On 14-02-20 03:14 AM, Lou Burnard wrote:
> On 20/02/14 11:09, Matthew James Driscoll wrote:
>> ... he proposes to use <person> for fictional characters, something
>> for which it was never intended.
> Um, not strictly true: it is intended for that purpose as several
> examples in the Guidelines attest. However I entirely share Matthew's
> skepticism about the wisdom of using <person> for <person-in-disguise>.
There is by no means a clear distinction between a real person and a
fictional person; "real" people appear in fiction all the time doing
things they never really did. In some contexts (biblical "history", for
instance), it's impossible to know whether a figure in a text represents
a genuine historical figure or not; wars are fought over such things.
Was Jesus real? How about Noah or Jonah? What about Homer? Do I don't
think it makes sense to say that <person> can only be used for "real"
people, although it may not be appropriate for person-in-disguise.
David and I had a brief exchange offline along similar lines. What we're
really talking about is the idea of a persona rather than a person. I
suggested that as soon as we start considering this, we almost
inevitably slide into judgements with regard to the ascendency of one
personality or role over another, which may or may not be justifiable,
and may or may not align with the putative views of the people or
characters concerned. For instance, if an upstanding member of society
has an alter-ego who is a serial killer (complete with fake name, phony
id, etc.), then the serial killer surely exists as a "person" from the
point of view of the community being preyed on; and while perhaps we
might justifiably claim that the person's "real" identity is their
everyday persona, when the killer is unmasked, most people in the
community would probably feel that his "real" identity was as the
killer, and that his everyday persona was an assumed disguise. The
killer himself might feel that way, even though he perhaps only inhabits
the secret persona for a small proportion of his life.
> Oh, and I have seen Syd and David in the same room together -- of course
> one of them might have been an imposter.