Washington, D.C. A controversial new law looks set to be passed by Congress this week. The Anti-Crime State Consonant Act proposes that all state names will hereafter begin with a consonant, with states currently beginning with a vowel being forced to rename themselves by the addition of a consonant at the beginning of their name.
“Night after night on Court TV we see video footage of crimes being committed in the so-called ‘Vowel States’ of the Mid-West, with Idaho, Oklahoma and Ohio being the most featured,” said Congressman David Ribble (R., NJ), who proposed the act. “The solution is obvious when you figure it out. The simple addition of a consonant to the beginning of the name would see an immediate diminution of crime to levels seen in more law-abiding states like Maine and Vermont. There are 21 consonants to choose from, so they’re not spoilt for choice.”
However, there is still disagreement about the detail of the act because some languages vary in their treatment of vowels. “Most instances of the letter H and all instances of Y at the front of words are treated as vowels in French,” explained Carl Vorderman, Professor of Modern Linguistics at Maryland State University. “You wouldn’t want to go through a name-change, only for the problem to surface again through the inadvertent use of a non-English language vowel. Between H and Y, I would see Y as posing the biggest problem,” he continued. “For example, the newly-named state of Yoklahoma or Yohio could become a magnet for gang-crime if they were to attempt to market themselves as ‘Yo! Klahoma’ or ‘Yo! Hio’ in an attempt to increase tourism or to encourage businesses to relocate there. Indeed, with Oklahoma, you can see the precedence has already been set with the hit musical Oklahoma! You already have the exclamation mark there, and the opening song emphasises the letter O at the start of each of the first two lines.”
However, even disallowing H and Y as vowels leaves some room for dangerous misnomers. The DEA is advising the Oklahoma state legislature against adopting the letter T at the start, fearing that Toklahoma would see its cornfields replaced by acres of marijuana. There is widespread unease at the prospect of Illinois fronting its name with the letter K, with Chicago’s image still blemished from the mafia killings of the Prohibition era. Elsewhere, Fox Television has already threatened a lawsuit if Ohio adopts the letter D, seeing a potential infringement of copyright with Homer Simpson’s famous “D’oh!” catchphrase. “They already have a town called Springfield in Ohio,” said a Fox executive. “If they went for Springfield D’Ohio — with or without the apostrophe — we would see them in court.”