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Changing your Name


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#1 daunce lynam

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 02:24 PM

I was just reading a short article about actors and their original names. It is easy to see why most of them do that, for marquee purposes, but saddening to see how many young actors still change their names, it seems, just because their original ones are "too Jewish." i have always liked the actress Tovah Feldshuh, not just for her terrific acting, but for her "too Jewish" name. And who knows, she may have been born Jane Smith.

I never thought of changing my name. On marrying it was pretty easy to decide to keep one name that is usually misspelled, rather than adopt another which is always misspelled and mispronounced. I get to use both names legally and informally.

I also read a hilarious Gene Weingarten piece about the awful "unique" weirdly spelled names people are giving their babies these days. I foresee a spike in employment for paralegals working in deed-poll name changes in 18 years.

Adopting a username online must be a matter for deep thought, and I wonder how soon some get tired of the original ones they picked. Negative Meat Popsicle comes to mind, along with Frolicsome Quipster and many others.( Ninth Doctor is exempted from this speculation, there is no getting tired of the Ninth or any of the Doctors, anymore than there is getting tired of London, or of life).

#2 daunce lynam

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 03:00 PM

Also I would add that I think Xray's username is totally apt. It describes her way of honing in on an issue with specific focus, plus being the name of a good hockey helmet! which she did not know when she chose it (a postmodern touch). Also it is convenient for her correspondents to address her just as X without writing out a whole long name.

#3 Selene

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 03:08 PM

Also I would add that I think Xray's username is totally apt. It describes her way of honing in on an issue with specific focus, plus being the name of a good hockey helmet! which she did not know when she chose it (a postmodern touch). Also it is convenient for her correspondents to address her just as X without writing out a whole long name.


I agree that here "handle" is reflective of her intellectual approach to argument and thinking.

It also allows me to call her Madame X, but can't decide whether she would be Lana Turner, or, Tuesday Weld.
However, those thoughts are, of course, X rated!
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#4 daunce lynam

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 03:21 PM


Also I would add that I think Xray's username is totally apt. It describes her way of honing in on an issue with specific focus, plus being the name of a good hockey helmet! which she did not know when she chose it (a postmodern touch). Also it is convenient for her correspondents to address her just as X without writing out a whole long name.


I agree that here "handle" is reflective of her intellectual approach to argument and thinking.

It also allows me to call her Madame X, but can't decide whether she would be Lana Turner, or, Tuesday Weld.However, those thoughts are, of course, X rated!


I would go for Tuesday, just because she had one of the great screen names of all time,. I hope our X will be marking the spot for a long time to come,

#5 Selene

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 03:57 PM

See now Carol ...you created a terrible image in my mind ...

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"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#6 daunce lynam

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 04:33 PM

See now Carol ...you created a terrible image in my mind ...

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Awwww.

#7 Michael E. Marotta

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 01:50 AM

Doris Day was Doris Kappelhof and the family now called "Windsor" ditched "Saxe-Coburg-Gotha" for politcal reasons, as did their cousins the Battenbergs (Mountbatten). In the movie Back to the Future, Doc Brown said that his family name was "von Braun" but they changed it duriing World War I.

Many immigrants Americanized their names when they left the old country behind. It is famous among sociologists that Robert King Merton was Meyer Robert Schkolnick as a child. (His father was Aaron Schkolnickoff, officially identified at his port of entry in the United states as Harrie Skolnik. Wikipedia here.) The story goes that Merton performed magic shows and initially called himself "Merlin" a common moniker among amateur teen performers, so he spun it to Merton. Applying to college, he added "King." And yes, anti-Semitism was a motivating factor: he had his sociology down early in life. (Speaking of "King" Martin Luther King is MLK or "malik" the word for king.) Natalie Portman (Mrs. Darth Vader) was Natalie Herschlag on her scientific publications, but took Portman not to avoid the ethnic identification but to thank her aunt and also to protect her real name should she bomb on stage and need to return to science.

Among actors, stage names were an easy tradition. But the pen name is also known among writers. In science fiction, many women hid behind initials or men's names, at least until modern times -- though J. K. Rowling is an easy data point from our own time. Nora Roberts is also J. D. Robb, just as Stephen King is Richard Bachman. It lets an author explore a new genre.
(On a lighter note, I had Stephen King's "Richard Bachman" confused with Richard S. Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull and several more serious books about aviation.)

Then, there is the nom de guerre: "Swamp Fox" and "Mad Anthony Wayne" folliowing in the long tradition of men known only as The Hawk and The Raven, Bluebeard and Blackbeard, if not Dread Pirate Roberts. (In For Whom the Bell Tolls, Robert Jordan is called "Ingles" by his republican comrades.) Nikolai Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Stalin ... revolutionaries hide their identities from the police and the state and the police state. Mallory's Le Morte d'Arthur had combat between knights known by their armour: Red, Black, Green... but it got funny enough that we parodied that to Peuce, Madras, and Paisley.

As for online names, I have been "mercury" since 1984 when I got my first account on my college's DEC VAX. Scorpio was taken. When "mercury" is taken I can be "hermes." My gmail name is mike49mercury. In addition to being the messenger of Olympus, Mercury was the patron god of merchants (and thieves - it can be so hard to tell them apart sometimes). However, in recent years, I just settled on my real name in some form, depending on what the board software allows and prefers and of course if there are any other Marottas there. (Google Michael Marotta sometime. I am not the cabaret singer or any of the dentists.)

Mike M.
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