Update on the—Ruh-roh!

Babywhatshisname_2This is such a bummer, People. Apparently, the name-a-beluga whale contest over at Shedd aquarium will only accept Inuit/Indian names as contest entries. Last time I checked, neither "Humptyback Fishtybuns", nor "Mr. Splashy von Beluga Whalehouser", NOR "Smiley Q McWrinklesides" were of Inuit origin.

This is a total official rules McBummer, and I should have caught it. I’m sorry! Sure, we could all rally behind "Inungoark" or "Kappianartok", but that just doesn’t have the same "Fishty" ring to it.

Alert reader Lindsay S. suggests "Suppiwok"—it means " Blows air with one’s mouth"  The closest Inuit approximation of "Mr. Pbbbffth-Pbbbffth"




  1. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

    To be fair, I think Klingon is a perfectly acceptable substitute for Inuit. Or any language, for that matter.

  2. “Pbbffth” transcends language barriers.

  3. the_becca says:

    So let’s get on those inuit words, then! After doing some internet research, here’s a few I find amusing (best when said out loud) or otherwise neat:

    Anernerk (angel)
    Naark (belly)
    Siarut (button)
    Missuk (dew)
    Siku (ice)
    Nipi (voice)

  4. P.C. McNufftershorts says:

    that sounds like a Klingon or a foul-tasting stomach-settling medicine

    I know you’re dissapointed, Meg, but wow. That’s harsh.

    Personally, I gots no problem getting behind an Inuit name, especially if the alternative is Humptyback Fishtybuns. *stands ready for counter-nuffing*

  5. I was a wondering about the naming contest, I thought that they would want only certain names. Being half Inuit (Eskimo) I really would have to look in my dictonary because I do not speak my native toungue.

  6. Yeah, because those names are in no way cute to Inuits.

    What century is it?
    Referring to a language as worse than a fictional one or worse yet, similar to “foul-tasting medicine” is pretty xenophobic.

  7. Way to be racist, Meg!

  8. Uh-oh, SOMEONE is so PC they can’t take a joke. Never mind about them crybabies, Meg.
    A) are these names you mentioned Inuit at all, or just stuff you made up? Then you have any right to say they sound like whatever you like.
    B) If you have a problem with people cracking jokes about how your language sounds, try being German. Learn not to take it seriously. It’s not that hard.
    C) saying that a word in another language sound like Klingon is NOT racist. Please use dictionary for definition, dear commentator.

  9. Meg’s last name aside, I think Iluq (Frost) is a cool name. Alas, I cannot vote, not being from the US.


    Kappianartok – awful, dangerous, fearful

    Inungoark – doll

  10. Yeah.. sorry, but what Meg said was just plain offensive. And I’m wondering if she’s ever even heard Inuit. My jaw dropped when I read that post.

  11. Offensive? This is cute overload, people. If words (from any language) aren’t cute, why is that offensive?

  12. Meg, that comment is INCREDIBLY racist. Cute doesn’t excuse racism like that, especially towards groups who suffer from discrimination so severely as the Inuit.

    By the way, “Inuit” is plural. There’s no such word as “Inuits”.

  13. Anyone wanting to hear what Inuit sounds like (it’s melodic and not at all like “Klingon”) try here:

  14. At least Greenpeace is all for cute whale names. http://vote.greenpeace.org/11/12/results. Vote for Mister Splashy Pants!!

  15. I agree with Lacey: if someone claims that words (from ANY language) sound to him/her like klingon or like stomach medicine (or like anything else!), it is in no way a statement about the culture or the race that speaks that language.

  16. How about ‘Apun’? It means ‘snow’ in Inuit, according to an online translator I found. It’s short and appropriate for a Beluga.
    Another word i found was ‘Apiruq’ which means ‘snow covered’. How about that?

  17. I was really looking forward to a write in vote for:

    Senor Chubby-Pants.

    This sucks. I don’t know how to say: Senor Chubby-Pants in Inuit.

  18. For all those of you screaming “RACIST”, here’s a fact.

    “Chrysanthemum”, “Excellence”, “Victory” etc. are words from the ENGLISH language. And they’re NOT “cute” either. They’d sound better on a sleek, gorgeous racehorse – not on a chubby little beluga! (And would you name a racehorse “Pookiepants”?!)

    If you ask people from ANY culture in the world, including Inuits, to choose words that sound like baby-talk (which is generally the kind of language used on Cute Overload) I’ll give it to you in writing – they’ll ALL sound THE SAME. All humans, irrespective of race or culture, make the same kinds of sounds when they are infants, which are simple words heavy on the vowels – Dada”, “Gaga”, etc.

