Who Remains Nameless?
Entry for 2017-11-06


Excerpted from Name the Moon (filed under "Articles")
In the heavens, the Earth is accompanied by eight other planets, all of which have names and some of which have moons, and all of the moons have names—except ours.
To the best of our knowledge, no moon of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, or Neptune has ever kindled a love affair or provoked a rhyme. None, however full, has ever been addressed by a wolf or reflected in the Dow Jones Industrials. None has stirred the homicide division or the psychiatric ward to action the way Earth's full moon regularly does. Yet all of those other moons have been awarded not just names but classical names, mythological names, revered namesakes, inventors of telescopes, goddesses of the hunt and the harvest—while our moon is bereft of even so much as the name of a county commissioner.
We have named its mountains in English, Latin, and Russian. We have titled every one of its nonexistent seas. On terrain features where no train ever stops, we have unleashed such flights of human imagination as Mare Imbrium, Oceanus Procellarum, the Peak of Eratosthenes, the Walls of Newton. But for the great globe itself? Just "the moon," or "luna," which means "the moon." Even in those gentle days when our culture permitted us a man in the moon, by what biblical, classical, mythological, or folklorical name was he known? "The man." In "the moon."