The Color of Conspiracy

Just in time for school, a new color has become the latest resident in Crayola’s classic box of 24 crayons. And after months of carefully orchestrated hype, its name has finally been revealed.

It all began last spring when Crayola announced that dandelion yellow would be replaced with a new shade of blue discovered by scientists at the University of Oregon. After inviting people to suggest names, sorting through 90,000 submissions and holding an online vote, the company announced the new name last week – bluetiful.

Critics in the Twitterverse reacted quickly and harshly. They called the name “underwhelming”, “obnoxious”, “a spelling crime” and “a bad lesson for children.” Hey, it could have been worse. As the New York Daily News observed, “At least it’s not Bluey McBlueface.” After all, as Shakespeare noted “What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Here’s the problem. A crayon will smell the same under a different name. And it will taste the same under a different name. (Just ask a young child.) But it won’t necessarily look the same. Why? Because how it looks will be affected by psychological expectations inherent in the name. That’s why Crayola called the new crayon bluetiful; not blugly.

And that’s the point. The name bluetiful tells you how you’re supposed to react to the color. It reduces freedom of thought and imagination. It represents the antithesis of the traditional artistic mindset – discovery and exploration. What will Crayola’s next new colors be? Supurbple. Glamarose. Creamazing.

One has to wonder if Crayola is purposely creating a subtle form of mind control. And to what end? This possibility is particularly disturbing when you realize that the vast majority of crayon users are young children. Will today’s youngsters become the brainwashed adults of tomorrow? Will the conformity of Eisenhower era coloring-by-the-numbers be thrust upon us once again?

If the trend continues, future crayon names may attempt to do much more than just influence how you view them. They may try influence your actions. For example, a new shade of green named greenal. It’s the color your kidneys turn after too much abuse of alcohol.

Now you might ask, what’s wrong with that? Nothing. It’s good if people are influenced to improve their health. But it’s a step further than bluetiful and a step closer to worse things to come. For example, a new shade of silver called silverbosity.

This is much more alarming. It’s a subliminal reminder that silence is golden. In other words, don’t talk too much. Hey, elementary school kids, go stand in a straight line and shut up. Crayola will do your talking for you – and your thinking. Is the company really trying to indoctrinate children? Here’s a clue. The new Crayola corporate theme song may soon be “The Color Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round.”

And don’t think this conspiracy is limited to America and the English language. It’s global! Rumor has it that Crayola will introduce another new crayon in Japan in the near future. It’s also a new shade of blue. And it’s named for the color your body will turn if you don’t submit to Crayola’s authority. It’s called cyannara.

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