  19. Please, folks, let’s not get all crazy about a comment obviously made out of disappointment and a desire to be humorous.

    After all, we wouldn’t even have a place to discover cute Inuit-named babehs if not for dear Meg.

    I say Iluq (Frost)!!

  20. Oh, and I completely forgot…

    *tickles behbeh beluga belleh*

  21. ‘Apiruq’ is beautiful! More so the more I think about it.

    As for the commentroversy, I think gail has it right. Give Meg a break, and maybe a hug. What she said in a moment of disappointment/embarassment should not be taken as her official position.

  22. Kunwaktok means ‘smiles’ …

    it can also mean Momma Whale can spank Bubba Whale’s tocks if he drifts out of line …

    and when he’s grown, Bubba can kick ass in any ocean he wants to …

  23. I really like Kunwaktok, partly because it means “smiles” which other people suggested before, but also because of the ‘tock reference. 🙂

    Cute or not, I think regardless of Inuit or English, the name would fare best in an American aquarium if Americans (including American children) can pronounce it properly – which makes both “Mr. Splashy von Beluga Whalehouser” AND “Inungoark” pretty much inappropriate.

  24. Yay for using the proper term – “Inuit” – and not “Eskimo” but a giant boo for dismissing another culture’s language so flippantly.

  25. Moon = “taqqiq” (and/or “tatkret”?)
    Ivory = “Inuktitut”
    Cute = “silatuyok”

    (I think…)

    Taqqiq gets my vote.

  26. Pengraffe says:

    Having carefully read Meg’s comment, she doesn’t say the entire Inuit language sounds like Klingon, she says one word “Kappianartok” sounds like A Klingon (name). Frankly, I agree with her. It isn’t a cute word (even in Inuit). Personally, I like “Siku” because even school children could pronounce it, and it sounds super cute.

  27. Further research reveals – “tuugaak” means ivory?

  28. One summer we were travelling up the St. Lawrence, north of Quebec, and it was near Tadoussac, I believe, where we saw dozens of beluga in the sea. They were all over the place.

  29. i still say “Squee” is onomatopoeical and therefore correct in any language

    and just what is i-knew-it for “beluga whale”, anyway?

  30. Wow, that’s a commentroversy I did *not* see coming. (Not sarcasm.) I’m usually so good at guessing what’s gonna freak people out. Do I lose money or something?

    Also, there *has* to be some Inuit equivalent for ‘Fishtybuns.’ Anyone? If scholars can come up with Anglo-Saxon translations of ‘inkjet printer,’ this should be cake.

    [Wait, what?? Who did? What was it?! – Ed.]

  31. Ah, well. It’s probably more appropriate that this little beluga (who’s certainly chubby and cute now) will not grow up to be a beautiful, majestic whale named Snorglypookiekins.

    I like Kunwaktok, Siku and Iluq!

  32. Does the name “Humptyback Fishtybuns” remind anybody else of Eddie Izzard, or is it just me?

    Too bad about the Inuit name thing, ’cause that’s a pretty good name 🙂

  33. I think at the very most, the comments about the Inuit language were mean. It’s not racist to say a word sounds guttural, therefore unpleasant. She didn’t make a comment about Inuit people. Don’t overreact.

    I think Inuit names are good too. It’ll promote a language that’s slowly dying out, because fewer and fewer people are learning to speak it. I’m partial to Ipiktok.

  34. I go for the Inuit version of “frost,” as a nod to Meg.

  35. Nariya – LOL! When animals are this cute one tends to forget that they’ll grow up someday…

    OMG you’re right! What would that baby beluga be thinking 15 years from now if we had our way with “cute” names…

    “Who the hell named me POOKY McSQUEEPANTS?! Pffffthbbbth!!!”

  36. Oh, please, all of you with your faux-fended selves, always looking for the negative. We are here on this site for the positive, the silly, the relief from all that. And, really, does it matter what this poor beautiful captive creature gets named?

  37. I hate to spread the nuffage war, but how many people on here who thought it racist for Meg to say such things have ever thought, “Wow, German sounds so harsh!” I have, and I’m learning the language. Since I started all I’ve heard was how the language is literally unromantic (not just linguistically). For that matter, every American I have EVER met (and I live here! And in a PC area, too!) has made a Canadian joke. And some of those are FAR worse than an embarrassed joke about another language.

