A Nerd-Rage Rant! Subject: Spelling lessons

Where are my pocket protector and glasses?

Ah there we go.  Now onto the rage!

As many people already know, the SciFi Channel has done some creative spelling to change its name to the super cool-beans Syfy Channel.  Every nerd I’ve talked to has felt the same way I do about the change.  And we all ask: what’s with the “Y”s?

SyFy must be trying to appeal to non-nerds… because nerds are the only people that know how to spell correctly.  And well because spelling was like so last century.

SyFy president Mr. Howe said it a bit more eloquently: “What we love about this is we hopefully get the best of both worlds.  We’ll get the heritage and the track record of success, and we’ll build off of that to build a broader, more open and accessible and relatable and human-friendly brand.”

Um… actually you’ve alienated the nerds and done nothing to your content that will grab any new viewers.  Perhaps a rerun of your most popular show Battlestar Galactica is in order, which, I might add, was running with millions of viewers even with your channel’s name spelled correctly.

But hey what the heck do I know, according to your focus groups, misspelling parts of words is human-frieeeendly.  See how I did that.  Adding all those e’s made my blog post twenty times more keeeeen to newcomers!

In any case if he’s right, then rest assured, we wil bee seeing mor ov this in thee neer future.

The worst part is what this is saying about the non-nerdified normal people out there.  Apparently Mr. Howe thinks you’re too stupid to read their channel’s name.

“You see, children, the ‘c’ in ‘Sci’ is silent.  This is why you non-nerds have been passing over our channel for so many years.  We aren’t the Sky Fiction channel we’re the Syance Fyction Channel.”

Well golly gee Mister Howe, thanks for clearing that up for us.  But why not keep going?  Go ahead and call it the SyFy Chynyl!  We know how human-friendly the letter “y” seems to be.

Honestly folks, the guy must be an anal retentive, symmetrical vowel Nazi.  Maybe he thought the double “ar” sounds in Star Wars was the secret to its success, or maybe all the “a”s in Avatar made it the number one movie of all time.  It had nothing to do with the actual content within.

After all, good content is for good writers to worry about.  So let’s just do a quick fix with the name and move on to deliver more mediocre monster flicks…

Or you could just hire Ronald D. Moore to write another fraken show!

Don’t stop there Mr. Howe!  Your creative juices must be bursting at the seams!  In fact why don’t we go ahead and help other less-fortunate science fiction franchises to be more human-friendly.  Alyans and Star Track anybody?  And what about that new Christopher Nolan film Insipshun?

What the, SciFi Channel needs is well-written stories, driven by science and the future.  Because that’s what a nerd like me expects when I tune in.

Oh and by the way Mr. Howe.  Don’t worry about finding an audience.  Nerds are the cool thing to be right now.

Er.. sort of.

Other nerd related posts:

Another Nerd Rage Rant: The Science of Driving

An Artistic Rant, Subject: Video Games

237 thoughts on “A Nerd-Rage Rant! Subject: Spelling lessons

  1. This is a fantastic post! And thank you spelling out my aggravation in such a succinct way. Or maybe I should say “Thanc yoo”. 🙂

    • Who are you kidding? Since SyFy doesn’t seem to ask Central Casting for any people of color, there will be a reach beyond the NASCAR, Tea Party and the old pervs crowd.

      That channel will never get to the real nerds, because it is populated by hilarously bad science and dumb story lines, anyway.

      Forget spelling and worry about the bad science and the bad writing!

      • Indeed the writing is quite horrendous. Spelling it SyFy is a symptom of this much deeper problem.

  2. You are so incredibly right. I used to watch Sci Fi a lot. Now, not so much. Why? They haven’t put anything really good on lately. Do they think that I am somehow stupid and going to watch more of the same old crap when all they did was change their name? It’s really stupid. Fix the content issues, and you won’t have to change name. I just hate when people ignore the substantial problem and think everything will be fixed if they change their image. It’s just condescending.

      • I am a big fan of much of their paranormal content but frankly speaking, Ghost Hunters, GH International, GH University or whatever the blech it is… is all nonsense, lies, and special effects. So, indeed, SyFy-SciFi is turning the field of paranormal investigation into science fiction. No wonder people think I’m crazy when I tell them I am a paranormal investigator. And thanks to guys like Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, it doesn’t move forward because they have managed to fake so much evidence in favor of the almighty dollar. I guess a great big thank you butt kissing is in order for SyFy and Mr. Howe. You have truly made us nerds feel nerdier.

  3. This rant completely sums-up everything I have been trying to say about what the human population has been reduced to. It’s absolutely pathetic that he thinks it is necessary to misspell the channel name in order for people to understand what exactly it is. I must say, that maybe people should spend a little more time in school developing a functional brain, rather than just barely sliding by.

  4. I really have nothing to add, other than, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.” The core fan base for the SciFi channel is not going to be won over by a ludicrous spelling change. We’re science fiction fans, for crying out loud: we know how to spell it.

  5. THANK YOU! It bugged me when I found out that Sci-Fi changed its name. I don’t have cable (or anything more than lovely static) at home, so when I was looking for something good to watch and came across an interesting movie on “SyFy” I gave it a funny look and thought to myself… hmm. This feels like it should be something that’s on the Sci-Fi Channel.


    This is the new Sci-Fi.


    • I don’t watch television often and so when the change was made I just kept skipping by it. I would see “SyFy” and think that it was just another channel I likely wouldn’t be interested.

      Then I had someone tell me what had happened.

      Then, face-palm.

  6. Thank-you! My ambling intellect had not gotten round to speculating that SyFy was one of those dreaded re-brandings, nor had it wondered where Sci-Fi Channel had gone to. (I watch in UK on Sky satellite.) I applaud everything you say. Cy Quick at sumpnado.wordpress.com

  7. Is it bad that when I noticed last week that Starbuck’s napkins say ‘less napkins…’ I wrote them an email and told them that it should read ‘fewer napkins’?

