The Star of the King of the Dead

Planets, once thought to form gradually out of coalescing dust and gas, are now viewed as the survivors of a violent process of collision and accretion, the winners in a Darwinian competition to build up enough gravity to control one's own orbit."--From Newsweek's article on the demotion of Pluto to dwarf status.

Aren't we all just trying to build up enough gravity to control our respective orbits?

There are some days when I suspect that a group of people are meeting somewhere plotting my fate. I imagine I will receive a press release telling me that I have been recategorized, demoted, dwarfed. My own description of myself is that I am not as tall as I feel I ought to be (and, like many small animals, not as large as I often believe myself to be) and not as grown up as my age would suggest, so why wouldn't a group of experts determine that after having weighed all the evidence, I don't quite make the cut?

Of course, this begs the question "what are they categorizing? How will you be diminished?

I have absolutely no idea. No one actually tells you they are deciding on your fate until after a decision has been made. And one wonders if it really matters how one is classified. I mean, does Pluto care if the citizens of Earth consider it to be a full-fledged planet? Probably not. Just so long as one has enough gravity to control one's own orbit (or share orbital control with a partner, as it appears Pluto does with Charon*) everything else is peripheral.

*Is anyone else irritated that Pluto's moon and orbital partner is not named Proserpine? She was Pluto's bride and co-ruler of the Underworld, shouldn't her name be up there as well?



Anonymous said…
Wow, this so fits how my son and I are feeling right now. We are both trying to break out of classifications with which we don't agree. It's tough not to allow yourself to feel diminished in the face of not making that cut.
Her name should no only be up there, she should be bloody furious!! Her partner has not only been demoted after 5 million years of loyal service, he has been classified among a group of petulant upstarts who are benefitting from his millennia of work. That's demarcation and that's a union violation. This whole Pluto thing is really annoying me and I wasn't sure why until I read your post. The sheer arrogance it takes to so casually cast judgments over millions of miles is astounding and it makes me wonder who has a hold on my strings. I will not be diminished!!! I will stand tall and shake the heavens!!! I will go for an ice cream cone and I will eat it in bed. Thank you. Very cool blog.
Anonymous said…
People are plotting your recategorization? We should be so lucky. We're in charge of ourselves. Recategorize yourself if you don't like the place you're in - that's what I say. But who am I? Nobody. Certainly not anyone who wants to recategorize anyone.

Popular Posts