    That said, I grew up hearing Inuit tales. I’m a deviant–I suggest Qallupilluq 🙂


  38. Humptyback Fishtybuns is actually Anashnabe for “redonkulous.”

  39. on the bright side, “Kappianartok” does end in “tok”. just throw in an apostrophe and a “c”, make it plural…

    Kappianar’tocks! — dangerous ‘tocks (sort of)

    anyway, yeah, i didn’t see this commentroversey coming either. guess some folks are just looking for reasons to be offended. heaven forfend anyone should describe how a word sounds to them.

  40. While we don’t know her personally, we know her from her work. I think we can safely bet that Meg’s not an Inuit-harpooning racist. So those of you hurling those sorts of accusations are way off base.

    That said, the knee-jerk defenders are missing a major point: Good people do make mistakes, and could do better, and sometimes “can’t you take a joke” is neither accurate (what’s the joke, again?) nor the best response to such an error.

    I don’t want to get into parsing the post (did she say no Inuit words could be cute, or that only these two particular ones, presumably cherry-picked for their apparently non-cuteness to the non-Inuit ear, are not cute?), but in the cold light of day the overall implication seems to be that Inuit is an ugly-sounding language.

    Meg could have made the announcement in a more sensitive way. I’m a big sappy fan of hers; this site is the one of the only source of warmth for my crusty iron heart; but the post definitely made my no-she-DINT-o-meter wiggle a bit.

    I’m most impressed by the_becca, who actually tried to find words that a more general non-Inuit-speaking audience would find cute. Come on: “Anernerk”? That’s aner-able.

    In light of the possibilities, frankly, those “Squishy McIdioterkins”-type names seem a bit thin. Can you really imagine saddling a noble creature with a name like that?

    “Yes, my son. The whites came and took the best harbors, and drove away the elk, and gave our people alcohol and high-fructose corn syrup and syphilis. And then when it seemed like nothing could get worse, they started giving the whales really stupid names.”


  41. How about Agloolik?

    It’s the name of the “good spirit that lived under the ice & helped with hunting and fishing.” And it’s pretty darn anerable.

    Snagged from here: http://lowchensaustralia.com/names/eskimonames.htm

  42. Yes, the lack of ability to select “”Mr. Splashy von Beluga Whalehouser” is a terrible disappointment.

    However, Greenpeace is having a contest to name some of the whales being tracks as part of a study of humpback whale migration. AND one of the candidate names is “Mr. Splashypants”!

    So go here
    and vote like a baby humback whale!

  43. i love frost 🙂 it’s cute for a baby whale and yet still appropriate for an adult

  44. I just wanted to mention that, while when spoken by the Inuit, their language is beautiful – I love to listen to it, but if spoken by Americans (no offence, but seriously, folks) those words would sound like what Meg described.

  45. I agree a little with Meg. The zoos are maybe a little too PC with these names. God forbid we call an animal Eddie.

  46. I think it would be better if people who are genuinely wounded and offended by Meg’s actions (which are OMG SO HORRIBLE apparently) brought them to *her* attention rather than ours.

    Teho, as icky as that may sound, is there some way to make that real? A special e-mail addy or private comment box? I think she’d be more likely to take things as they come than any of us. That way at least we’d be able to tell the difference between people who really want to see something changed and people who just want to spout off (no whale-pun intended).

  47. (And for the record, I do think a few people need to look up ‘racist’ in the OED before they’re allowed near a keyboard — that goes for everywhere, not just CO.)

  48. I am amazed that people are so oversensitive and read things into statements that obviously aren’t there. No way was that racist. Two words that are difficult to pronounce for English speakers, nor do Meg’s comparisons constitute a racist attitude. Geez!

    Being a Texan with a drawl, I hear all sorts of jokes about the culture of the south, the way words are pronounced, the way some are rumored to marry first cousins, live in trailers, have little education, etc. Racist? No! Any part of any culture can have lighthearted jokes made about it without it being demeaning. Meg didn’t go there. She didn’t criticize the Inuit race/culture.

    I agree wholeheartedly that the names must be short and must have easy to recogize pronunciation if you want to teach American schoolchildren (and adults for that matter) about Inuit culture and further their interest in it.

    I like Christa’s suggestion, Agloolik, because it is short, easy to pronounce and it has some Inuit lore attached to it that makes me want to Google it for more info.

