1.06.2009

genericized brand names: use a tissue, not a kleenex

I've decided to try to get brand names out of my speech patterns. It may be only symbolic, but I'd like to rid my vocabulary of corporate marketing as much as I can. I want to call objects by their actual names, not what Procter & Gamble or 3M or Johnson & Johnson wants me to call them.

As far as I can tell, the use of genericized brand names is even more prevalent in the Canada than in the US, but it's rampant on both sides of the border.

I grew up saying "Scotch tape," but have been trying to say "clear tape" now, or just "tape", if the type of tape is understood in context.

I've never said "Kleenex" for "tissue". My family always said "tissue" so that's what I came to use.

But I do say Band-Aid and Q-tip. I haven't yet gotten the knack of "bandage" and "cotton swab," but I'm going to try. I believe in the UK they're called ear-buds or ear-sticks. Not sure what Canadians say?

I do say "photocopy," not "Xerox". But I still use "white-out" occasionally, not "correction fluid". (The brand name is spelled without the h.)

Until I looked into this, I never even knew that the words "ketchup," "aspirin," "dry ice" and "zipper" were all once trademarked. What would I use in their stead? I know Brits say "zip," but to me, that's a verb. And what on earth is "catsup"? I can't go there. So I'll give myself permission to use certain words that have filtered down into generic vocabulary. It might be arbitrary, based on how long a word has been in use, or what my grandmother said, but rather than try to remake all my speech patterns, I'll just go with these.

But I will stop calling my generic ibuprofen "Advil".

In Canada, as in the UK, people vacuum the house by doing the "hoovering". People call cream cheese "philly". For some reason, that one particularly rankles me. I always want to yell, "It's cream cheese! Call it cream cheese!" (I don't.)

I'm told that some USians, especially Southerners, grew up using "coke" as a generic name for soda or pop. I've never heard it myself, but I'm sure that would drive me crazy, too. That would be like calling a hamburger a "McDonald". Awful.

Then there are relatively recent - historically speaking - locutions like Walkman, iPod, Rollerblade and the verb Photoshop. The expression "inline skate" is common (I wrote about that once), but who ever called a Walkman a personal stereo device? Or an iPod a portable media player, no matter what the brand? It takes too long. I'll ask, "Is that Photoshopped?", not, "Did someone digitally alter that picture?"

This may be more difficult than I thought.

69 comments:

M@ said...

Yeah, I've thought the same way at times, tried to curb my use of genericized brand names. You're right, it's not easy. Interesting to think about though.

I can get away with "bandage" for "Band-Aid"; although a bandage is technically different, I use actual bandages a lot less frequently than Band-Aids, so I'm not so worried about that one.

But Q-tip, no, I don't think I can give that one up. However, I also tend to dislike off-brand cotton swabs, so in our house, if I say "we need to buy Q-Tips", it's literally true.

"mp3 Player" is a good generic term for personal portable electronic music listening device.

Oh, and as for hoovering (a term that really bugs me for some reason), I didn't think it was that common in Canada. My mother's English and never used the term either. (How I would love it, though, if people would "Electrolux" their carpets.)

For a real Canadian genericized brand name experience, though, sit on a Chesterfield some time... :)

redsock said...

People call cream cheese "philly".

WHAT?!?!?!?!?

who ever called a Walkman a personal stereo device?

How about "tape player" or "CD player"?

Amy said...

As I am getting ready to teach Trademark Law next semester, I am amused to read this post! Here are some other terms that were once brand names that are now "generic" and no longer protected as trademarks: aspirin, escalator, raisin bran, shredded wheat, yoyo, linoleum, trampoline. All it takes for a mark to become generic and lose its trademark protection is enough popular usage of a term so that it no longer designates a good for one particular source and instead stands for a category of goods.

So perhaps you should be instead using all those terms currently protected as trademarks in that generic way so that the corporate owners LOSE their trademark protection. If everyone starts calling inline skates rollerblades, for example (an example I use in my class), then someday Rollerblade will no longer have any trademark protection.

L-girl said...

I can get away with "bandage" for "Band-Aid"; although a bandage is technically different, I use actual bandages a lot less frequently than Band-Aids, so I'm not so worried about that one.

Yes! And I also only use Band-Aid brand plastic bandages.

However, I also tend to dislike off-brand cotton swabs, so in our house, if I say "we need to buy Q-Tips", it's literally true.

