Fund-Raising Effort Blurs Already Murky Distinction Between the Imaginary and the Real
In an effort to raise critically needed cash for its numerous outreach programs, the United Nations has begun selling the naming rights to the Earth’s Imaginary Lines. Despite earlier assurances from UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres that these well-known imaginary lines were not for sale, corporations are now offering untold billions – $378 billion at last count – to secure sponsorship to some of the most illustrious imaginary lines ever not actually in existence. Of course now that I’ve told you the exact amount of money corporations have paid, the untold billions are now “told billions.”
The Secretary General has emphatically maintained that, “The United Nations is a global exemplar of trust and integrity, and as such, any attempt at prostituting this institution for short term profit is where I draw the line.” However it was an imaginary line and it sold for over $4 billion to a lobbyist from Dubai. And now it’s like a Middle Eastern bazaar in the General Assembly as corporations lustily haggle over the price of all sorts of imaginary lines including the one separating North Korea from reality.
Reluctantly the United Nations proceeded with the sale due to the pressing worldwide need for its services. And when I say the “United Nations” I am, referring to its new airline sponsor who has proposed renaming the institution “The United United Nations or UUN.” A UN press release justified the unconventional sale of the Earth’s invisible assets by citing numerous cases of global need such as:
- Nepal: Since the earthquake their chief export is rubble.
- Bangladesh: A very backward nation. Their chief import is Nepal’s rubble.
- In South Sudan: If conditions don’t improve soon we’re simply going to salt the earth and abandon it. Right now the place is to Darfur.
- North Korea: What can you say about a country where everyone is named Kim. Even the inscription on their Tomb of the Unknown Soldier reads: Here lies the body our intrepid warrior. His name may be unknown, but we’re pretty sure it was Kim.
- Haiti: Hell’s waiting room. Haitians are envious of North Korea. Even the bananas in Haiti are trying to self-deport to more enlightened banana republics
- Greece: Chronic shortages of everything except refugees and poverty.
Precedents and Procedures
The price point of each line will be dependent on its popularity, utility and where it stands in the hierarchy of imaginary lines as vetted by the cartographic accounting firm of Rand-McNally. For example the frequently referenced Equator and North Pole will demand a premium, while the seldom “in-the-news” line of 33° West Longitude and the rarely invoked Mendoza Line will sell for a pittance.
Of course the North Pole is a point and not a line, but you get the point of my previous line. Additionally the Mendoza Line is a baseball term for a batting average above or below .200 and can only be found in a few shanty towns in the Dominican Republic. Despite the paint fumes surrounding me, the point I’m trying to make is that the United Nations has co-opted these imaginary lines/areas/points and has begun auctioning them off to the highest bidder in a process similar to the one the FCC employs in auctioning off swaths of radio spectrum to telecom companies. You might say “bandwidth” has become the new “plastics.” These invisible radio waves of the electromagnetic spectrum, like the imaginary lines of geography, are another representation of something you can’t see, but are very valuable. Like Kanye West’s “talent.” It seems counterintuitive that the UN, or any entity, could sell the name to something that doesn’t actually exist. Of course atheists have been saying the same thing about God for years. And yet God has acquired many brand names such as: Our Lord, The Almighty and Beyoncé.
Let the Bidding Begin
Numerous global corporate offers were submitted to the UN and were opened by Rand-McNally on May 15th. I’ve recreated the list of the corporate winners below. I’ve also included the Imaginary Line they’ll sponsor and the proposed tagline:
- Medical MarijuanaInternational Date Line – Actually you’ll find us located just a little bit beyond here – about one toke over the line.
- Victoria SecretBermuda Triangle – We’ve got your triangle covered – barely.
- PfizerTropic of Cancer – Soon to be renamed the PfizerTropic of Remission.
- Weight Watcher’s Equator – Earth’s girth a curse. Not worth the mirth.
- Allstate Atlantic Ocean – Water covers 75% of the Earth. We cover the rest.
- Chippendale’s North Pole Dancers– Let our pole dancers take you for a spin.
- The North FaceSouth Pole – More than just a contradiction in terms.
- The Times SquareArctic Circle – More than just a contradiction in terms.How about, “Circle gets the square.”
Let the Editorializing Begin
Monetizing public domain imaginary lines seems a craven act destitute of morals. What’s next? Corporate revisionist accounts of historic events like the Holocaust presented by Applebee’s – decidedly unfunny. Or 7-11’s 9/11 – even less funny. It just gets curiouser and curiouser. How curious? One ad, placed by an unspecified nation interested in a little more than just naming rights, appeared in the “Romantic Encounters” section of Craig’s List. It read:
Mature, bi-curious nation in Southern Hemisphere seeks inexpensive (but not cheap) line of longitude for private rendezvous. Imaginary Line must be straight, thin and willing to, “Say my name, say my name.” Discretion a must. We don’t want some unnamed nation – whom we’ll just call Uruguay – getting all up in our business again. It seems everything we do, they do. Like how they copied our name. Please respond to Minister of Parks and Recreation in Paraguay.
Jurisdictional Issues and a Breakdown of Protocols
With the UN on the precipice of having more money than God, interested parties filed suit at The Hague International Court of Justice to prevent them from selling the naming rights to these public domain imaginary lines. Kanye West petitioned for an injunction against the UN mansplainin’, “Time was this was Sinatra’s world and we all just lived in it. Well now y’all livin’ in my world and all these imaginary lines belong to me now. I’m just claiming what’s mine. Ain’t no biggee. Just the way it is.”
In a friend of the court brief the Estate of Frank Sinatra maintained that despite “Old Blue Eyes” death in 1998, it indeed was still his world and by the grace of the Chairman of the Board all others were granted the right to live in it. The Kardashian family felt otherwise. Soon a multitude of parties were squabbling over whose world it was until Eckhart Tolle pointed out that we’re all just visitors here and when it’s all over, whether King or pawn, once the game is over we all go back into the same box.
The Hague International Court of Justice ruled against the UN issuing a cease and desist order preventing them selling the naming rights to imaginary lines. The majority opinion stated that, “When viewed from the Moon, there are no visible boundaries and hence no one can own something that is unseen. We’re not talking Intellectual property here. We’re talking imaginary lines which are no more corporeal than imaginary friends.” This lunar perspective (opponents call it a lunatic perspective) was novel. So novel that counsel for the UN suggested that perhaps The Hague moved to the Moon and see how that works out for them. The case is on appeal.
Meanwhile the UN contended that if these imaginary line sales are disallowed, they’d considering selling the naming rights to celestial objects. In fact they’ve already received an offer from the Mars Corporation for renaming our galaxy the Milky Way Milky Way. Whether selling imaginary lines or celestial objects there was ample snickering at a meeting of the General Assembly. And this General Assembly scoffing was also sold to the Mars Co. who relabeled it as Snickers snickering.