    Thought you might like to know…. 🙂

  8. So very true. It’s because high level managerial types are never sci-fi, sorry, syfy nerds, they’re psychopaths. Alas, they probably diverted funding away from developing new shows, into questionable ‘research’ on the most popular alternative to the letter ‘i’.

  9. I LOVE nerd rants. “Alyans and Star Track anybody? And what about that new Christopher Nolen film Insipshun?” = gold. I died a little when I first heard about the name change… not only is it patronising to NON nerds, but it gives us all a bad name by representing us as “trying to be cool”. /Headdesk

  10. I agree with that the SciFi channel needs well written stories. Their movies are absolutely horrible. While I was in a long distance relationship with my fiance we would stay up late on the phone watching SciFi movies and laughing at the horrible effects and over use of cliches. As for the branding I understand that it is what it is, branding. What is even more pathetic that there are articles online that have to tell people not to use internet lingo during an interview and that “LOL” is not a real word to be spoken. While the internet has unlimited capability to connect people, the communication skills are rapidly deteriorating.

  11. Currently wigging out about spelling too, as I read an article about spelling protesters holding up a sign saying “Enuf is enuf, but enough is too much”. Please, please, please, don’t give in to the idea that cutting out letters makes spelling easier, or cleverer. Look, what about a word like bough, as in “the bough of the tree…” Ok, it doesn’t get used very often, but it’s a bugger to spell. But do you change it to “bow”? Is that like the bow of a ship, or the bow you tie on your shoes? And shouldn’t that be shooz? Does the colour have to be Bloo? And I guess you’re using shoes with velcro fastenings if you have this much trouble with spelling.

    Yes, I loved Battlestar Galactica, but I watched it on Space, and I can’t see them changing THAT spelling anytime soon. Thanks for the great post. I mean, the gr8 post…

    • I understand you were making a reference to being young and undereducated, but come on, man! Don’t rip on velcro shoes. Velcro’s simplicity makes it far more efficient compared to laces.

      • I think I read a rant recently about velcro vs laces, and how using velcro shoes can save you a full day over the duration of your average life. Or I might be full of crap, but I think I really did read something about that.

      • @Fuzzy: It’s one thing to choose to wear velcro, either as a fashion statement or because you simply prefer it. It’s another thing to have to wear velcro because you can’t work the laces 😉

  12. I know that online marketing creates situation where companies now “invent” words so they can maximize and direct search engine hits, and I think that’s why SyFy did. That also explains things like “Sharktopus”.

  13. I am in complete agreement with you. And, what about people not using punctuation correctly? Sometimes, I have to read stuff 2 or 3 times because they run sentences together.

  14. I agree that bad spelling sucks, and the “y”‘s seem to be an appeal to an as yet unnamed demographic that process letter sequences somewhat differently from the rest of us. It’s just really bad marketing that turns off the true fans while trying to attract wannabes and drive-byers.

  15. Well, apparently nerds ‘are’ the cool thing right now. The Big Bang Theory is (I think) the #1 show with people between the ages of 18-49. I’m to understand that’s a pretty important target group for the networks. And as we know, The Big Bang Theory is chalked-full of the ‘nerd’-type. I think it’s strange how some of their ‘science’ jokes have been leaking as the season goes on. There was plenty of nerdy-ness in the first season and then it slowed in the second season. It slowed even more in the third season. Here’s hoping they go ‘back to their roots’ in the fourth season.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

  16. Time for another rant, What is with putting WRESTLING on the SCI-FI channel??? I realize that it’s fiction, but it’s not really Science-fiction, now, is it?

    • Of course, you could read it as “putting”, not “putting”, and the sports connection to Tiger Woods is obvious.

  17. I am in total agreement with you. I haven’t watched the SciFi channel in like 2 years since I got a cheaper cable package, but when I heard about this “SyFy” business it made me wanna throw my Star Wars action figures across the room in anger (metaphorically speaking). SciFi is just trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator. That’s probably why the only Star Trek series they run is Enterprise. And “Sharktopus?” REALLY?

  18. This is just par for the course in Hollywood these days – when something works, they change it as quickly as possible or you beat it until it’s dead and then you beat it some more. The best shows I’ve seen recently on TV are on BBC!

    • I totally agree! I’ve found myself watching TV less and less and when I do, I’m watching channels like BBC or Turner Classic Movies because I don’t have to see or hear someone speak in text, not to mention the overdone plot lines.

      • Turner Classic Movies is the best channel I have run across! Those old movies are sometimes better and funnier than the new one. That is really the only channel I mess when I decided not to continue on with cable.

  19. Texting is creating a monster in all of us. There, “texting” isn’t even a word but we use it “cuz dats how we roll now lol.”

    Trying to make things cooler and trendy is just driving our society down. It may take me more time to finish a text message to a friend but at least I am content to know that I’m not following my fellow race to the darkness. Fa sho.

    Mrs. This One

    • The fact that cell-phone “Texting” is rifely running rampant, has definitely had a negative impact on the English language. Although I dislike it, I just consider it “new generation” jargon and steer clear from the grammatical hogwash of today. Anyway, back to the subject at hand:

      I agree, it was very asinine to change Sci-Fi to that senseless term “SyFy.” I cannot fathom the logic behind it, nor do I see a reason to seek out a different type of audience. Most people who like science fiction shows, enjoy creative thoughts, lean towards the intellectual side of things, and are often times semi-geek or perhaps nerdy. With that in mind, I’d say that the majority of the Sci-Fi aficionados detest the new spelling of this channel’s name.


  20. This is an excellent post. I tend to get lazy with capitalizing words, but unless i’m conserving tweet characters, I get on a spelling bender like whoa. I don’t have cable right now, but I’m extremely disappointed in these SciFi/SyFy shenanigans. Like you said, the nerds who would enjoy the shows if they were still any good know full well how to spell the damned name!