Same here. Only Q-tips and only Band-Aids. The generic ones suck, IMO.

So do I say, "We need to buy some Q-tip brand cotton swabs" ??

"mp3 Player" is a good generic term for personal portable electronic music listening device.

Good. I'm there.

Oh, and as for hoovering (a term that really bugs me for some reason), I didn't think it was that common in Canada.

I've heard it on The National, and just recently saw it used in "Shock Doctrine"!

It bugs me, too, although nowhere as much as "philly".

My mother's English and never used the term either. (How I would love it, though, if people would "Electrolux" their carpets.)

We Oreck ours. :)

People call cream cheese "philly".

WHAT?!?!?!?!?


Yes, they do.

who ever called a Walkman a personal stereo device?

How about "tape player" or "CD player"?


But how to distinguish that from the one you use at home? I guess by context.

L-girl said...

Here are some other terms that were once brand names that are now "generic" and no longer protected as trademarks: aspirin, escalator, raisin bran, shredded wheat, yoyo, linoleum, trampoline.

Yes, I saw all those on Wikipedia, I was very surprised by some of them. I didn't know that trampoline, escalator or aspirin had ever been trademarked terms.

L-girl said...

just recently saw it used in "Shock Doctrine"!

Klein says companies were "hoovering up no-bid contracts," spelled this way with a lower-case H.

M@ said...

trampoline

I'd be safe there anyhow. Thanks to the Simpsons, I only use the word "trambopaline".

L-girl said...

If everyone starts calling inline skates rollerblades, for example (an example I use in my class), then someday Rollerblade will no longer have any trademark protection.

I understand what you're saying, but then why hasn't Johnson & Johnson lost the trademark to Band-Aids, and Unilever to Q-tips? To my knowledge, no one calls those products anything else, no matter what the brand.

Amy said...

understand what you're saying, but then why hasn't Johnson & Johnson lost the trademark to Band-Aids, and Unilever to Q-tips?

Good question...Kleenex and Xerox are other examples. One reason may be that these companies continue to market their brand successfully enough that even though the terms are used generically by people, people also know that they remain brands owned by one company. I may say I am going to xerox something, even when I am using a non-Xerox machine, but I know that Xerox remains a particular company's brand. In litigation, it usually takes complex survey evidence to determine that a term has become generic. Corporations today are very savvy about how to prevent that from happening.
Xerox, for example, aggressively pursues non-trademark users of its trademark and uses advertising to battle the "genericide" of its marks.

So I was being a bit glib in my first post. It is actually very hard today to convert a trademark into a generic term.

James said...

I grew up saying "Scotch tape," but have been trying to say "clear tape" now, or just "tape", if the type of tape is understood in context.

I was going to say that there's always the Brit term "sellotape", but it turns out that's a brand name as well.

Of course, "Scotch" tape wasn't originally a brand name -- according to 3M, it was an ethnic slur by a customer, aimed at the cheapscates at 3M who only put adhesive along the edges of the tape to cut costs.

I call my iPod and iPod because it actually is an iPod... Before I had one, I called my "personal music device" a "MP3 player" -- but there weren't any iPods then, either.

L-girl said...

I was going to say that there's always the Brit term "sellotape", but it turns out that's a brand name as well.

I learned the same thing when writing this post. :)

Of course, "Scotch" tape wasn't originally a brand name -- according to 3M, it was an ethnic slur by a customer, aimed at the cheapscates at 3M who only put adhesive along the edges of the tape to cut costs.

Right! Like "gypping" someone - cheating them, as "Gypsies" would supposedly do. The paddy wagon is a another good one, although it's unclear if that's because all the cops were thought to be Irish, or all the criminals, or both.

I call my iPod and iPod because it actually is an iPod... Before I had one, I called my "personal music device" a "MP3 player" -- but there weren't any iPods then, either.

I am one of the weirdos that still uses a portable CD player instead of an iPod (although I'd switch if all the music I love could be magically digitized and loaded on an iPod with zero effort on my part). Anyway, my portable CD player is a CD Walkman, but I'm still trying to call it a CD player.

L-girl said...

Oh fine, Amy, confuse me with your glibness. ;)

redsock said...

A few others from the link in the main post:

Crock-Pot
Frisbee
Jacuzzi
Jello
Thermos
Zamboni

James said...

Right! Like "gypping" someone - cheating them, as "Gypsies" would supposedly do.

