The name Boaty McBoatface has been in the news for the last few days. I first read about it on Sunday, in this piece on the BBC website, and it made me laugh out loud. It still does. Typing “Boaty McBoatface” makes me laugh, saying it makes me laugh. In case you haven’t come across the story it involves an online poll inviting suggestions to name a new Royal Research Ship being built on Merseyside. It (the ship) has a budget of 200 million pounds and will aid research into the Arctic.
The story was featured on today’s Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2, with the usual “both points of view”, back and forth stuff. Yes, it’s a silly name, but does it represent a good example of British humour or is it disrespectful to the kind of people after whom boats are usually named (explorers and adventurers)? Both points of view were expressed. Throughout the entire piece I continued to laugh at the sound of the name. Boaty McBoatface, it still just makes me laugh. One of the callers was very insistent that a vessel this size wouldn’t be a boat, it would be a ship. In that case it could be called Shippy McShipface, which also makes me laugh.
What I want to see is how the name makes me feel in the future, a week from now, a month from now, six months from now. Will it still make me laugh, or will it no longer seem so amusing? Will the story take a different turn and leave people like me feeling embarrassed at finding it funny in the first place?