, you should be more careful with your facts.

Furthermore, every use of a term doesn't need to be explicitly checked. You can't say f*ck on television. We don't need to check if f*ckwit is okay.

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Voting closed 47

It's also a "fact" that intent doesn't matter anymore for racism, apparently. Whether something got its name 200 years for one reason, or 2000 years ago for another reason is trivia. The fact that you have to look up word origins on Wikipedia to decide whether to be offended or not is a good indicator of whether something is actually a real problem or an invented problem.

A couple of years ago someone from California complained that Kansas printed license plates containing the letters "JAP". The plate numbers were obviously randomly generated, but they still offended people, because so many people love discovering things to feel outrage over.

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Voting closed 33

Every state has an algorithm to prevent the random generation of offensive 3-letter words like ASS or KKK onto a license plate. If it’s offensive, fix it instead of defending and trivializing it.

Imagine handing a gay person a license plate with 378FAG on it and telling him that he should not be offended because it was unintentional and randomly generated.

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In reality this is how things happen:

RMV: "Here's your plate."

Vehicle Owner: "Hey, this plate is 378FAG... I'm not really comfortable with that."

RMV: *after making you stand in line for a month of course* "Okay, here's another one."

Vehicle Owner: "Thank you, I appreciate that. You should change the algo so this doesn't happen again."

Refugee-from-U-Hub: "WHat iS WrOng With The WoRld!?! I'M NoT rAcisT!"

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Imagine handing a gay person a license plate with 378FAG on it and telling him that he should not be offended

A more appropriate analogy would be a flamboyant gay man from San Francisco getting the 378FAG plate, driving it east, and then someone from Kansas calling the California DMV complaining about how it is so offensive. That is an example of an invented problem.

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This is example is absurdly dumb on so many levels. What is wrong with you?

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it’s okay to be wrong

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The moth was named using a racial slur. Even if it wasn't intended it makes sense to change it. Why are you bothered by that?

If I'm in someone's way and they ask me to move, I'll move. I don't get upset because I wasn't intentionally blocking them.

This has nothing to do with license plates. If that issues comes up here, let's discuss it.

Also, I did double check to be sure, but I knew gypsum came from another source (although, I don't know where the name Gypsy came from, so maybe they share a common parent). This has nothing to do with my point at all, but I thought it was funny how cranky you got about that. If it works for you it's a fact; if it works against you it's "trivia".

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The word gypsum is derived from the Greek word γύψος (gypsos), "plaster". (wikipedia)
Late Middle English from Latin, from Greek gupsos. (Oxford Dictionary - Lexico)

Gypsy - as noted above from the mistaken notion that these folks were from Egypt.

Egypt - The name 'Egypt' comes from the Greek Aegyptos which was the Greek pronunciation of the ancient Egyptian name 'Hwt-Ka-Ptah' ("Mansion of the Spirit of Ptah"), originally the name of the city of Memphis. (World History Encyclopedia).

and...

Old English Egipte "the Egyptians," from French Egypte, from Greek Aigyptos "the river Nile, Egypt," from Amarna Hikuptah, corresponding to Egyptian Ha(t)-ka-ptah "temple of the soul of Ptah," the creative god associated with Memphis, the ancient city of Egypt.

Strictly one of the names of Memphis, it was taken by the Greeks as the name of the whole country. The Egyptian name, Kemet, means "black country," possibly in reference to the rich delta soil. The Arabic is Misr, which is derived from Mizraim, the name of a son of Biblical Ham. (Online Etymology Dictionary)

It's Fun to Find Out!Procrastinate like a Motherfucker!

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I was always taught that these names meant "a narrow place", referring to the fact that Egyptian civilization clung tightly to the Nile River. Myth or legend?

(This fails to explain why Mitzrayim is a plural form.)

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The moth was named using a racial slur. Even if it wasn't intended it makes sense to change it. Why are you bothered by that?

The only reason someone would be bothered by this is if they want to use racial slurs.

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Or they were tired of hearing other people use racial slurs.