Though I don't think that ever got turned into a brand name.

What other pejoratives have been imortalized in brand names? (Other than band names like NWA, that is.)

The paddy wagon is a another good one, although it's unclear if that's because all the cops were thought to be Irish, or all the criminals, or both.

I always liked the term "Black Maria", but I only ever saw it used in Charles Addams cartoons.

(although I'd switch if all the music I love could be magically digitized and loaded on an iPod with zero effort on my part).

It doesn't take that much effort. Stick your CD in your computer and hit "import". In the end, it's a lot less net effort than lugging the CDs around all the time. :)

James said...

Thermos

Yeah, but call it a "Dewar flask" and only a few chemists, physicists, and Brits will know what you're talking about.

Thermos was declared generic in the US in 1963 -- there's a good list of genericized trademarks at Wikipedia, as well as a discussion of the legal ramifications of genericization.

L-girl said...

there's a good list of genericized trademarks at Wikipedia, as well as a discussion of the legal ramifications of genericization

Yes, linked in the original post. :)

L-girl said...

It doesn't take that much effort. Stick your CD in your computer and hit "import". In the end, it's a lot less net effort than lugging the CDs around all the time. :)

But the music is already on CD, so it takes no effort. I pop the CD in the player, and I'm done.

If we're traveling or I'm going to work, I take my portable CD case and throw it in my bag.

I like to have a lot of music choices, so I just can't see bothering to convert so much music to another medium, when it's in a perfectly good medium already.

Like I said, I know it's weird. Maybe one day I'll succumb.

Stephanie said...

IMHO and perhaps related to Klein's usage too, I have never used hoover to mean vacuum/vacuuming and to the best of my knowledge nor do any of my friends or relatives...However, in the right context it is used very frequently to express lopsided distribution or over consumption as in "he hoovered that dip!", "Billy don't hoover the chips!".

M@ said...

I just read that Wikipedia page. I have to admit that "rebound tumbler" is an even more awesome name for a trampoline than a trambopaline.

(I'll keep everyone posted on any further trampoline-related thoughts I have as they occur.)

Also, I can't imagine anyone using a term for "Zamboni" other than "Zamboni". That's another one I'm just going to live with.

L-girl said...

Though I don't think that ever got turned into a brand name.

What other pejoratives have been imortalized in brand names?


That's true! I can't think of any offhand. I'm going to keep thinking...

We could make up a lot of funny ones, SNL style.

L-girl said...

However, in the right context it is used very frequently to express lopsided distribution or over consumption as in "he hoovered that dip!", "Billy don't hoover the chips!".

Oh cool. Like I would say "inhale". That does seem related to Naomi Klein's useage.

(I'll keep everyone posted on any further trampoline-related thoughts I have as they occur.)

Please do.

Also, I can't imagine anyone using a term for "Zamboni" other than "Zamboni". That's another one I'm just going to live with.

Same here. No one would know what you were talking about. In fact, anyone would think you just didn't know it was called a Zamboni.

I do say "whirlpool bath," not Jacuzzi. But now I'm thinking, Whirlpool is a trademark name, too!

M@ said...

Thought of another one: Robertson screws.

However, that one I'll live with too, because (a) it's a magnificent piece of engineering and using the term helps immortalize the inventor; and (b) the generic term "square-drive screw" is misleading (because the square shape isn't really what's significant about the design) and annoying.

There isn't really a generic term for Phillips screws, though, other than my own personal term -- which is too long and profanity-filled for general usage, I suspect.

L-girl said...

I never heard of Robertson Screws!

Robertson Screws

Wikipedia says they are mainly used in Canada. Allan, is this the thing that drove you crazy in the Port Credit house, b/c we didn't have the proper screwdriver?

These are commonly used here?

M@ said...

I bet they are the ones driving Allan crazy. And they'd be the standard screw in use everywhere in the world if it weren't for a falling out between the inventor and Henry Ford. Sigh.

Yes, they are in wide use in Canada and, I heard in a documentary one time, they're growing in use in China as well. Bob Vila is also apparently a fan of them. They don't strip anywhere near as easily as Phillips screws, and the screwdriver sits so snugly in the screw head that you don't need to hold the screw with your other hand to set it into the wood.

I don't know if I'm alone in being an evangelist for these screws, but I always use them if I can. And I'm always a little bit thrilled when I buy something, say a light fixture, that uses them. That's very rare though.

richard said...