  49. Fine. FINE! Humpynok Fishtynaark.

  50. Aw, man I was hoping for “Humptyback Fishtybuns”! My day is shot now.

  51. GreedySkunk says:

    Hee, hee, Eris. Yeah, I saw Humptyback Fishtybuns and *immediately* thought of Eddie Izzard. Maybe we can just call him Jerry Dorsey?

  52. I can get behind most of these Inuit names, especially Anernerk (angel).

  53. Kara, I don’t think Meg would thank you for suggesting that everybody with a bone to pick should flood her emailbox. That’s time better spent reviewing submissions for the next post of surpassing cuteness.

    Besides, expressing an opinion or offering feedback is what the comments are *for*.

  54. Well, there’s always Silatuyok (Inuit for Cute) Issudlerk (Extreme – reasonable substitution for Overload).

    That would make it:
    “Silatuyok Issudlerk” (or the other way around, if it works like Spanish where the modifier goes before the object – someone who speaks Inuit, help me out here!)

    C’mon! Let’s rally around “Silatuyok Issudlerk”!

  55. To all the nuffers. Good Lord People! I am sooo rolling my eyes. Let’s just say that Meg does think that Inuit is harsh sounding WHO CARES! She didn’t say she didn’t like Inuit people! I speak English and don’t particulary thing its sounds all that great sometimes. Geesh!

  56. No, sorry, guys. Meg’s comment was an innocent and flippant observation. I myself love the way Inuktitut sounds, but honestly… some people are offended by anything.

  57. Anne Boleyn says:

    I say we call him whatever we like, forget the contest, and keep loving Meg and the joy she brings us.
    NUFF OFF PEOPLE! If you don’t need or like CUTE, then go back to your planet and leave us to ours where we try to behave in a way that makes people happy and, when we screw up, we forgive each other.

  58. I vote for Iluk (Frost) or Siku (Ice)as a second choice

  59. Smiley Q Wrinklesides is officially what I’m naming my next cat… the poor thing.

    P.S. I wish you nuffers would go away… or learn to take a joke.

  60. Karen Thompson says:

    How about
    Saaxara idigaku hati

    Which roughly translates to

    sweet lips

    which he definitely has

  61. seriously, though.
    Anernerk really good.

  62. I’d definitely go for Kunwaktok, since it means smile and we could call him ‘tok’.

  63. Ooooo I vote for Kunwaktok!! Just seeing it written makes me grin 😀

  64. I was so hoping for Beluga Lugosi.

  65. Since I missed this over the weekend, I was going to add:

    B. Louie A-oooo-ga

    or how about,just

    Anyway, let’s get serious. I like “Ipiktok” (ends in tok) from the aquarium site,
    how bout:

    Serdlerk Anernerk (Little Angel who is annerable), or

    Karpok Nutaralak (hungry baby) (Nut for short, hehe), or

    Mingulertok (Mist, with toks)

  66. Oh come off it, people. If I could have a penny for every time I heard that my {Russian} language is “ugly” and “graceless” I’d retire pretty damn soon. We don’t like sounds we can’t pronounce, end of story, hokay?

    WIN for Silatuyok Issudlerk!

    PS. Kara – I think we both win the “wow, people are taking the world seriously! ha!” prize.

  67. Theo, is someone going to call the aquarium so they can see all of our entries?
    EVERYONE, go to the site and enter your choice (Anernerk)!!

  68. charliewabba says:

    Silatuyok Issudlerk!
    Silatuyok Issudlerk!
    Silatuyok Issudlerk!

  69. Hey Meg – You might want to try using some smarts, and not make fun of a culture’s names. Also, Inuit is a type of Native American (or Indian), so it’s not “Inuit/Indian.” You appear ill-informed at best, a bigot at worst.

  70. I am super happy that you even wanted to name him with a pastiche nod to Eddie Izzard, Meg. It makes me happy to hear that others love Mr Izzard!

  71. Marvin, get lost.

  72. I like “Suppiwok,” though as a biologist (and pedant) I have to point out that technically the blowhole is an evolutionarily modified nostril, rather than a mouth. What is Inuit for “blows air with one’s nose”?

  73. I went to bed sad last night after reading Meg’s post about the no-go of Humptyback Fishtybuns…I come to work this morning and see a huge commentroversy!?

    What I have to say: I LOF MEG and I for one welcome our Cute Overlord Meg (and her Chief Minion Teho)

  74. I think a lot of this “it’s not racist how dare you say it’s racist what about what people say about German” backlash in the commentroversy comes from the idea that people are supposed to be “PC” and this means “never say anything offensive ever or we’ll string you up by your toes.”