  21. Thanks for saying this; I don’t know anyone who wasn’t insulted and annoyed by the change either.

    I am assuming you have also seen the change to Sci Fi Wire which is now “Blastr”. When I was prompted to update my “Blastr” app on my iPad, I actually had to look up what that was b/c I knew it wasn’t installed. Truthfully I’d like to know how “Blastr” is any less geeky than the original and exactly how they think infantalizing sci fi fans either through misspellings or childish references to ray guns will retain their base let alone grow it with non-nerds who are just dying to watch CGI bugs attack earth & then reader abt in a mag named after a ray gun …

  22. Thanks for saying this; I don’t know anyone who wasn’t insulted and annoyed by the change either.

    I am assuming you have also seen the change to Sci Fi Wire which is now “Blastr”. When I was prompted to update my “Blastr” app on my iPad, I actually had to look up what that was b/c I knew it wasn’t installed. Truthfully I’d like to know how “Blastr” is any less geeky than the original and exactly how they think infantalizing sci fi fans either through misspellings or childish references to ray guns will retain their base let alone grow it with non-nerds who are just dying to watch CGI bugs attack earth & then read abt in a mag named after the sound of a ray gun …

  23. I don’t and have never watched the SciFi/SyFy channel, so the change in the way they spell their name won’t change whether or not I watch it. However, as many have already stated, it is ridiculous that the reason is to increase their audience numbers. It’s sad, and speaks volumes about the direction education is headed, and what America has been reduced to.

    And in other news…I’m a self-admitted nerd, but I’m not into science fiction, at all. But regardless, I find it hilarious that a lot of you think the problem lies within “good/quality writing” from the channel.

    Er…not going to make a difference. When was the last time, nerd or not, you watched a show on SciFi and afterward, had a conversation with someone about it that inlcuded the phrase, “the writing/plot was brilliant!” …Or something to that effect? Oh, never?


    • A good writer will be celebrated for the work he has created based upon the merit of his skill in creating that work. Only other writers will sit around and talk about his writing.

      To the rest of society, good writing is a necessary undercurrent behind every phrase of, “That was a good movie/TV show/book.”

      To be sure we have our guilty pleasures, but films and such that are to remain forever must have good skillful (and sometimes invisibly) good writers standing quietly behind them.

    • I do, all the time. Good writing/plot is absolutely integral to whether I think the show is good or not. But then, I am a writer. I doubt people will actually sit around and talk about the merits of the writing and of the plot points, but I do believe that good, skillful writing doesn’t have to be noticed and remarked upon. That’s how good it should be.

      • Good God Alive! Where have you been all your life! Have you never heard of Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, et al? ( Sorry, the last bit means “and others”). Science Fiction (see, I can spell) is generally only appealing to those of a reasonably high standard of education, those who are capable of original thought, but afficionados (THE FOKES HOO LIKE IT) generally are very tolerant towards the underprivileged.

    • Well, the last time I watched a show on SciFi was years ago, since it’s now the insipid “SyFy.” Looking outside the realm of that particular channel and into other science fiction media, yes, you can watch a show or a film and say, “the writing/plot was brilliant!” Or, barring that, just have a good conversation about the show. Science fiction isn’t just about aliens, space, time travel, or whatever; like any sort of fiction, it more often deals with humanity, issues, politics, love, religion, relationships, all of the things that draw people in to fiction. It just happens to have a different setting.

      And frankly, if you’re looking to the worse side of the sci-fi spectrum, watching a campy film about a giant ant that is taking over Cleveland has its non-sci-fi equivalent–like, ho hum, another film about college kids partying with bad dialogue or another film about an unlikely romance that works out perfectly in the end with absolutely no surprises or substance. At least the giant ant has laughter value.

  24. I don’t understand how spelling something improperly is going to bring in a “broader audience.” Maybe they should start airing movies that don’t involve snake-alligator hybrid monsters.

  25. SyFy is almost as sad as people putting little ‘i’s in front of the names of electronics.. iPhone, iPad, iDog, even iRobot is a company =o you’re right, it is, like, totally freaking laamme 😉

  26. There really is nothing wrong with “contemporary” and/or “cool” spelling. But as so many people have pointed out, it does not substitute content. The implication here is that Howe, as so many others in the entertainment business, has confused “cool” with relevancy. Judging from the meager but putrid sampling of media I have smelled in the last so many years, this is rather the standard than the exception. Nerds, by definition, eschew the herd, and a mindless standard.

  27. Such a wonderful rant. I think I want to marry you.

    I agree that the concern should be about well-written plots and content. That in the end is what draws me to watch a movie or read a book — well-written content, and not ONLY a good storyline. I’ve read books and watched movies where the plot could have been so so so brilliant with better writing. As it stood, it maybe have been just ok, but never more than ok.

  28. I could not have said it better myself! It’s really astounding to see how things are being watered down like this. I’m glad I refuse to get cable for my family. At least with Netflix (ruh-roh, product placement, Raggy), there will be a little less brain cell depletion and more of the content we actually care to see!

    What is even scarier is that there are people with high-level degrees out there that make common spelling mistakes. That is why executives hire us geeks to make them look good. I remember countless jobs in my career where the boss would take all the credit for my well thought-out documentation efforts. Every white paper, enterprise-wide e-mail, meeting minutes, proposal, and memo all snatched right under my fingers. It’s enough to make you want to eat nachos!

    Come to think of it, what tickles me is how recruiters will tell you “absolutely no spelling or grammatical mistakes” should be on your resume yet I’ve seen resumes that would make you want to bludgeon yourself to death with a spoon. Bad spelling is an epidemic at this point. Head for the hills before you get sucked into stupidity too! =oP

    In all seriousness, I think communication is going down the gutter. We’ve become such a turn-key society that people have lost sight of the basics. In this instant world, it’s “write a brief SMS or e-mail with lots of abbreviations and click SEND”. You would think that would give us nerds more leverage but it only intimidates hiring managers, business partners, and clients alike. Those of us that pride ourselves on proper communication skills are becoming a minority and we’re being ostracized for it, I’d say…

    P.S. Classic, I can’t stand the whole “iBLAH” frenzy. Every time my significant other refers to Apple products, I feel compelled to tell her “iDon’tCare” or just call said product “iPoop”. Silly trendy crap! =oX

    • And what’s with this “levverage”? O.K., I’m English, (sorry, British, as in Petroleum), but a lever (pronounced “leever”, like, a kinda thing yer lean on ter shift er rock? Yer no?) gives the noun of leverage.