For Quebecois my age or older a refrigerator is called "le frigidaire" regardless of the actual brand name. English speakers, in the same vein, call it a "fridge"

redsock said...

ARRRGGGG! Those square fuckers!

L-girl said...

My Brooklyn relatives who never stepped foot in Quebec called a refrigerator a Frigidaire. That's cool that it has a counterpart in French.

But I think "fridge" is short for "refrigerator".

L-girl said...

ARRRGGGG! Those square fuckers!

That answers that question!

It would have been different if we had a Robertson screwdriver...

richard said...

But I think "fridge" is short for "refrigerator".

You know, that never occurred to me. Probably because I'm so conditioned to think of it as "un frigidaire".

Jere said...

Wow, 30 comments in and no talk of Vaseline?

When I was in nursery school, apparently I was sniffling away all day once, the whole time refusing tissues. My mom arrived to pick me up and the teachers told her I wouldn't take a tissue. She told them it was because I only knew them as Kleenex.

James said...

I like to have a lot of music choices, so I just can't see bothering to convert so much music to another medium, when it's in a perfectly good medium already.

It's a great medium, up until you decide you want a good variety of music for your two-week business trip and you end up packing 50 CDs... :)

I don't know if I'm alone in being an evangelist for these screws, but I always use them if I can.

I prefer Robertsons, and use them whenever I can.

L-girl said...

Wow, 30 comments in and no talk of Vaseline?

If it's any consolation, I did think about petroleum jelly many times while writing this post and during this chat. It's on that Wikipedia list.

When I was in nursery school, apparently I was sniffling away all day once, the whole time refusing tissues. My mom arrived to pick me up and the teachers told her I wouldn't take a tissue. She told them it was because I only knew them as Kleenex.

So you're saying you were a corporate purist, even as a child? :)

L-girl said...

It's a great medium, up until you decide you want a good variety of music for your two-week business trip and you end up packing 50 CDs... :)

I guess if I did that, I would prefer an iPod.

But the only time I ever want music when I travel is when we're driving. Then it's CDs all the way.

Even my little portable CD carry-case holds 50 CDs, and our big one holds 100s.

In Newfoundland, our rental car had satellite radio, which was nice (although still not as good as CDs).

Jere said...

"So you're saying you were a corporate purist, even as a child? :)"

99.44%

L-girl said...

99.44%

I'vry been thinking that.

James said...

The MP3 player's also great when on a 10-hour bike ride. You don't want the extra weight! :)

No mention of Velcro yet -- no-one's about to start calling it "hook-and-loop fastener".

As for other brands from pejorative terms, there was a "Sambo's" restaurant chain, which decorated its restaurants with scenes from Little Black Sambo -- though originally the two were unconnected. There's one Sambo's left.

L-girl said...

No mention of Velcro yet -- no-one's about to start calling it "hook-and-loop fastener".

Especially since that doesn't even describe it. To me that sounds like a hook-and-eye clasp. But you're right, no one will ever call Velcro anything but Velcro.

As for other brands from pejorative terms, there was a "Sambo's" restaurant chain

Funny, when you said pejorative terms, I immediately thought, any fried-chicken or fast-food places using racial stereotypes...?

James said...

Here you go: Sambo and Dixieland brand watermelon. Of course, these are no longer active...

A whole lot of those sorts of ads here.

L-girl said...

The most famous one of those - for USians, at least - is surely Aunt Jemima.

Here on Wiki, and on their own site, featuring the updated, less offensive black woman logo.

L-girl said...

"Uncle Ben's" rice is another one. White Southerners called elderly African Americans "Auntie" and "Uncle". Definitely a slur.

Amy said...

There is a basis for challenging trademarks (or at least blocking registration of trademarks) that are disparaging of a person, group, etc. There has been much litigation, for example, over the registration of the mark Redskins for the NFL team. Not sure Uncle Ben or Aunt Jemima would fit into that category since the marks themselves are just names. It's the stereotypical depictions that go along with them that are disparaging.

L-girl said...

There has been much litigation, for example, over the registration of the mark Redskins for the NFL team.

Anything over the Cleveland baseball team, that you know of?

Not sure Uncle Ben or Aunt Jemima would fit into that category since the marks themselves are just names. It's the stereotypical depictions that go along with them that are disparaging.

