I remember being fascinated by National Geographic magazines at a very young age. I was able to explore the world, meet new people, and see animals and structures I had never imagined. It made me feel smart just by looking at it, with all of its maps, colors, and other-worldly images. Of course, when I was older, there was the possibility of seeing naked people, which any curious 10 year-old can appreciate. And this was LEGAL voyeurism, as adults never minded kids leafing through a National Geographic. The taboo was lifted. Long live anthropology.
Founded in 1888 “to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge while promoting the conservation of the world’s cultural, historical, and natural resources,” just the name National Geographic conjures thoughts of worldliness, professorialism, photographic mastery, and the intelligentsia.
As I was watching the National Geographic channel the other night, one of their “spots” referred to themselves as Nat Geo. Call me old fashioned, but some names are best left to tradition. Attempting to “modernize” one’s name by calling upon 50 year-old ad execs to get into the minds of the twentysomething’s, only to arrive at Nat Geo? Well, it’s a poor showing, at best, and a complete dumbing down and juvenilization of an esteemed brand at worst.
Must everyone attempt to craft themselves into an acronym-like, texting-friendly buzzword? Stick to the tradition when that tradition has over 120 years of solid, culturally infused worthiness, OK? Whether they like it or not, I will continue to call them by their proper, given name. National Geographic. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?