  29. It’s a science fiction channel?

    I’m a little embarrassed, I thought it was a new reality channel about STDs as in, “Dude, I can’t believe I got the Syfy – this darn rash just won’t go away.”

    Thanks for clearing that up for me. I may give it a try now that I know it is a science fiction channel.

  30. BTW, I personally enjoyed Dr. Who, Stargate, and the short-lived Dresden Files. Then there are reruns of Farscape, Dead Like Me, and other great shows. What was the name of that show about the town filled with geniuses? Oh man.. Brain fart moment.. Kood dis b dee affect of dee brane vyrice???

    • I must admit Stargate was a short-lived guilty pleasure of mine. Dr. Who was better written back in the 70s yet the new one does have it’s moments. And the show you were thinking of is Eureka! Which I haven’t watched enough to say one way or the other.

      • Ah yes.. The old Doctor Who series was great. I liked the brown-haired Doctor (Tom Baker, I believe). He always had jelly beans handy, which I thought was spiffy. To think that it all started as a kids show, providing a fun way to learn about history and important stuffs!

        Anywho, Sci-Fi used to be great but it has progressively gone down the gutter. Do they even do Anime specials anymore? Ani-Monday had it’s moments.

        Eureka! That’s it.. That was a fun show. I don’t know how long it lasted but I remember it went on an entire season. It was a good concept: a jock in the midst of nerds.. What a twist! =o]

    • Wow.. I was not aware of this change. This is always a sore point during family game nights. I can see the arguments rolling in as people use the new “ghetto vernacular” versions of traditional names (as someone mentioned earlier). I understand that colloquialisms eventually get fused into our culture and become widely-accepted but where do we draw the line?

      Anywho, I’m all for geek-speak and clever made-up words but SHEESH.. Really, people? We should be making strides to improve the human mind, not foster laziness! w3rd. ;o)

  31. I’m not much of a scifi/syfy fan either way, but do take offense when changes are made based on the assumption that all people are stupid. Thanks for speaking for all of us who have a brain too big too be patronized. 😉

  32. My ex was a nerd and watched SciFi, and I was not a nerd and had never watched SciFi. We were both offended at the SyFy name change. Around the house we’d call it “Siff-ee” just to make fun of it. I’m guessing that’s not what the corporate branders were hoping for.

  33. Oh man, I love me some irrational rage! Well done, my new friend.

    Not that I claim to be an expert on grammar – especially not after my first sentence above – but my personal grammar-related peeve is when estabilishments needlessly change the consonants in their names. For instance, does it really have to be “Krispy Kreme?” The words “crispy” and “creme” both start with the same damn letter, so what’s with this “K” business? Are you kidding me?

    • Yesterday I passed a used-car dealership called King Kars…. I wish I was kidding, but no, I’m not!

  34. Thank you fellow nerdfighter! I had been wondering why they’d changed the name for a while now and definitely agree about the ridiculousness in advertisement. Keep up the good work!

  35. Glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks illiterate people are not a “market.” Why must everything beeee dumbed down nowwww? <— Even doing that has sent my grammar radar off the charts 😦

  36. I can’t stand it when people spell words incorrectly. The their/there/they’re mistakes irk me the most, as well as “definately.” I could go on for hours, but I’ll stop there. 🙂 There were a few years when spelling incorrectly on purpose was “cool.” I used to drive my high school classmates nuts by correcting their spelling, but their terrible spelling and grammar drove ME nuts! I’ve never considered myself a nerd though. 🙂

    • Problems with homophons (and near homophons) are a little tricky, because they are not always caused by ignorance or sloppiness, but by their “flying under the radar”. It is easy to be a influenced by the sound of words (even when having moved past the stage of “internal voicing”; in particular, when writing fast) which can lead to hard-to-detect errors. I would speculate that the systems that deal with sound generation and analysis are active in parallel with the text-based systems.

      An adult who does not know the difference between e.g. “their” and “they’re” should be ashamed of himself—to mistake them in haste is a different matter.

  37. Thank you, first of all, for your delightful rant on the spelling atrocities that are so prevalent they are now leaking into my once safe nerd kingdom. Isn’t the bigger issue here that Mr. Howe feels that this spelling is more “human-friendly?” For those of us who are long time fans of SciFi, what does that make us? Not all of us are soulless automatons trying to pass ourselves off as human…are we?

  38. Awesome post! I didn’t even know about this until I saw your post on freshly pressed. I don’t have cable but my DVD collection includes a lot of SciFi shows (I just can’t bring myself to write that other monstrosity that’s supposed to replace it). I agree somewhat about the writing of the shows but I can’t help loving a show like Stargate. Guilty pleasure indeed. Is there a petition out there to make them change it back? If so, I would sign it gladly. Mr. Howe’s idea and argument are just preposterous.

  39. In a bigger picture, there seems to be very wide-spread trend to a) neglect content in favour of covers b) neglect a large share of an original niche-market for a grab at a small share of the mass-market.

    This trend is particularly easy to spot in sports broadcasting and music, but does appear to be present more-or-less everywhere—including the-channel-formerly-know-as-Sci-Fi.

    • Indeed. Overall, I’d say mass appeal is over-rated. Some people just don’t get it. The best marketers and inventors in this world have learned that focusing on a very specific group always trumps trying to please everyone. This strategy reminds me of how Sony and Microsoft are both trying to steal some of Nintendo’s casual gamer audience by implementing motion-sensitive controllers and game mechanics… But I digress – that’s for another thread! =oX

  40. I hope your next nerd rant is going to be about grammar.

    Where’s my pocket protector and glasses? —>
    Where are my pocket protector and glasses?