Right, and they were shamed or pressured into changing those images over the years.

Amy said...

Regarding the Cleveland Indians, there has been talk of challenging the registration of the Chief Wahoo image, but the name "Indian" is not considered disparaging in and of itself so is unlikely to be challenged successfully. I have not seen any actual proceedings brought to challenge either, unless it has been done very quietly.

I personally prefer calling them the Spiders!

L-girl said...

but the name "Indian" is not considered disparaging in and of itself so is unlikely to be challenged successfully

Of course, using the name of a people as a team name is disparaging, but I wouldn't expect courts to recognize a concept like that. The Chief Wahoo image, now, that's another story.

James said...

Of course, using the name of a people as a team name is disparaging

Is Boston Celtics really disparaging? I mean, apart from the fact that they mispronounce it, and it really ought to be "Celts"...

L-girl said...

Boston Celtics, that's a good point. My guess is most people would think of that (if they think of it at all) as a tribute to the huge Irish American population in Boston. As opposed to the invisible Native American population of Cleveland.

It's the hideous logo, too. There's no getting around that.

Re the strange pronunciation, I never understood that.

deang said...

I'm told that some USians, especially Southerners, grew up using "coke" as a generic name for soda or pop. I've never heard it myself, but I'm sure that would drive me crazy, too.

I grew up with that usage in Texas, but I don't hear it much now. Actually, we used "coke" and "soft drink" interchangeably. "Soda" and "pop" still sound odd to me, but you're right, using "coke" for any soft drink ought to have been confusing. It wasn't, though. I'd tell Mom that I wanted a coke and she'd ask what kind: Sprite? 7-Up? Orange? Grape? Root beer? Ginger ale? If I had to refer to those drinks generically now, I think I'd say soft drink, but I'd probably be more specific.

Karen said...

just a small comment.... my kids love watching a British arts and crafts show called Mr. Maker. He calls what we often call Scotch tape, sticky tape so that's what my kids call it and I really like it. I'm using it now too and think it's specific enough that people would know what you're referring too. I like that he also calls Mactac "sticky backed plastic." So great.

L-girl said...

Thanks Karen! :)

He calls what we often call Scotch tape, sticky tape so that's what my kids call it and I really like it.

Yes, I do, too. But isn't all tape sticky? :)

I like that he also calls Mactac "sticky backed plastic."

I don't even know what Mactac is. Is that what I call "contact paper"? You peel the back off and smooth it onto a surface?

(And if you're me, you leave bubbles in it and it looks awful, and then you ask your partner to re-do it, so it can look nice.)

James said...

Yes, I do, too. But isn't all tape sticky? :)

Twill tape isn't; drywall tape usually isn't; there are a couple of makes of sticky measuring tape, but most of that isn't either. Painter's tape is only minimally sticky -- just enough to hold itself up -- so that it doesn't pull up paint. Some kinds of rubber medical tape aren't adhesive as such, but will stick to themselves through friction rather than glue. Teflon (there's another nearly-generic brand name) plumber's tape doesn't have glue either.

I have some completely non-adhesive vinyl tape around somewhere. And, of course, magentic recording tape isn't even sticky in a magentic sense.

We used to use "sticky tape" for the glossy cellophane tape, and "Scotch tape" for the special "magic" matte type.

And here are some other, unrelated, near-generic brand names: Kevlar & Spandex.

SoSock said...

Wow, this has been fun.
As a Southerner, (suhthunuh?) I must say Pepsi and Coke are used interchangably around here, depending on which you prefer. My wife NEVER asks for a soda, a pepsi, a cola, or anything else. ALWAYS a Coke. But that's because she won't drink any other cola. If the establishment doesn't serve Coke she gets water, or maybe a 7-Up.
I have to agree with the Q-Tip and Band-aid thing. I can't imagine calling them anything else. Bandage implies something bigger to me, even it happens to made by the Band-Aid company! But I myself say copy, not xerox.
On the tape issue, I have a whole different perspective. Scotch 33 is the good tape we use in the electrical business. Anything else is "cheap tape", even it's actually made by Scotch/3M! Many electricians only buy the cheap stuff, but when I am actually using the tape to insulate, not just wrap up a cord or fish a wire, I want the good stuff. And nothing even compares to the 3M tape. So when I ask for Scotch tape, I want SCOTCH :)

L-girl said...

While making dinner tonight, I thought of two more. I was using a food processor, which some people call a Cuisinart.

