Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"What's In a Name?


“What’s In a Name?”
By Ron Boat
If we regress to the 1590s, we’re introduced to an inquiry by ‘ol Bill Shakespeare. Act 2, scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet. In the thought of calling things by different names and the meaning thereof, would "a rose by any other name smell as sweet?"
In life, we’re all given names. I'm Ron, I have friends named Bruce and Lou, Marsha and Sue, Tracy and Tim. I know them by their names for the purpose of recognition and communicating. Names used to be… just names.
Names were/are distinctive identifiers telling who we’re talking about and who we know, who we were with or who did this and that. In olden days I would be Ron, son of Robert, and now we manage and make it through our daily lives with more simplicity and less formality. I remember being on a production once and there were 2 Rons running cameras. Yep, the shot assignments from the director got a bit messed up so… we started using our “nicknames.” I was/am RB or just Boat to my friends.
We can go back to England for the term “nickname” which meant: “also or added,” originally being “ekename.” But the term actually came from ancient Greece and Rome when nicknames were used as terms of affection: hupokorisma or meaning “calling by an endearing name.”
But soon, maybe in the early to mid 1900’s, names became less identifiers and more descriptive. An epithet of our lives. Joe Louis was the “Brown Bomber” and the feared “Louisville Lip” was Muhammad Ali. Charlie Parker was “Bird” and Frank was of course “ol Blue eyes.”
Some nicknames were taken from their appearance, some from their actions, capabilities or talents. But they were descriptions, describing the person with – or without – any implied affection.
I’d like to be “Ron the nice guy.” I know “Bruce the artist” and “Al the patriot.” But guys were also known for their personas such as “gentle Ben,” “Tom the jerk” or “Jerry that idiot.” Girls, it seems, have had a problem in that rarely do you hear about “Mary the genius” but more about “Sandy the slut” or “Jenny the whore” or Betty the tease”: Names with a more sexual overtone as well as negative implications.
A longtime friend and business partner saw life and people in forms of reality and truth. He told me in the 70s, “Ron, there are blacks and niggas, whites and honkies. It’s the individual that defines themselves not their race or color.” He himself was a black American and saw the good and bad in people coming from inside, not from their name or position in life, so it became a descriptor that labeled them usually by their own deeds.
There’s enough hated to go around in names like “Whitey” or “Cracker,” “Spic” and “Slant-eye” but when it comes down to it, stick and stones etc. etc. etc. It’s we the people, the individual, that must break out of any societal or self-imposed mold, make our mark, leave our impression and affect for good the status quo of society. It’s on us to be the best we can be whatever our name is.
We’ve certainly made a leap from Al Capone’s “Scarface”  to Cordozar Broadus Jr. as “Snoop Doggy Dogg,” “Snoopzilla,” “Snoop Dogg” and now, “Snoop Lion.” Hummmm.
But now we find that, the “descriptors” assigned to people have taken on a more sinister, darker and more negative characteristic. Ones that can indicate and project implied danger or deceit. The political arena is increasingly replete with people known for their ways, their actions, and their destructive course, and “described” not just named.
When Barry Soetoro aka Barack Obama was running for office, it was imperative that the middle name be dropped (to obviously escape unwanted, unintended associations and references?), but now in office it’s fully Barack Hussein Obama and we start to see how negative monikers can be applied, suggested – or earned. His past and present image and activities bring up nicknames such as Bathhouse Barry, Benghazi Barry, O’Dumbo and more.
Alliteration constantly weaves its way into our social and certainly political vocabulary with Michelle becoming ”the Mooch” or “Moochie” based on her extravagant, taxpayer fed spending habits. And “Harry the Hobbler” or the “Obstructer” is finally no longer the gatekeeper and in charge of blocking progress in the Senate, while “Benedict Boehner,” the “Traitor,” is continuing his unpopular stance as Speaker in the House.
A “Portmanteau” (a word you don’t hear much) is expressed in the names and references such as “Hitlery” and serve as a reference as well as associating some to others with less acceptability and more nefariousness in their actions and positions in the past – and possibly to their obscured, intentioned goals and purposes for the future.
So we might take note that names have made the natural – and possibly somewhat logical – progression from identifiers, to descriptors, to warnings. Barry the Destroyer or Obama the Tyrant, and associated names like “Socialist,” “Communist,” or “Progressive” all have their roots in reality and meanings that project an image of unwanted, forewarned impending futures for us as Americans. Add them to a proper name and the person’s documented (or hidden) history and agenda, and you see the implied and portrayed meaning of their personality and public façade.
We hear things in names and yet we’re also a visual people and we want to see things. It’s been said that the French eat with their tongues while Americans eat with their eyes. Meaning we are less influenced by the reality of some situations and experience a more “effected perception” through site and sound.
This is certainly evidenced in the fact that millions did not do their homework, their “reality check,” did not look beyond the “well spoken, clean African-American” candidate but instead took their voting lead from perceived and oblique benefits and goodwill portrayed in words and promises, rhetoric and the slogans like Hope and Change.
And of course the next slogan in the progression of political promotion for the American public in 2012 was a view ahead also known as Barack Obama’s newest campaign catchphrase, “Forward” - which also happens to be a Nazi marching song of the Hitler youth, Vorwärts! Vorwärts!
You can do your own research, find similarities that are not lost on these two world leaders with renowned names, but the effect on the American mindset, the uneasiness and uncertainty, the ultimate change in the American business and social landscape is occurring… and Mein Kampf  is rapidly immerging through our leader’s words, actions, descriptions, names and directives. Democrats should learn that words (and names) have meaning.
Juliet said in the 1590’s: “'Tis but thy name that is my enemy.”
But for us today, America needs to open its collective eyes, see what is real, not hear what’s proclaimed, for the real essence of truth from William of old is: “what matters is what something is, not what it is called” be it a rose or a comrade.
Could a tyrant by any other name transform America as easily? We’re seeing it.

 

2 comments:

steve m said...

I love the last 3 lines, I wonder where people's common sense has gone!

barb p said...

I certainly agree 'we' need to open our eyes and see what is real and what is an 'suggested promise'. I feel like we really had the wool pulled over our eyes' with Obama, maybe more than usual, but I also feel like that
has always been the actions of politicians...just my thoughts.