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Someone writes a knickers-in-a-knot post over the renaming of the gypsy moth, and this is because...they are tired of hearing other people use racial slurs. How's that work again?

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The Entomological Society received a request to change the name. They consulted Romani scholars, including one quite familiar w/ the caterpillar, who had this to say:

The larvae would swarm and strip the leaves from a tree, leaving behind so much destruction that people sometimes called them a “plague.” But no one blamed L. dispar. Instead they blamed “gypsy moth caterpillars,” the species’ common name.

“That’s how they see us,” Dr. Brooks remembered thinking as a child. “We eat things and destroy things around us.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/09/science/gypsy-moth-romani-entomologic...

I don't know why some people need so many reasons cited as to why something is offensive to a group of people. I doubt anyone that didn't see an issue once it was brought up will be persuaded otherwise, which is why I was reluctant to comment on this issue.

By the way, gypsum board is named for the mineral gypsum, from the Greek for plaster, because I guess they saw the Egyptians use it first. It has nothing to do w/ the term that is being discussed here.

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Yeah, but I know a guy who's cousin met a guy in a bar who was married to someone who was a quarter Romani. They were totally cool with it so I am deeply offended that they're changing the name.

(/s just in case)

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Are you really getting bent out of shape that a bug with an ethnic slur for a name is getting renamed?

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Since a good portion of those people where killed by the Nazis (among others), there's not as many people left to protest.

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…. gypsy tribes I can say I have no objection to the word. My ancestors called themselves members of the Kalderash and Savo tribes and the Swedish Travelers (or whatever that is in Swedish). My grandfather called himself part gypsy. I think tabooing words does little to change people perception. It’s just whitewash on a problem.

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I also have a couple of Black friends who say the n-word is fine for anyone to say in any context.

But since I spend time around more examples of the community than just these two, I am aware that this is a fringe viewpoint, that most people wouldn't appreciate me saying it, and I don't ever say it.

You can find people from pretty much any group who say they don't care if others do things that are considered offensive by many many others.

In other words, folks, please don't take the word of one person on UHub who claims to descend FROM DIFFERENT NOMADIC PEOPLES THAN THE ONES WE'RE DISCUSSING that it's OK to use something that a good number of Romani leaders ask us to not use.

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… much about the various groups and tribes that fall under the umbrella term “gypsy”.
Particularly about the Kalderash. My great grandfather spoke Romani and taught some phrases to my grandfather. He also didn’t feel the need to use all caps to try to convince people of his opinions. He was a great public speaker though. But that’s another story.

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When people see you, are they able to identify you as Romani? If they were to guess at your ethnicity, what do you think they'd say?

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Sounds like you’re asking if you can touch my hair.

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My grandfather was Polish but as a kid I didn't want to tell anyone because of all the Polish jokes. To this day I'm sure there are many adults who think poorly of the Polish for no other reason than the ubiquitous jokes about people from that country.

So even if most adults are smart enough to not think poorly of the Gypsies due to the connection with the moths, it's still a name worth changing.

Are you or any other Gypsy proud about the connection to the moths?

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Including insects. Well, some (humans, mosquitos…) I don’t like as much as others but I don’t hate any because of their species. Moths are just trying to survive like all living creatures.

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Is getting carried away.
Any thing they change it to could be offensive to someone.

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You don't get to decide what's offensive to other people. "Gypsy" is a deeply offensive ethnic slur to Romani people, even though you undoubtedly have no clue.

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I said word policing is getting out of hand.
I don't care if they change it or not, this is a place you put your opinions right?
Do you get to tell people who call themselves "gypsies" ( they exist) that it's offensive?
No, but you have an opinion, as do I and it's that word policing is getting out of hand.

Some people who identify themselves as ethnically Roma (also called Romani or Romany) are offended by “Gypsy,” and most standard dictionaries have reservations about using it to mean Roma. On the other hand, some Roma people don’t mind being called “Gypsies” and others even embrace the term.