  41. I totally agree! I couldn’t figure it out myself, and I’m NOT a nerd or a Geek!! And why can we not Capitalize??? I do!!!

    If we have to be politically corect…how about gramatically correct??


  42. My workplace just got a software upgrade. The new pdf program prompt offers the following option:

    Do not look for image-only pages automaticaly.

    My whole college education and former career as a teacher are for naught.

    Thanks for caring and for taking a stand!

    Nerdily yours,

  43. Great post! Differentiation to attract attention can also lead to alienation (pun intended).

    They will likely have to change their name again in the not too distant future as they discover the void of the new frontier that errors like this can bring.

    Avatar is clearly a derivative of Canadian english, hence the “eh’s”.

  44. My thought on it was that it had to do with intellectual property. Maybe they encountered a problem with the “Sci-fi”. One could argue that is generic. Now SyFy, that’s something that can be trademarked without any question. Just my pet theory.

  45. LOL. I hated the change to SyFy and I still do. Spell it correctly and I’ll respect you, SciFi. That name just looks dumb. What is it supposed to be, some kind of text chat?

    Hope they change it back. Great post!

  46. I love it! I was so bothered by the “new branding”. I am so glad you wrote this blog. Thank you.

  47. You could not have said that any better. What is up with society today? Has it just come to the point that no one can spell anymore, so we have to spell things wrong for people to understand. What was wrong with Sci-Fi. All those that cared to watch the channel had no issues with being about to spell or with the channels name. I dislike lazy people, intensely and this just adds to that.

  48. Excellent post! I think they are trying to appeal to the same people who name their kids Aydyn, Camryn, Cayte and Jordyn in the hopes that their kids will stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately they’ll only stand out in that they’ll only be able to spell phonetically. Oh wait, that’s commonplace these days so double-fail.

  49. This is too funny, I agree, I think that this and just plain texting has caused a lot of problems in people spelling. When you can go, ‘U R 2 Cut’ and you can maybe understand it why put the extra effort forth to properly write out every one of the letters? It’s just too much work!

  50. I saw the SyFy thing and thought it was another knockoff channel. Its true the SciFfi channel has been waning for years, but whatever the name is, the giant logo so big at the bottom of the screen all the time doesn’t improve things. It seems like there is such an opportunity there but often the content is low budget stuff that wouldn’t be shown anywhere else.

  51. I thought it was annoying, but not particularly important in the grand scheme of things. I was under the impression that it was more about differentiating the Sci Fi channel from the Sci channel in the tiny window on the guide and tv guide channel.
    I do agree that the dumbing down of our populace is a tragedy. Without starting in on my own rant, I’ll just say that I believe it’s intentional. To me that is scarier than anything I’ve seen on the SySciFi channel.

  52. Excellent post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    As a writer and a fan of the SciFi channel – when it was spelled correctly – I can’t help but be annoyed whenever I see the new SyFy logo pop up on the screen. It’s not cool, just STUPID! I appreciate the need to reach out to a new audience, but they shouldn’t do so at the expense of their loyal fan base… or the English language. 🙂

    Better shows, not new logos!



  53. This post was greeeeat. Although I don’t watch the SyFy channel much I agree that story is what should woo the viewer, not bad grammmmmaaaarrr. Story is king.

  54. As a former graphic design student, I noticed the change in their logo first…and then the change in “spelling”. I am also a moderate grammar freak, so this also irritated me. I think they thought spelling it phonetically would attract attention. Sigh.

  55. Yea, I thought SyFy was a little off too. Liked it better the other way and it’s kind of an insult to Sci-Fi lovers. After Battlestar Galatica ended, I haven’t been back. Well, I did see two shows earlier in the spring, but they were nowhere near the quality of Battlestar Galatica, so I haven’t watched them again. I miss Battlestar.

  56. As a geeky English major, I didn’t understand the change either, and it only annoyed me. At least there is a reason, even if it is a dumb one.

  57. Real science-fiction fans do not call it “sci-fi”!!!![/rant]

    If anyone were to ask, I’d pronounce “Syfy” as “siff-ee” (“y” being a popular adverbial ending).

    “Trying to make things cooler and trendy is just driving our society down.”

    I subscribe to Make magazine. The current issue has a lead story by a guy whose name is “3ric Johanson”. If I were to meet him, I’d say “Hi, Three-ric”.

    “I do agree that the dumbing down of our populace is a tragedy.”

    I grew up in the era when science fiction is where you learned about life, science, technology, rugged individualism – and that’s just Heinlein. If science fiction is going to the medium of dumbnification, Im doubly glad I don’t get the “siff-ee” channel.

    • Exchanging numbers with letters is for computer passwords and nothing more! And don’t worry about the sci fi genre. It isn’t dumbing anytime soon, just the SyFy channel it seems.

    • reedomactionnow said
      July 23, 2010 at 10:51 pm
      Real science-fiction fans do not call it “sci-fi”!!!![/rant]

      Really? I’ve been reading science fiction since 1959 and I call it sci-fi. Forrest J Ackerman coined the term, and it has a proud history. Ellison took offence because people who didn’t like science fiction often used the term, but that had nothing to do with the fans. Besides, Ellison’s stock in trade was taking offence. I’ve come to find it quite tiresome when somebody who’s been reading science fiction for only 20 years or so gets on a high horse and tells me that I’m not a real fan because I call it “sci-fi.”

    • Coincidentally, I recently got around to buying the first season of Startrek the-prequel-generation, and was somewhat disappointed on this very point: Star Trek is something that I associate with moral dilemmas, different perspectives to conflicts, etc.—generally, stories that make the viewer think. The prequel, however, is more of an ordinary “space adventure” series.

      (While these adventures are quite enjoyable, they could be from any other well-made sci-fi series—they lack the edge and character I am used to.)

  58. The SyFy channel was weird to me the day they got rid of Farscape at the peak of its popularity. I thought it was weird when SyFy changed their name, but look what it does get them publicity. It is a smart ploy if it gets people debating over the name change.