    To quote Judith Martin, AKA Miss Manners: “The people who label it political correctness are always talking about ridiculous exaggerations where somebody took insult where no insult was intended. And so when they attack political correctness they find themselves in the peculiar position of defending outright bigotry, which I do not care to defend.”

    I know Meg doesn’t think bigotry is cute – so there’s no need for anyone to get defensive. Nobody’s getting strung up by their toes here – the proper response to “your remark has a bad/weird connotation in light of the history of the subject” is “hunh, I hadn’t thought of that, okay” followed by an apology if warranted. It’s not that hard and makes the world a easier place. I’ll leave it to the reader to google up why it is apt to use a little sensitivity when discussing indigenous languages.

    Also, I think Agloolik is the cutest name. Say it aloud, it feels like you’re cooing.

  75. Momof2kitties says:

    Euff with the nuffs, peeps! She clearly did NOT mean to offend. Geez… Let’s all put the pudding away now, ‘k?

    I renew my vote for the Kunwaktok one.

    And give it a rest. You’re harshing my qte.

  76. The link offered by the news story meg linked to has some cute choices:

    Tomkin (means “home of the spirits,” but sounds like a Beatrix Potter character)
    Tuwawi (“quick!)
    Silatuyok doesn’t sound especially cute, but *means* cute
    Anernerk, “angel”

  77. Why are people getting all bent out of shape (Marvin). Did you even read the post? I didn’t hear Meg making fun of any names. I believe the exact sentence was “Sure, we could all rally behind “Inungoark” or “Kappianartok”, but that just doesn’t have the same “Fishty” ring to it.”
    And I checked the official rules which said: “Whale Name must be of Inuit Indian origin” that is the wording of the aquarium’s official rules, not Meg’s. Geesh.
    I personally like:
    Aput (Ah-poot) Snow on ground OR Mituk (Mee-took): Small snow layer on fishing hole

  78. Whoa! [pulling car over]

    I did not set out to offend any culture with my post on the whale naming. My intention was to say “Fishty McWrinklsides” is so silly and funny, and I liked the creative and hilarious names you all came up with. I wish this important rule (only Inuit names would be considered in the contest) was included on the contest page.

    Still, the post wording has been updated to reduce confusion.

    Lastly, to Marvin, the contest site uses the the term ‘Inuit Indian’, which is why I considered it OK.


    p.s. I still like ‘Eddie’ but I can get behind ‘Suppiwok’ 😉

  79. CP – right on in your original post.

    Insensitive, yeah.
    Racist – I’ve seen and heard some seriously racist stuff, and I don’t think that was it.

    Kids are masters of learning new languages; I don’t think we need to simplify the names in order to keep them interested. Judging from *some* of these posts, it’s adults that could use a shot of cultural competence….

    Lastly, I BOOOOO the idea of a separate area for commentroversy (right on to Jaye too). if the controversial comment is posted publicly, the same should go for people’s responses to it. If you don’t like it, go back and look at the pretty pictures. You don’t have to read all 200 comments.

    and P.S. I like Kunwaktok, although Beluga Lugosi seriously made me lol.

  80. And for the record – this site is awesome. i’m not going to hold any grudges. 🙂

  81. I personally winced at Meg’s comments about Klingon and Inuit, though it really seemed as if she didn’t mean to offend anyone. Humour walks the line of offensiveness and in that case I think the line was crossed. Anyone who reads closely can see the implication that Inuit is barbarous. Jokes about Canadians, Americans, Germans are just as bad.

    I don’t mean to criticise, just to say, some people could get hurt. You know… _people_ have soft underbellies too!! They get all sensitive about words, just like the Beluga might not be too happy to grow up with a name like “Mr. Fancy WhoopeePants”!

  82. Here are some suggestions. It’s quite a lot but I have more, and some ruled out for being hard to say. I got them from a pet-naming site and they’re all inuit words!

    Hey= winter

    Kesuk= water, sky

    Amak= tag (play)

    Anana= beautiful

    Silatuyok= cute, intelligent

    Sakari= sweet

    Suka= fast

    Takubvik= apple of the eye

  83. Sorry, forgot:


  84. Silatuyok Issudlerk!
    Though I’ve been sitting here enjoying saying “Iluq” over and over…
    It kinda feels like saying “Hedgehog hugs” repeatedly.

    I have a friend, who as a kid, (of German decent) relied on swearing in German: “To English speakers it ALL sounds like swearing anyway…” Which worked fine, till the family moved to Milwaukee Wisconsin…

  85. I don’t care if it doesn’t fit within the contest rules, he should be named “Humptyback Fishtybuns”.

  86. anthrolady says:

    Which Inuit language are they going for, anyway?

