Names (of people)

Misc ideas

  • Talk about naming yourself after things you'd like to be associated with
    • Examples:
      • Stalin actually had a bunch of different names during his life
      • Mystery
      • Style

re: my decision to legally change to solely my middle name

- names can have associations; they can bring to mind things (or people).

- if you named your kid "hitler" or "rapist" he would have bad associations tied to his name. i've heard of a girl whose family name was "Seaman" and whose parents named her something that ended up as "Floey". not smart.

- in the US there has been a huge influx of poor south/central american immigrants in recent years, to the point where spanish names seem to be partially associated with "poor person you won't be able to understand". this association doesn't exist in south american countries or spain because everybody there has spanish names and speaks spanish.

- names are pretty arbitrary; most of my friends have anglicized names (e.g. one of my good friends was born in Korea and has the Korean name "Joong-Bae" but is known in the US as "John"; another good friend was born "Akinola" in Nigeria but is known in the US as "Junior"). i don't attach much importance to my name, so it's one area where i have little problem conforming to those around me.

- if you look at hyper-competitive image-focused job markets in the US (e.g. Hollywood, Congress), you'll see a LOT of people who have anglicized their names (e.g. Charlie Sheen was born Carlos Estevez; Chuck Norris was born Carlos Norris; Cary Grant was born Archibald Leach, Olivia Husseywas born Olivia Osuna and has a story very similar to mine). you see far fewer people with difficult-to-pronounce or long names. necessity is the mother of invention, so it seems plausible that these people are doing this for good reason. you can find an impressive list of celebrities who've changed their names by visiting this link: ... eal-names/

- my college changed its name (from "Trenton State College" to "The College of New Jersey") to get away from the associations that exist with the words "Trenton" and "State", and I think it was a good decision. Trenton is one of the most dangerous cities in the country, and Trenton State Prison is where they were keeping the Iceman.

- just as people born in the US are given english names to fit in, i was named "pablo nathan moretto" because i was born in argentina and my parents expected to raise me there.

- in addition to all this, i frequently meet people who have never heard of the name "pablo" and think i've said "bob" when they hear me say it.

- when i was around 13 my grandfather (Jeremy Wailes) gave me a leatherman with "PNWM" engraved on it: Pablo Nathan Wailes Moretto. so at the moment it seems reasonable to me to go by the english version of my name while i'm associating mostly with english-speaking people, and my spanish/italian name when i'm associating with spanish-speaking people.

- the process feels awkward, but so did getting braces.

- i reserve the right to change my mind, though

- also: if you're wondering how to address me - If you learned my name as "Pablo", or if you haven't met me but self-identify as primarily a member of a Spanish-speaking culture (eg you prefer speaking Spanish), then I'm indifferent between "Pablo", "Pab(s)", and "Nathan", but I'd rather not be introduced to others as "Pab(s)", and I'd rather not be called "Nate". Otherwise I would prefer to be called "Nathan". In case you're curious, I legally changed my name so that my driver's license, social security card, and passport say "Nathan Wailes".

Misc Links
2014.03.27 - The Economist - Names and wages ... -and-wages

re: remembering names

we live in a tricky situation nowadays because we move around so much and meet so many new people that it is much harder to remember people's names now than it was in the past (when you'd know maybe 100 people for your entire life). People will often feel offended if they remember your name and you don't remember theirs. They should really come out with some kind of iPhone app that would solve this problem. In the future it might be possible to have a camera attached to your eye (on a contact lens or something) that will scan the person's face and immediately remind you what their name is and how you know him via an implant in your ear.