  59. yu kno… ur absulootly rite. C! mi commment iz alredy lik a bazilyun tyms as hyumun-frendly az it wud hav ben if I jus speeled evrythin corectly.

    Unfortunately, spelling errors make it infinitely more hard for us ‘nerds’ to read. And while I understand why SyFy is really doing the name-change thing. I don’t necessarily agree with it.

    By the by, despite what Mr. Howe–and anyone else at the company–want you to believe, SyFy changed its name so it could be trademarked. Or, in other words, so the channel wouldn’t be confused for the genre of a similar name.

  60. Frank: “I’ve come to find it quite tiresome when somebody who’s been reading science fiction for only 20 years or so gets on a high horse….”

    I defer to your distinguished background. I’ve only read “Doc” Smith in later editions.

    I think we can call it “sci-fi”. It’s like one of those other words beginning with “N” that people in the “in” group can call one another, but we may not.

    And it may have been Ellison from whom I got the notion about the term.

    Recently, someone was talking about literary prizes, and how no one from the S-F world has ever gotten a “mainstream” literary prize. (I understand that they don’t give out Hugos and Nebulas in boxes of Cracker Jack, but works like “Canticle for Liebowitz” and “The Forever War”; writers like Asimov, Clarke, Le Guin, and probably a few more I haven’t read; should get some mainstream recognition.)

    • I was curious to see if my favorite sci-fi book had received any awards. Turns out the Frank Hubert’s “Dune” won the Hugo Award in 1966, and the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel. So it isn’t all hopeless I guess.

    • “Literary” people so often lack the imagination to appreciate thoughts outside of the life they know. It takes scientists to know that “now” does not mean “forever”.

  61. oh boy
    I commiserate

    English is not my first language but I seem to be a sucker for spelling in all of those I try to use..

    not consistent with the principles of linguistics, ‘SyFy’ is removing itself from the science to pseudoscience

  62. You see, THIS is precisely why I Enjoy Freshly Pressed!

    Your Title did it for me!

    I understand, new mediums, one has to be creative to single oneself out, but TV?? It’s been around for Half a Century! And besides, if you didn’t watch Sci Fi Before, like me, then you’re not going to tune in NOW because it’s SIFee 😛

    Damned Kewlness!

  63. 100% agreement.
    Even though I’ve never watched the sci-fi channel in my life.
    The deterioration of the english language grieves me.


    I blame cell-phones and texting. Really, you telling me that it takes less effort and more cool-ness to type out “kewl” than “cool”? It’s the SAME AMOUNT OF FRIEKIN’ LETTERS! or how about “skewl” for “school”. People need to go back to skewl and re-do grade 1 phonics! i mean err, fonniks.

    Seems to me that all the amazing ‘technological’ accomplishments of humanity is at the expense of the basics.. like the silent “c”. And no use banning the “y”. They’ll just use some other illogical vowel instead.


  64. Unfortunately, this is an event that started a few years earlier in Romania (my country), and it’s a shame to see it happen worldwide (or at least in other countries as well).

  65. Excellent blog, sir. While I understand that Howe wanted something he could trademark, I don’t think he realizes yet that science fiction is a niche. You generally have to have a love of sci-fi to go to that channel.

    Unfortunately, Howe hasn’t addressed the real issue — those crappy movies that make you wish for the early days of Roger Corman. I mean I’d rather watch Corman’s low-budget cult classics like “Attack of the Crab Monsters” and “It Conquered the World” or even his excellent but dated Edgar Allan Poe/Vincent Price flicks that “Sharktopus” and “Carnosaur” that try to overwhelm us with CGI to make up for poor writing.

    Alas, the good stuff is no longer readily available. No, that gets put on premium channels in more expensive cable and dish packages. No more Hanna-Barbera or Warner Brothers on Cartoon Network, just “Squidbillies” and “The Mighty Boosh.”

    I don’t really watch SyFy anymore. It just doesn’t interest me, so I guess the name change failed. I still can’t find anything really good on it. Somehow, Mr. Howe has created a channel that makes people long for the good old days of “Space: 1999,” “Thunderbirds” and “In Search Of…”

    Nice work, sir.

  66. I’m confused. Isn’t it a bit rich to castigate someone for using ‘SyFy’ when ‘SciFi’ isn’t actually a word either?
    Personally I don’t mind the use of contractions or funky spellings. Language should sparkle and fizz with aberrations – it keeps it alive.
    The nanny-like reprimands of grammarians, and the like, hold our language back. They are the people we should throw in the grammar slammer.

    • Interesting point.

      All I would say is that, though SciFi is hardly a word itself, it is at least a believable abbreviation. What SyFy has done doesn’t make much since when spelling out the complete word.

      • But it does make sense within the context of what it’s advertising. ‘SciFi’ wouldn’t have made much sense other than to science fiction fans at first glance.

        The ampersand is an example – first used to denote the latin ‘e’ and ‘t’ – if someone hadn’t had the audacity to play around with it wouldn’t have morphed into what it is today.

        Bring on all these quirky infelicities – they make language fun!

  67. Thanks for the confirmation that such people exist outside my mediocre world! Although, that doesn’t bring much hope for change. Also, laziness and greed are the down fall of our country! So, thnks 4 shedn sum lite on the matr! 🙂

  68. I couldn’t read through all the comments so I apologize if I repeat something…

    Dh and I were miffed at this too. We call it siffee just to be rebellious. WTF were they thinking? I almost understand their thought process but it really isn’t going to change anything until they make better shows.

    We are afraid though, that they are going to go the way of History Channel and TLC and rarely show things related to what the channel was about. I mean, for a while you could watch WRESTLING on Siffee!!! WRESTING!!!! 😯

  69. *blink*involuntary drooling* So it was pronounced SY-FY all along? All those years of calling it Skiffy…

    As an English majoring nerd, I share your pain.

