Thursday, April 26, 2012

The "Kindle Fire" Should Be Kept Away From Books.

A few comments on the Kindle, Fire or otherwise.

1. It seems odd, does it not, that a book-replacing piece of technology should have a name that would strike fear into the binding of the most stoutly-bound volume? You would think they would want to minimize, rather than maximize, the misobiblistic overtones of their nomenclature. I would like to suggest to anyone with aspirations of an e-book nature, that they should call their product the Tolle Lege. Latin evokes mystery, ritual, and antiquity, which are all things associated with books. The name I suggest also has the two following advantages:
a) It avoids any possible application to the destruction of books.
b) It is a quote from a book, namely Book VIII of St. Augustine's Confessions.
Even if Kindle Fire better indulges Amazon's prehistoric and Promethean fantasies, it also accords well with their rather violent name. One can imagine the Amazons coming upon a library and their chief ordering exactly what their product recommends: "Kindle Fire!"

2. A less antagonistic reflection on the Kindle Fire centers on the loose connection to grammar enjoyed by its name. "Kindle" is presumably a verb, since how an e-reader's name could be derived from a group of baby felines is above even the Amazon execs' pay grade, and "fire" is likely a noun. Other than that, we must leave it to the imagination to decide what possible synthetic and/or analytic signification attaches to these two words. There is, of course, the chief Amazon's destructive order (see above). This is unlikely, I deem. The "fire" part of the name is, in general, pretty redundant, because what else does one kindle (at least in a literal sense)? And is "kindle" an infinitive? An imperative? And is it acting transitively or intransitively? The glory of English is that no one ever has to know. Perhaps that is why technology is so rampant in American culture, because we can name things without being at all preoccupied by their grammatical inflections or syntax. Also, English has a lot of words that sound exactly like other words, such as the word "kindle." The use of Latin in product names would really be a great boon to those of us who like precision and clarity in nomenclature.

I hereby extend an invitation to my readers to submit names for the Kindle Fire in divers languages; Latin particularly comes to mind, but any tongue would be exceedingly welcome. Please include with your translation a defense thereof, which can be anywhere from long to short. Have fun!

Ready...Set...Kindle Fire!



  1. It's very possible that your brother may find him getting some sort of monetary compensation from users of the Kindle Fire. Although he would prefer to have his writings bound, I suppose e-writing isn't the worst.

  2. I choose "Chang" in Chinese. It means all kinds of things (some more suited, some much less), but it is certainly shorter than "Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo." As we all know. It is also shorter than "Kindle Fire."