And that made me think of something I use at work, which some people call a Dictaphone.

L-girl said...

Huh. Turns out not all tape is sticky. Let me rephrase. There are many different kinds of sticky tape. I have 4 different kinds within reach right now: clear tape ("Scotch" tape), duct tape, packing tape (also clear!) and masking tape.

Magnetic tape. Tsk tsk. :)

I call Spandex "stretch fabric". I call Kevlar, Kevlar. :)

And we learn that the SoSockette likes her Coca-Cola!

impudent strumpet said...

I love this stuff! It always comes up at work because we don't want to put brand names in the client's mouth, but we also have to write in a way that requires the least possible effort on the part of the reader to understand it. For example, I'd be hesitant to call Scotch tape anything else in a translation because it would take the reader a second to realize what they're talking about, and that's what we're trying to avoid.

My Q-tips box says they're "cotton swabs", but I'd be hesitant to use that because the first thing that comes to mind when I hear that is cotton balls like you use for removing make-up.

Someone once told me that when it comes to painkillers, medical professionals like to deliberately use brand names so people don't get them mixed up. "You can take Tylenol but not Aspirin" is far clearer than "You can take acetaminophen but not acetylsalicylic acid." People for whom the technical names are too much will just buy the brand names and therefore take the right meds, while people who understand the technical names will buy the generics anyway.

Hoovering I think is a Britishism rather than a Canadianism, because I distinctly remember having to look it up when I was a kid (and couldn't find it because my parents' dictionaries are too prescriptivist). My grandmother doesn't say hoovering, and she says chesterfield and serviette and thinks wrapping fish & chips in newspapers is a good idea.

I don't think ipod or photoshop are true generics. When ipod doesn't refer to an actual ipod, I think it has an implied "...or whatever it is you carry your music on" (the same way "Put on your coat" implies "...and/or any other outerwear you require.") We'd never call it a Zune ipod the way we'd refer to Life brand kleenex. The generic is mp3 player.

I think Photoshop works like Google - it's the the only thing people really use anyway. (obligatory xkcd reference)

The map of Coke is here.

Xerox I don't think we actually use. I remember encountering it in a book when I was a kid and not being able to look it up (damn prescriptivist dictionaries!) and not being able to ask any grownups because I didn't know how to pronounce it. I've always called it photocopying.

Anyway, my portable CD player is a CD Walkman

Not a Discman?

When I was in nursery school, apparently I was sniffling away all day once, the whole time refusing tissues. My mom arrived to pick me up and the teachers told her I wouldn't take a tissue. She told them it was because I only knew them as Kleenex.

When I was a kid, I read a book where a character was eating potato chips, and decided I'd like to try some. I asked my mother for potato chips, and she told me they're the same as chips, pointing out the little Humpty Dumpty and Ruffles packages in with my Halloween candy. Well, this was clearly a lie, because those packages said "chips", not "potato chips". So next time my mother went grocery shopping, she found me potato chips that said "potato chips" on them. They looked just like chips to me, but I ate them very carefully, trying to determine what the difference was.

Re: Robertson screws:

I don't like the Robertson and Phillips and whatever the other names are because it's completely arbitrary and it's just as easier to say square or cross or (whatever the other shapes are - I'm blanking). But men - and it's always and only men - always insist on correcting me and "teaching" me the proper names of the various types of screws and making me use that terminology for the entire project. I can only conclude that your penis falls off if you fail to call them by name. Although I also find the square screws more difficult to use even though they're theoretically supposed to be easier. I've been told this is high treason.

Apparently the generic name for a Zamboni is "ice resurfacer". I don't think that means anything to anyone.

I personally prefer calling them the Spiders!

WTF??????????

L-girl said...

The translator's perspective - great!

"You can take Tylenol but not Aspirin" is far clearer than "You can take acetaminophen but not acetylsalicylic acid."

Yes, definitely.

Hoovering I think is a Britishism rather than a Canadianism,

So far everyone says this, but what to make of Peter Mansbridge and Naomi Klein??!

Anyway, my portable CD player is a CD Walkman

Not a Discman?


Hmm... I will go check.

But men - and it's always and only men - always insist on correcting me and "teaching" me the proper names of the various types of screws and making me use that terminology for the entire project. I can only conclude that your penis falls off if you fail to call them by name.