  70. I just had a giant rant about this on my facebook page. I got some good replies, but I got ripped on by my boss for including “c’mon” in my status update. WTF?! Glad to see this post.

  71. When I heard about, ahem, SyFy’s new spelling I thought, “Well, they are dead to me now.” The people in charge of this channel are on dope. They need to appeal to actual nerds and produce quality nerd content without insulting us with their lame pseudo-cool channel spelling. Just look at the extreme popularity of San Diego’s Comic-Con. Give the nerds what they want and the cash will follow.

  72. Ok. I am completely on board with reference to the general illiteracy of the American population. But… There is another possible explanation (Now, I didn’t read all the comments, so it is entirely possible that this has been said already.) There are many companies that have been in existence for a decent amount of time (18 years for the SyFy Channel) that were founded with very generic names. Due to copyright issues, many of these companies are forced to change their name, as it becomes very difficult for the US Copyright office to restrict the use of a generic term, i.e. SciFi. My understanding was that they wanted to be able to use a name that could be trademarked. Food for thought.

  73. Wow, thank you for writing this post. As a recent university graduate with an English major, I can’t stand when people think it’s clever to change the way something is spelled to appeal to others. It makes me feel like I’m losing IQ points whenever I see nonsense like that. Thanks for voicing your opinion. I couldn’t agree with you more.

  74. Although I’m not into sy-fy or even sci-fi I really enjoyed reading your blog which I found witty and sadly true. (From a Communications/PR graduate who wrote her thesis on Corporate Identity).

  75. I’m willing to bet that a statistically significant number of people watching the “SyFy” channel are, like me, former spelling-bee nerds. If they don’t realize that about their audience, their Nielsen ratings deserve to drop.

  76. And here I thought I was the only science nerd to even notice that the content available on TV is tragically absent. Perhaps I’m not the only one to find the Myth Busters wrong either? Hmm there’s a thought. They don’t always bust myths sometimes they just fail to replicate every variable.
    Thanks for the post! Anything that brings attention to the fact that we seem to be encouraging stupidity appeals to me.

  77. I think Sci-Fi Channel is trying to bring in the sort of audience that will honestly like the crap movies that they broadcast. why change when you can advertise?

  78. In this paragraph you wrote…

    “You see, children, the ‘c’ in ‘Sci’ is silent. This is why you non-nerds have been passing over our channel for so many years. We aren’t the Sky Fiction channel we’re the Syance Fyction Channel.”

    You should have wrote ‘We aren’t the SCIENCE Fiction channel we’re the Syance Fycyion Channel’ instead of ‘Sky Fiction’.

    P.s. And I’m not a nerd, I fall into no category.

  79. I picture a SciFi tattoo here on someone. Somewhere noticeable like an inner forearm maybe? lol SyFy is horrible tho but I cant say ive even noticed the change yet.

  80. First of all I agree with you about the crappy content they’ve been dishing out, it seems since the end of Stargate Atlantis they haven’t had much fresh content worth watching.

    Secondly about them changing the name from Sci Fi to SyFy I believe they did this so they could have something that wasn’t so general that they could copywrite and not have to be “Sci Fi Channel” but just “SyFy” which I have no problem with and believe your nerd rage is in vain.

  81. Totally agree, “SyFy” (wow it feels wrong writing that) has to stop alienating its viewers, and instead of putting WWE Smackdown and one knock-off movie after another, should go and make a true sci-fi series that isn’t just drama inside of a spaceship (SGU?).

  82. I feel compelled to point of the fact that you misspelled Christopher NOLANs name, although I do show myself as the hipocrit I am as my site is full of spelling mistakes.

  83. SyFy Chynyl! Hilarious. Isn’t it amazing how a simple change in letters is expected to attract a whole new demographic of people? Boy, the mind is an interesting thing.

  84. i rarely watched Sci-Fi, before, but this is a huge turn-off. must be made for the twitter/texting generation. haha. sad, though.

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  86. I agree completely with this article…minus the comment that Avatar is the number one movie of all time. You’d think that with all the money spent on making it, Cameron would have set aside some for a decent script, instead of copying and pasting from other movies.

    • I heartily agree. It is a very generic movie. Cameron’s best in my opinion would be “Aliens”. But the world has cast their votes and 2 billion dollars later, “Avatar” has left all other films in the dust.

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  88. How many ways can a person spell Pamela, Nicole, Michelle, Rene, Megan, Kelly, Tammy, Lisa…maybe they’re all somehow related to the SyFy’s…or would that be SciFi?

  89. What Sci-Fi needs is continuous creativity.

    When you’ve lost creativity flow, the easiest way to look like your achieving something is to rebrand.

    Spelling here just happens to be the first casualty in this re-branding battle. Do not despair fellow nerds as we all know it’s only one battle in an ongoing war.

    Sooner or later those who would spurn our beloved Sci-Fi will have to return to it’s descriptive origin Science Fiction and accept they are dyslexic.

  90. I can’t say that I’m overly bothered about the spelling. What I do find ridiculous is the amount of debate inspired by such a minor change.

    I used to watch the SciFi channel, back when it still showed quality television. I find it really disappointing that, as with anything, the US television moguls jump on any clique that is cool for a period of time. So what are we stuck with – SmallVille, which is basically Dawsons Creek with Clarke Kent or re-runs of Buffy because Vampires are the new cool (thanks a lot Twilight).

    So I give up, make up your own minds! SyFy isn’t just a geek/nerd channel anymore – it’s now aimed at teens who want Dawsons Creek with a little superhero action.

  91. First off, a great post and an interesting blog.

    But I find a delicious sort of irony that someone posting such a dramatic rant about the rest of the world’s misspellings has a blog category of their own titled “Spirituel.”

    Listen. The king of your “Spirituel” category might be whispering something about Matthew 7:5.

    Have a blessed day!

    • Congratulations my spontaneous editor! I will change that directly!

      So far we have 5 mistakes found throughout my blog (yours being number 5),

      3 of them on this post alone!

      I would be a lesser blogger man without you all.

