What’s your name, little girl?

21 09 2013

I’ve written some boneheaded things in my time.

For example, I wrote an editorial for The Daily Cardinal which began “Enough fucking around”, and proceeded to excoriate the Reagan administration for not doing enough to free the hostages in Iran.

And then that whole Iran-Contra thing broke. Yeah.

The narrative I wrote for/about my high school senior class, the one in which I told a tale involving every member of that class? There’s some nasty shit in there; in particular, a smirk about one guy who was sometimes picked on (and maybe a coupla’ of his friends, I don’t remember exactly) being the head of a gay motor-scooter club, or something similarly witless. It was a shitty thing to do: in the mid-1980s, to joke about someone being gay was really no joke at all, and I knew it, and did it anyway.

I’ve tried to avoid meanness since then, and although I do still have some problems with the kind of righteousness which got me in trouble with the hostages, I generally try to write what I’d stand behind, and stand behind what I’d write.

Two recent pieces at Lawyers, Guns & Money, about the names people give their kids, however, have reminded me of a more recent transgression. A coupla’ years ago Ta-Nehisi Coates posted something along these same lines, and a bunch of us jumped in with names we each found ridiculous. I contributed a number of names of people I had known (or known of) whose names were puns—stuff along the lines of Erasmus B. Dragon or Mike Easter.

I regret that now, and pretty much anything else I said about names, mostly because these are real people in the world. They bore no responsibility for their punned names, but because they happened to have crossed paths with me, those names were now held up for ridicule. It was a shitty thing to do, and I should have known better.

So while other LGM writers and commenters were having fun with all of the names they dislike, I couldn’t join in. Oh, there are definitely names I don’t like, but unlike the discussion about the horrors of ketchup, I thought, man, there are people out there with those names, who may love those names, and who are unlikely to shave the distinction between their names being mocked and their persons being mocked.

This doesn’t mean the writers and commenters at LGM are monsters of the universe, any more than I was a monster in writing what I did. Still, it’s a shitty thing to do.





That’s not my name

26 03 2011

Ima gonna start another blog. I think.

Yes, I already have two others—one for teaching and one for freelancing—but I’d like to set one up for my writing, one which is tied to my name. Although I’m still waffling on what to do with my writing, it probably wouldn’t kill me to have some kind of publicity page; print or electronic, writers gotta hustle.

I could use this blog, but I like the semi-anonymity of this joint. It’s not as if I’ve gone to great lengths to protect my identity*—I’ve eased waaaay up on that—but I don’t necessarily want this blog to be the first thing that pops up if someone runs a search on my name. I don’t think my students are all that interested in me and I doubt that any of my family members run searches on me, but I prefer the discretion afforded by pseudonymity, nonetheless.

So, the issue is: What to call the new blog? My given name is already taken, and first-initial-last-name has been reserved (I don’t think by me). I use a shortened version of my name for one of my e-mail addresses, so that’s a possibility.

Or I could go with something completely different. Oh, my name would be somewhere on the blog, but maybe I’d call it something completely different. One of my good poems is titled “Catching witches”; I considered that as a name.

I don’t know. The url can’t be too complicated, and should probably be SEO-friendly. And, what the hell, the title of the blog can be anything: I could register under shortened-version and call it something else.

Huh. I probably shouldn’t be thinking of this after 1:30 in the morning, and certainly not while I’m still hip-deep in this freelancing project. But, well, some shit’s happening with CUNY (namely, budget cuts) so I gotta get movin’ on other plans. I don’t really expect to make money slinging my own words, but, you know, if the stories are already cooked, why not serve ’em? I write to be read, after all.

Still: it’s after 1:30 in the morning.

I welcome your suggestions, whatever the time you read this.

*And chances are I would link the two blogs. Again, just that bit of distance between me and this moniker is all I want.