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I said word policing is getting out of hand.

Why is it "out of hand"? When a name is offensive, you change it. It isn't complicated.

If you think that this is an example of "word policing getting out of hand," that implies that you think that this ethnic slur is not worth getting offended over.

Which is the same as saying that you get to decide which offensive terms are offensive enough to warrant a name change, and which name changes are "out of hand," i.e., unnecessary.

Yes, it's just your opinion (ooh! magic word!), but it's a stupid opinion, born of ignorance and privilege.

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A stranger who knows nothing about me said my opinion is stupid and I'm privileged. Amazing
Your opinion is correct and you are enlightened. Ok?

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and yes he is. Also yes, your opinion is stupid, and you act like a privileged nincompoop.

Because you seem determined to ignore the point, it's not Scratchie who's determining that the word is offensive; it's people who are having the word applied to them.

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Thanks for your input.

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What did you think was going to be the outcome of starting a pissing match with Scratchie?

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Am I supposed to know scratchier?
I just put my opinion out there that word policing is getting out of hand..

I found out today I'm a nincompoop and my opinion comes from ignorance and privilege, so at least I learned that.

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So, yes?

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I'll pay more attention to the screen names.
I know a few
but not everyone

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I try not to pay too much attention to the screen names and respond to posts as stand alones on their own merits. Not that I’m very successful at that. Lots of vivid personalities and interesting writing styles here at UHub.

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waaaah i said something stupid and you pointed out how stupid the thing i said was; you’re the REAL racist - not ME who expressed my stupid ass racist opinion!

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A stranger who knows nothing about me said my opinion is stupid and I'm privileged. Amazing

You stated your opinion publicly. If you don't want other people to know how stupid and privileged you are, it costs nothing to shut up.

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Keep it up.

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you're not.

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You're charming.

I get that a lot.

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so how many Romani people have to say they don’t like it before you’re convinced? is it 1? 5? 50? 500? 1m? based on your comment history on this topic, i’m going to assume you know each and every Romani person on this planet, so maybe you can just let us know when each of them doesn’t like “gypsy” anymore.

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Language naturally changes all of the time. It seems reasonable to change official names that have ethnic slurs in them to something that doesn't. In 100 years if that turns out to be offensive... they'll change it.

I do agree that sometimes people put too much weight on language instead of facing deeper problems, but this seems like a no brainer and it's always fun to come up with a new name for a bug. This is win win.

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…over renaming a moth. That comes around every 10 years. Who honestly gives a shit? God forbid we evolve as a society.

This reminds me of when my great-grandmother lamented “what’s the big deal?” when my mom would not let me use the same offensive term for Raisinettes as she did.

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Really want to be able to freely use ethnic slurs. I wonder why that is.

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when Maine forced several islands to change their name?

https://apnews.com/article/225e20661f3d42f0a5129a50fefe1471

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why would an entomological society bother with renaming a species' nickname? they shouldn't recognize the 'gypsy moth' term to begin with.

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Dispar Moth seems fine.

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It sounds kinda badass. DISPAR MOTH!

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Entomologists never use common names?

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I wondered the same thing after typing "official name" in another post here despite knowing it isn't the scientific name.

In the announcement linked in the NPR story it says:

The Entomological Society of America has removed “gypsy moth” and “gypsy ant” as recognized common names for two insect species in its Common Names of Insects and Related Organisms List.

The list/DB can be found here. Since they do endorse certain common names, they are changing the common name that they endorse.

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Will ask my Romanian friend if she and her family are offended. Pretty sure I already know the answer. That would be no.

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Because Romani and Romanians are not the same groups of people.

Just sign me, grandson of a Romanian who was not a Romani.

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I shall! Interesting that you presume know more than her parents and older sister about their own heritage, the three of them who were born in Romania!

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Do you also have Australian friends? It would be interesting to ask them if they are offended at being called Austrians.

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a double-down?

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Your friend and their family may indeed be Romani -- Romani people live in all countries -- but that's not the same thing as being Romanian. Take the L.