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  93. Hi! Great post! We don’t watch television (and homeschool our kids) so the post was double-whammy informative. And scary, in truth.

    Wondering about the introductory sentence. Why is it “Where’s my pocket protector and glasses” vs. “Where are my pocket protector and glasses”?



    • Bonus points for being the third person to correct my grammar and a spelling errors:) Everyone assumes that I am a spelling and grammar nerd myself for posting about the atrocious SyFy spelling. I’m not. The phrase I wrote, “because nerds are the only people that know how to spell correctly” is meant to be sarcastic. I’m sure there are plenty of post-cheerleaders out there that can spell as well if not better than me.

      Spelling and grammar have always been a challenge for me growing up (thank God for the spell checker). What irks me is how Mr. Howe is purposely ignoring his own spell checker in vote of being “Human-friendly”. Mistakes in sentence structure and spelling will happen to the best of us, this is what editors are for, but purposely miss-spelling a word should be frowned upon.

      Even after reading through a post 50 times, I will miss a thing here and there, so please feel free to correct my grammar and spelling as I am very willing to edit in your changes and give you credit for them:)

  94. As a proud mom of a spelling “nerd” who went to the National Spelling Bee 3 times, I can only add that intentional misspellings are an automatic turn-off for our family and further dumb-down society. From a young age, both my kids wondered why adults would misspell words on purpose, leading to some fun discussions about marketing.

  95. I hope you will not take this too seriously, but given the topic of your article, why did you begin with this grammatically hideous sentence:

    “Where’s my pocket protector and glasses?”

    Surely you understand verbs as well as spelling?

    • No worries. (<– oops I did it again!) I was trying to conversational but I see your point. I will keep that in mind in the future.

  96. Just going to say it would be awesome if they renamed it the SciφChannel. Now that would get rid of all the normal people in the would, but the nerd community would be loving it!

  97. Yeah, I stopped watching the channel when they changed their name. I don’t understand why SciFi channel tried to change their target audience when the SciFi channel is clearly aimed towards nerds/geeks.

    • LOL.. Nice.

      Languages also devolve, I suppose.. The argument can be made either way. Surely, colloquialisms have their place and communication SHOULD be tailored to one’s audience.. But, when your communication efforts alienate your primary audience, you have encountered an “EPIC FAIL”.

      I, for one, do not find myself riding horses of any height.. Heck, I make plenty of grammatical and spelling mistakes but I try to measure my words more when there is a more intelligent audience paying attention to me. “SyFy” should do the same and not treat us like leftovers. ;o)

  98. Loved the post. Hate the degeneration of the English language, as a whole, frankly. I can see where, in a couple of decades, most of the country’s vocabulary could be reduced to pointing and saying “Ugh”.

    Kudo’s… or… er… Ugh!

  99. I quite enjoyed this post. Spelling and grammar are just awesome. On the internet I don’t mind the occasional misspelling or awkward syntax. Sometimes it’s even appropriate. And sure, languages evolve and become the zeitgeist of the particular society but there’s a possibility of going overboard.

    While I love the letter Y, SyFy seems like an acronym for something I’m too old to understand. My whole micro-rant is probably best summed up by Abraham Simpson:

    “I used to be with it. Then they changed what it was. Now what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s it seems weird and scary to me. It’ll happen to you.”

  100. While I agree that the new name is stupid, I understand why they did it. I know the top officials are trying to play it off that they were trying to be trendy, but the truth is old fashion trade marks. The name sci-fi could not be Trade Marked as it is a genre, while SYFY could be Trade Marked and Branded.

    “Bonnie Hammer, president of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment, told The New York Times, ‘We couldn’t own Sci Fi; it’s a genre…but we can own Syfy.'”


    • Didn’t know about that. Guess it makes a bit more since. They shouldn’t be worried about such a thing as carrying a generic genre. It has worked for them this long.

      I like what Gawker said at the end of the article about the tagline, Imagine Greater. “[It] means nothing and is grammatically incoherent.”

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  102. It’s a shame that marketing has to play such a dominating role in our live. Sci-Fi Channel appealed to a niche audience which apparently wasn’t large enough to buy new yachts for the bean counters. American Movie Classics sold out similarly. At one time, they were a commercial free broadcaster of classic movies. Suddenly then, they had to have sponsors and with them came the shift in programming. With all due respect to my teenage years, I just can’t consider Back to The Future a classic. Will I watch it? Sure. Classic? No. Ben-Hur is a classic. The Man with The Golden Arm with Frank Sinatra is a classic. Now, AMC is ramping up it’s original programming like Mad Men and Breaking Bad. How long do we have before those once beautiful three letters stand for something else? Perhaps, American Mediocre Crap.

  103. Thus far, TCM has hung in there. A week ago, they play Black Orpheus which is more than can be expected by most channels. Foreign language film has little chance on American television. Let’s hope TCM sticks to their guns and their niche.

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  105. Pingback: To Sci Fi Or Not To SyFy? That Is The Question! « Humans Are Assholes

  106. I admit I did not read all of the post… So sorry if this is a repeat!
    (Sci-Fi) now SyFy changed it’s name for one main reason however they were not very clear on it. As many of you know Sci-Fi is an abbreviation of science fiction. Thus the channel now called SyFy could not term the name and they could not profit from the genre name. However if they came up with there own name they could trademark it. That is why hey changed the name, simply for money.

  107. Oh dear! They will ruin the future of science! They changed “Science” to “Sayonce”, so expect more lousy ghost humper shows.

    • Just finished watching an episode of bsg tonight. My friends are taking me through it! spoilers!

      They just found Earth…

      So yeah… why do we not see more shows like this from the SyFy channel?

  108. Wrestling is science fiction. All those steroids! Well, I hate syfy now. Perhaps some day our country won’t try to dumb itself down. Its unlikely tho! Any way, I am still waiting for my bioshock hypo syringe prop replica to come in the mail, but I digress. So before that day when our country stops dumbing itself down,frak syfy!

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