A Weasel By Any Other Name

The Business Software Alliance has decided to take its case to the kiddies.

As part of this drive, they’ve created a mascot, and when you see it, you have to wonder what planet the people who created it and gave it an OK live on.

Those who are against the BSA look at the mascot, and see a weasel. They then gleefully point out that given what the BSA does (which in large part is based on people informing against others) that the choice of mascot is all too fitting and appropriate.

Those more favorable to the goals of the BSA, like myself, look at the mascot and see . . . a weasel. I not-so-gleefully point out that given what the BSA does (which in large part is based on people informing against others) that the choice of mascot is shooting oneself in the foot.

My God, this is stupid. Now I live in New York City, which isn’t exactly a nature reserve, but even I know that the term “weasel” doesn’t have the best connotations in the world, especially a somewhat demented-looking one who seems to be in the first stages of rabies.

The BSA people say, “It’s not a weasel, it’s a ferret.” Well, I looked, and while ferrets are a different species, they do belong to the weasel family, and even a 100% true-blue ferret looks an awful lot like a weasel to anyone who doesn’t hang at the zoology department of the local university much.

Yes, there are people who love ferrets. Some love them so much that they even buy magazines like Modern Ferret complete with, I kid you not, ferret centerfolds with naked ferrets.

I’m sure subscribers would be happy to correct any misconceptions about ferrets or misidentifications with weasels, but they have an uphill road.


I can think of only two reasons why the BSA would have such a liking for weasels ferrets.

One is that there’s one or more ferret lovers among the decision-makers. Maybe they brought in back issues of Modern Ferret and let the rest of the group gawk and do whatever else ferret lovers do when they see hot naked ferrets.

That’s a little hard to believe.

May I suggest a more plausible (OK, at least more humorous) reason why this image resonated with the BSA group?

Take a look at the ferret, and bring to mind your mental image of Bill Gates. Doesn’t that ferret look at least a little like him, or at least more like him than any other cartoon character you’ve ever seen?

Maybe, just maybe this is a case where the Microsoft representatives unconsciously liked the ferret because it looked like Bill, and the anti-Microsoft representatives liked sneaking one past MS and consciously liked the ferret precisely because it looked like Bill?

Stranger things have happened.

In all seriousness, BSA, you don’t need a contest to name the weasel, you need a contest for a new mascot. Bring back Bugs. Bring back Mickey. Bring back the Terminator, even.

Anything but a weasel.


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