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Some people look to the past and say "We can do better" others look to the past and hold on to it like a security blanket and want to be offended that the future means they need to evolve.

Let's agree to evolve, shall we?

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Watertown moths?

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Japanese Beetle, Greek Salad, Chinese Junk, Scotch & Soda and many many more are just common names for objects or even families of objects. It just so happens that these have a name of a country or a population of a country embedded in the name or in some case nickname or even abbreviation.

Are they all pejorative?? -- well I suppose its in the mind of the beholder. In many cases - they are simply descriptive shorthand with an unknown heritage of the names geographic component.

For example -- Scotch and Soda -- is really shorthand for a drink combining Scotch Whiskey with carbonated water. In Scotland -- you don't ask for Scotch -- you ask for Whiskey because that is the only kind of Whiskey they make in Scotland [a mostly malted barley whiskey].

On the other hand If you go into a bar in Louisville, KY and ask for a Whiskey and Soda -- you wouldn't get Scotch you would most likely get Bourbon [a mostly corn whiskey]. Bourbon of course ultimately connects with the Royal Family of France although the exact coupling with the whiskey is unknown.

What about Dutch Elm Disease??? probably the closest analog to the Gypsy Moth.
It is not a disease native to the Netherlands, nor is it a disease only affecting Dutch Elms. The name is tied to the fact that while it probably has been around for thousands of years -- it was first identified when Elms started succumbing in large numbers in the Netherlands
as Wikipedia states:

Dutch elm disease (DED) is caused by a member of the sac fungi (Ascomycota) affecting elm trees, and is spread by elm bark beetles. Although believed to be originally native to Asia, the disease was accidentally introduced into America and Europe, where it has devastated native populations of elms that did not have resistance to the disease...The name "Dutch elm disease" refers to its identification in 1921 and later in the Netherlands by Dutch phytopathologists Bea Schwarz and Christine Buisman, who both worked with Professor Johanna Westerdijk...The disease affects species in the genera Ulmus and Zelkova; therefore it is not specific to the Dutch elm hybrid.

So why not call it Schwarz Elm Disease???
well Prof Schwarz got a tree named after her that is mildly resistant [although apparently doesn't look like much compared to a "real Elm"] ---

The elm cultivar Ulmus minor 'Bea Schwarz' was cloned (as No. 62) at Wageningen in the Netherlands, by the elm disease committee, from a selection of Ulmus minor found in France in 1939.

We apparently have one growing in the Arnold Arboretum,

[US. Acc. nos. 151–61, 276–62]
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The origin of the word "junk" in the English language can be traced to the Portuguese word junco, which is rendered from the Arabic word j-n-k (جنك). This word comes from the fact that the Arabic script cannot represent the sound spelled with the digraph "ng".[14]:37 The word was used to denote both the Javanese/Malay ship (jong or djong) and the Chinese ship (chuán), even though the two were markedly different vessels. After the disappearance of jongs in the 17th century, the meaning of "junk" (and other similar words in European languages), which until then was used as a transcription of the word "jong" in Malay and Javanese, changed its meaning to exclusively refer to the Chinese ship (chuán).

Note that the English synonym for trash has nothing to do with Chinese ships, so no, Chinese Junk is not pejorative.

As for scotch & soda, don't be ridiculous. No Scotsman, true or otherwise, has to my knowledge ever objected to the phrase.

You might have a case for Japanese Beetle, but I see you didn't try to make it. The rest are ridiculous.

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For example -- Scotch and Soda -- is really shorthand for a drink combining Scotch Whiskey with carbonated water. In Scotland -- you don't ask for Scotch -- you ask for Whiskey because that is the only kind of Whiskey they make in Scotland [a mostly malted barley whiskey].

It's whisky in Scotland. They might encourage you to go for a swim if you'd like some whiskey with the E in it.

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If you morons name it Mothy McMothface I am pulling the plug on the whole internet.

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'Cause that would be awesome.

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Mothy McMothyface

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...well played.

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