    I like Iluk — it’s cute now, but it won’t embarrass him when he’s older and sending out his resume or magestically patrolling the seas or whatever. Best of both worlds.

  87. I’m still voting for Kunwaktok – smiles and ‘tocks, and can be pronounced by people with language-anxiety.

    I also agree that people are getting overly hot about what was clearly intended as a humorous comment from a disappointed Meg. Lighten up, folks. Life is more fun if you roll with it.

  88. 1. Please lay off Meg, people. I am sure that she did not intend to offend anyone. Your displeasure was made known. Now drop it.

    2. I want Humptyback Fishtybuns too! Or, failing that, Jerry Dorsey. Yes, I am an Eddie Izzard fan too. 🙂

    Play nice, live longer!

  89. Copied and pasted from Official rules…

    “PRELIMINARY INFORMATION: No purchase necessary. Void outside the WMAQ terrestrial geographic viewing area and where prohibited.

    ELIGIBILITY: Open only to permanent, legal U.S. residents who are located and residing in the WMAQ terrestrial geographic viewing area in the counties of Cook, De Kalb, Du Page, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, La Salle, McHenry, and Will in the state of Illinois and Jasper, Lake, La Porte, Newton, and Porter in the state of Indiana, and who are thirteen (13) or older as of November 29, 2007.”

    Now, THAT’S the “total official rules McBummer,” cuteoverload: Voting and realizing your vote does not count >.<

  90. WHAA?? I am in Indianapolis and my vote doesn’t count? I drive up to Chicago for day trips all teh time!! Booooo on Shedd for restricting us.

  91. re: contest rules


    I’m still calling him “Humptyback Fishtybuns”, no matter what the contest people say.

  92. AuntieMame says:

    I’ll bet if you eliminated all of the “STFU you &%$# *&#$@, how dare you express your opinion!!1!” posts, there would be no controversy…

    That being said, I’m not sure why we can’t just agree to choose an Inuit name, rather than a cutesy-wutesy name. There have been several cute Inuit names suggested.

    I’m partial to Anernerk, myself.

  93. I agree Eris. He will always be “Humptyback Fishtybuns” in honor of the great Eddie Izzard in my book too!!!

  94. i’ve seen eddie izzard before, but a long time ago. will someone please tell me what to rent to get up to date with all this humptyback fishtybuns nonsense!?

  95. Anernerk! Okay, “WMAQ terrestrial geographic viewing area” residents, it’s in your hands now.

    He can still be Fishtybuns in our hearts. Those of us in the D.C. area will always think Tai Shan is a nice name, but we know our panda’s name is Butterstick!

  96. Well you will be pleased to know that the Greenpeace’name a whale’ competition has a clear leader who looks like it is going to win:
    Mr. Splashypants


  97. Dear ashagato,

    From Dressed to Kill:

    His name changed from Jerry Dorsey to Englbert Humperdink! I mean, I’d just like to be in the room when they were working that one through: “Zinglebert Bambledack! Yingeebert Dangleban! Zanglebert Dingleback! Winglebert Humptiback! Slut Bunwallah!” “What?” “All right, Kringlebert Fishtibuns! Steveibuns Buttrentrunden …” “No, Jerry Dorsey! I like–” “No, we can’t … let’s see, we have Zinglebert Bambledack, Dinglebert Wangledack, Slut Bunwallah, Klingibum Fistlbars, Dinglebert Zambeldack, uh … Jerry Dorsey, Englerbert Humptiback, Zinglebert Bambledack, Engelbert Humperdinck, Dinglebert Wingledank …” “No, no, go back one!”

  98. is what Inuit sounds like when not stretched out in a carol. It’s not the most pretty language, really no offense.

  99. thanks, Knuckles, I just voted for Mister Splashy Pants !

    (are those broken knuckles or brass?)

  100. berthaslave says:

    Sometimes we have the best of intentions, particularly when making a joke, and we don’t realize that some people might be offended. Some people might not be. It’s perfectly acceptable for people to state if they think something is offensive; no one called for Meg’s head, no one threatened to boycott or leave the cite, no one insisted that she remove her own comment. People aren’t being too “PC,” they are expressing themselves and their opinions, which we are allowed to do (to some extent) here by Meg and Theo.

