On Sep 25, 2004, at 1:28 AM, Michael Snow wrote:
Jens Ropers wrote:
If it acts like napalm but just happens to
different chemicals, ''plus added oxidisers'', then of course it's
''totally irresponsible'' to call the substance napalm.
Jayzuz, that would be like--like calling a land rover a jeep! Or
calling a whirlpool a jacuzzi!! Or--gasp--calling photocopying
xeroxing!!! How TOTALLY inaccurate!!!!
Actually, from the perspective of the owners of those respective
trademarks (Jeep, Jacuzzi, and Xerox) it would be totally inaccurate
and irresponsible. You may not personally care about such things, but
they would go to a great deal of effort to discourage people from
using those terms incorrectly.
Wittingly or not, the elements of your analogy have a significant
point in common, which is that these are all trademarks in danger of
genericide (fortunately, a much less violent demise than those you
have been arguing about). Interestingly enough, I discovered that our
article on napalm states that it too is a trademark, belonging in this
case to Dow Chemical. However, my initial research was unable to
verify this claim. Does anybody have a source that could back this up?
I rather wonder whether napalm as a trademark might already have gone
generic, given how many people use it to mean any gasoline-based
military incendiary device, as shown by this discussion.
Instead of flaming each other from divergent points of view, perhaps
we could redirect our focus to getting facts correct in our articles.
Urban legend (currently in some wiki articles) Napalm is not a
trademark. Napalm-B was used in Vietnam, and the word is now "a generic
term for jellied gasoline". That is gasoline stablized by use of
And genericide isn't a crime, the accepted definition removes trademark
status when a word enters common use. Companies discourage use of
trademarked words as regular words, not because it is against the law,
but because it is not against the law.