Saturday, January 17, 2009

*What* kind of strike is this...?

OK, I know I should be all excited and grateful that nobody got hurt in this little airplane snafu, but I can't help it--I've gotta be snarky and comment on this news site's choice of phrasing. I get that the plane struck a flock of birds, but the way this is written makes me think there was a line of picketing birds in front of the airplane, holding up signs and making lots of noise. I mean, bird strike? Is that like a writers' strike, or what?

13 comments:

mama grammarphile said...

I would have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. I don't see anything wrong with the terminology "bird strike" in this case. That being said, your entry conjured up a mental picture for me of birds carrying little placards and marching in unison, which made me giggle.

mighty red pen said...

The term struck me as curious, too, but I gather it's not specific to the news site you're pointing to, but is actually a known term for this sort of thing. I know Wikipedia isn't the be-all end-all source, but it gives the general idea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird_strike
They mention another curious term: "BASH" or bird aicraft strike hazard. How, er, poetic.

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

Yeah, while I couldn't find anything that said the term "bird strike" was technically *wrong*, I also knew it didn't sound quite right. I've noticed several news outlets are using this term (which really does make me cringe or giggle, depending on my mood), but amazingly, the publication I work for was not among them. Given its history of publishing awkward writing, this was quite surprising. (Hell, even Perez Hilton managed to write a not-too-awkward piece on this issue and refrained from using the term "bird strike".) So while there's nothing wrong with that term (except how funny it sounds), and it may very well be a completely acceptable term to use in this instance, I applaud the publications whose writers/editors found a less awkward way to communicate this idea.

Peter said...

Maybe you're thinking of the wrong kind of strike. This is more like bowling. The pilot gets a strike when he knocks down all the birds.
But the phrase "double bird strike" gets in the way of that theory. When birds take out both engines it should be a strike. Just one engine should be called a "bird spare."

Carlos said...

When I read the article I thought you were gonna get 'em for not hyphenating "bird strike." Then I red your post and about peed myself.

Thanks for the laugh!

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

You're quite welcome, Carlos. :) Hope you're having a great weekend!

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

Haha! Peter, that idea just cracks me up! :) I guess if the pilot misses one bird, he gets a spare...and so does that bird (spared, spare...close enough)!

desikitteh said...

they're protesting against flying metal in their airspace. ;o)

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

Haha! Yeah, if those geese were protesting anything there, it would make sense that that's what they'd protest! :)

John said...

At this point I'm just happy PETA hasn't thought of suing US Airways.

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

I think they're less concerned with suing than they are about making up a stupid name and a silly campaign. I can see it now--they'll want people to start, like, respecting birds more and not flying planes into them, but PETA won't call them birds. They'll call them "air puppies" or "sky bunnies" or something else equally ridiculous.

Dave said...

A bird strike can be thought of as similar to other organized labor strikes and the like. However in the case of a bird strike, there are a lot more feathers and A LOT more sh*tting. One could even say there is a certain 'pecking order' to the whole business....

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

Pecking order! Haha. I love it! :)