    I didn’t read the original post, but it would have struck me as insensitive at the least, particularly since we are only seeing the language as it is written not as it is spoken. Russian and German, for example, are beautiful, beautiful languages — German is the language of opera, after all. But they are so often mis-spoken by Americans trying to learn the language, and of course for generations Germans and Russians have been “bad guys” in films. I’ve never heard spoken Inuit, so that’s why Meg’s comment seemed insensitive and ill-advised. Do I personally consider it racist? No, but I can see how others might feel that way.

    Meg, I think it’s awesome that you acknowledged that you meant no harm and pulled the comment. Hopefully we’ll all have the same sense when we (inevitably) find ourselves in similar situations where the ambiguity of language, the imprecise science of how we name things and hear things, bites us in the ‘tocks and forces us to clarify our intentions and think a bit more carefully about the way we use words.

    I don’t care what the damn whale is named. What am I gonna write it a letter or something?

  101. anonnymouse says:

    what’s the Inuit word for:

    “whale hunters”

    that’s a good name I bet.

    WTH is up with that contest?

  102. I agree with you berthaslave, but there was some pretty ugly name-calling back there. Seems like there are nicer ways to say “gee, maybe that comment could be hurtful to some people” than to call Meg racist or a bigot.

  103. Snorgle Pup says:

    Just saying “Kunwaktok” makes me smile.
    Go ahead, everybody try smiling.
    Alll better now….

  104. Now what we need to do is decide on a nice Inuit word and then buy airtime in that area — ads during the late night shows that the college kids watch (them being the most internet-savvy).

    “Name the whale! Vote for (whatever)!”

  105. BTW, does anyone else remember the Irish Rovers’ song:

    There were green alligators and long-necked geese,
    Some humpty back camels and some chimpanzees,
    Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born,
    The loveliest of them all was the unicorn.

    It’s been earworming me since the first mention of Humptyback Fishtybuns.

  106. Piqaluyak: meaning
    “glacial ice with shades of blue”

    Peek or Yakkie for short!

    And jeez, people, turn down the amperage on your offensisensitivity meter. For shame! Go eat some chocolate and hug a human.
    Cute animal, cute contest, cute language, cute name: ’nuff said.

  107. Hi.. I hate to swim against the very STRONG tide, but… does the idea of naming a beautiful whale “Mr. Splashy Pants” rankle in anyone else’s mind?

    Surely there are prettier options. Paikea, for instance.

  108. Still voting Kunwaktok (or would, if they let Canadians vote)

    CP – You win teh internets!

    “Yes, my son. The whites came and took the best harbors, and drove away the elk, and gave our people alcohol and high-fructose corn syrup and syphilis. And then when it seemed like nothing could get worse, they started giving the whales really stupid names.”

  109. I am half Inupiaq and I take offense to the klingon comments (it doesn’t deserve a capital today). The feelings that are being hurt are the ones that matter – to all the people that are telling me to ‘toughen up’ : you’re just adding salt to the wound. How hypocritical – to claim to be PC by ignoring the feelings of those hurt.

    Many of the names suggested here look like the spelling is incorrect. There are a few English alphabet letters that aren’t used in Inuktitut/Inupiaq … the problem is that if you don’t have the right font then a different letter will be substituted. And Inuktitut doesn’t mean “ivory” (or whatever), it means ‘language of the people’. More evidence that online ‘dictionaries’ can’t be trusted. Ask an Inupiaq, “real person”.

    My name suggestion sounds like “Ah-tie”, which means ‘cute’. The words that I know from childhood come from the Nome-area dialect. There is another word that comes to mind that means ‘mischevious little kid’ but I don’t feel like sharing it today.

  110. re: Sunday, your comment about the DC panda named TaiShan…

    I think Butterstick is fantastically cute, and the name “TaiShan” is ugly. I’m ethnically Chinese (immigrant parents) so it’s not racist if I’m saying something about my own culture (intended irony). When it comes down to it, naming an animal with a word in a different language is a device more for the benefit of the Americans. These “foreign” names are being chosen so Americans can feel warm and fuzzy and “culturally aware,” and they’re being chosen because the perceived sound or meaning is pleasing to American ears.

    When you don’t speak a particular language, you don’t have the knowledge of the linguistical context to intuitively know what is a “good-sounding” name and what sorts of words are appropriate names. “Tai Shan” was a name picked to please American sensibilities, as no Chinese person would ever name a pet that. (of course, most Chinese pandas aren’t even named at all, but just given a number, unless it’s going to be used as a publicity cutesy kid display. This is different from names that keepers may personally give the pandas) When I taught English in China for a year, I met plenty of students with bizarre English names that they picked because they thought the meaning or sound was “cool.” These were names that would puzzle most Americans, and *may* seem quirky and cool to us, but still aren’t “real” American names: Freezer (female), Fish (male), Satan (male), Berry (male).

