That’s not my name

2 08 2019

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

1 John 1:1

The power to name is one of the most elemental powers: to name is to identity, and to identify is to place.

If I name you as X, I’m identifying you as belonging to a particular kind, a particular history, as having a particular potential, a particular worth.

I’m claiming a knowledge of you and over you; even if I’m not conscious of the power of the claim, the power remains, nonetheless.

This sounds portentous—I certainly write as if it is—and it can be: anyone who’s ever been the target of slur knows the sting of bad naming. But it can also be affectionate, silly, a form of play; it can divide, bind, clarify, obscure, demean, liberate, and on and on.

Any power worth its salt is a trickster.

~~~

All of this is a preamble; now let’s see if I follow up.

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