I love this woman. :)

I personally prefer calling them the Spiders!

WTF??????????


It was an old name for the Cleveland baseball team. To avoid the racist "Indians" (which has a lot to do with their hideous logo), on Joy of Sox, we've taken to calling the team The Spiders. Posts to follow.

impudent strumpet said...

Attempting to preserve the hideousness without being racist then?

L-girl said...

The Racist Logos on wmtc

and

Spiders on Joy of Sox and further thoughts on Spiders.

L-girl said...

My CD Walkman is actually just called a Walkman. It looks like this.

I know it makes me look really old, but I use it at work and at the gym, and I really love it.

L-girl said...

Attempting to preserve the hideousness without being racist then?

Oh right. The phobia. Sorry about that mental image.

M@ said...

But men - and it's always and only men - always insist on correcting me and "teaching" me the proper names of the various types of screws and making me use that terminology for the entire project. I can only conclude that your penis falls off if you fail to call them by name.

I can't speak for everyone here, but it was drummed into me at an early age. "Hand me the Robertson screwdriver -- no, the Roberts -- NO! ROBERTSON! (Mumbled profanity.)" I suspect many boys endured this approach to wood fastener education.

Electro said...

Wait, isn't Aspirin still trademarked here in Canada? And I've never heard people in Toronto at least refer to cream cheese as Philly.

David Cho said...

I am just glad that the Internet itself never got stuck with a brand name. AOL tried, and thankfully failed.

Can't think of any Internet activities that did, and that is a good thing. We email. We blog. We "google" only when we really google, not when we use other search engines.

JakeNCC said...

Drove through the South many years ago and picked right up on the coke thing. At restaurants or drive-ins if you asked for a Coke, they would respond "what kind?". You then can respond, "I'll have a Dr. Pepper" and that's a perfectly normal conversation!

Kim_in_TO said...

Lots of good points here. I hate advertising for corporations for free, but we have to think about the way words function. If I say "cotton swab" and it makes people pause before they understand what I am referring to, then word choice is impeding communication, not helping it. And I love that words like "kleenex" have become effectively neutral. Rather than steering more people toward the brand, I think the opposite happens. I think most people think of a tissue - any tissue. That's taking ownership of words. Linguistic activism!

As a native Torontonian, I can tell you that "Hoover" is not common to replace "vacuum". I have only head it used in the sense of "inhaling" - always in reference to food.

I don't know about Naomi Klein or Peter Mansbridge, but when you examine an individual's word choice, the first thing you have to look at - before assuming their usage is indicative of local dialect - is their background (neighbourhoods lived in, Parents' origins, etc.).

Fun topic!

L-girl said...

And I've never heard people in Toronto at least refer to cream cheese as Philly.

Trust me. They do. I have heard it many times.

L-girl said...

I am just glad that the Internet itself never got stuck with a brand name. AOL tried, and thankfully failed.

I thought of AOL, too. Thank goodness that left the scene.

I used to know someone who called hi-speed internet "Road Runner" because that's what Time Warner Cable called it. Yuck!

L-girl said...

To be fair to Mansbridge and Klein, both quintessentially Canadian, they probably did mean it in the "inhale" sense, as Stephanie said above, and Kim reinforced. I wasn't making the distinction - I was thinking of all of it as vacuuming. But one is literal vacuuming and the other is figurative!

I'll continue to say Q-tip and Band-Aid, but I will never say Kleenex! Never!! :)

(We buy Puffs brand. With lotion!)

M@ said...

But one is literal vacuuming and the other is figurative!

I was literally (heh) thinking that just this minute with respect to the Klein quote. For some reason, to hoover the floor galls me to no end, but to hoover up contracts seems okay.

L-girl said...

Something has been lost in this thread, or gradually morphed during the conversation.

What I'm trying to do is not use brand names even when I actually do use the brand name product. The best examples here are Q-tips and Band-Aids. I do use both of those brands, but I'd like to not call the products by the corporate name.

Those two might be impossible, because as people have pointed out, a Band-Aid is not a bandage, even though the package says "Band-Aid brand bandages", and no one is sure what a cotton swab is.

But my point is, despite the iPod actually being an iPod, and the Q-tip actually being a Q-tip, those are still corporate-created names, not the generic name of the object before the marketing department gets to it.

Unless I declare Band-Aid, Q-tip and iPod to have gone the way of the yo-yo, aspirin and trambopaline.