    I know this is a bit cynical, and sure giving a foreign name is “honoring” that culture etc. etc…but really, it seems more like a silly human flourish to me. It’s just an “official name” that many people may not use anyway, just like Taishan will always be Butterstick to some people.

    Sorry for the long post! Disappointed at the lack of any tasty puddin’ here though

  111. I like most of the names but since it’s a name and not a word we’re picking out we might want to go easy on the english speaking tongues. I like Eddie Izzard too! And Meg might have made a parallell to the notion of “the wild, crude and unintelligent savage” that klingons in part represent but I’m sure she didn’t mean that this describes inuits. She probably just made a funny comment playing with the thought that is obviously ridiculous. So a kind reminder that it can be misenterpered is all that is called for.

  112. equus- I completely agree with you, I’m kind of wincing over here.

  113. berthaslave says:

    Thanks to Demarus and Estella for weighing in….as a dominant culture, we (Americans) have a history of appropriating words/ideas/cultural practices from other cultures. Though our intention may be to honor/remember — say, for example, by naming your local sports team or school mascot after a native peoples — we often do so in a manner that is more offensive than we intend. We shouldn’t be raked over the coals for it in a forum such as this, but when it happens, we should understand the other cultures’ sensitivities and do our best to learn.

    BTW, Berry Gordy is a very famous male “Berry.”

  114. Demarus-

    You come to call people racist, then define Inupiaq as ‘real person’. Pot, meet kettle.

  115. I am surprised that no one has yet suggested a Klingon name, just to keep things fair. Thus, I suggest “nuqDaq yuch Dapol” which means “Where do you keep the chocolate?” according to the online Klingon dictionary.

  116. J – I didn’t call anyone racist. The Inupiaq language translates “Inupiaq” as “real preson” or “traditional person” as a way to clarify that the entity being talked about is a human instead of a spirit, ghost, or animal in human form. I’m sorry you were so ignorant about our culture – thanks for jumping to conclusions!

  117. HEY! I live in the terrestrial area of WMAQ! I can vote for all of us, if we can come to some conclusion!!!!!!!!!

    Are we sure Squ-ishmael couldn’t in ANY WAY be Inuit? Ah well.

  118. nicole and others who don’t understand all the racist talk – Meg has since edited her original post in which she made some very ignorant statements.

  119. Oh dry UP, Lucy. I know this is the internet where EVERYTHING is a Big F****** Deal, but it wasn’t near as bad as you’re are implying (not to mention a number of other folks).

    Her description of some Inuit names could have been construed as insulting to the SOUND of the language, in the context of this blog, where we’re more accustomed to American Snorglish… which is not exactly the world’s most graceful dialect either, by the way. Even *I* will say that, and I’m the Glossary guy.

    It was an honest mistake. I politely pointed it out to her. She softened her tone. It was the right thing to do. And now, it’s OVER, and so is my politeness.

  120. Demarus — just to be clear, my last comment wasn’t directed at you. You sound rational and earnest to me.

  121. I live in the Chicagoland area and my vote will count. I have many friends and family in the area as well that I can have go to the site and vote for the name that we collectively choose. However, to do that, we need to choose a name. My vote is for Iluq which means frost according to the online site that the contest directs you to for inspiration. Since Frost is Meg’s last name and since she has been responsible for bringing smiles and laughter to all of us for years now, I think we should do her the honor and have this beluga named Iluq. Please remember that Meg is only human and humans make mistakes. She corrected her post to take out the things that were deemed offensive by some of you. Since I did not log on today in time to see the original post, I have no comment to make regarding that matter. I do however what to remind some of you that one day Meg and her team could get so fed up with all the crap that they completely shut down the site. The comment section would be the first to go, but then people would just start emailing her to tell her of her wrong doings. At some point, enough would be enough and she would just end it. Remember this is a woman who has given us all a place to come when we need to decompress and take some time to let our hearts be happy again. Please think about what your life would be like if there was no Cute Overload before you make your hurtful comments. Haven’t you ever heard the phrase “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” No one is forcing you to come to this site to look at the pictures, if you can’t enjoy it for what it is supposed to be, then maybe you shouldn’t stop by anymore.

  122. Comments closed!