Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's called Yahoo for a reason

Full disclosure: I've had a Yahoo! account for well over 10 years.

Yahoo got its start as "David and Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web" only to be later renamed as Yahoo! by its creators, Jerry Yang and David Filo, a couple of Stanford grad students.  While  "Yahoo" was backronymed to stand for "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle," Yang and Filo admitted they were drawn to the earlier meaning of the word, coined by Jonathan Swift.

In his satiric novel Gulliver's Travels, Swift describes a race called "Yahoos" as savage and filthy, obsessed with "pretty stones." The term has come to mean a crude, thuggish uncultured yokel.

Want an example? 

You need look no further than any random sampling of reader comments from pretty much any news story posted on the Yahoo portal, especially something like this weekend's shooting of a Member of Congress. The level of discourse to be found makes schoolyard brawling look statesman-like.

It's truly depressing to try and follow the threads on these...It's as if every mouth-breathing, cousin-fornicating clay-eater in America has surfaced from their subterranean lairs to spew paranoia, hate and raw sewage.

The worst of it? Even the points of view I might normally lean towards are wrapped in such puerile ignorance I just want to look away.

Yahoo - truly the least common denominator.

God help us all.

1 comment:

Dan Brekke said...

You know, the San Francisco Chronicle's site, SFGate.com, is also well known for virulent lunkheadedness. It seems to feed on itself.