On Sat, Jul 9, 2011 at 15:34, Padraic Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> (I'm sure you can think of a dozen such people off the top
>> of your
>> head) and someone who is legally mononymic.
> Actually, I rather doubt I could, although if you named some I could
> probably say I've at least heard of them! As for stage names, I do in fact
> *strongly* differentiate between these as artistic affectations and
> real names, whether binymic, mononymic or otherwise.

Oh? How do you feel about Molière, Voltaire, Sting, Eminem, Lula,
Teller, Oprah, Madonna, Liberace, Cher, …?

Do you even know which of those are state-recognized mononyms and
which are "merely" artistic affectations? Does it matter?

> This is why many legal forms have places for nicknames and aliases. You're
> in a different situation because you chose to make your face name into your
> legal name and (I gather) decided not to keep any former names, surnames,
> middle names, etc.

I intend to retain both "Sai Emrys" and my birthname as DBAs purely
for backwards compatibility purposes. But yes, I don't intend to use
them as identity.

Again though, I'm chary of this seeming supposition of yours that my
"real" name is somehow determined by what's on my DMV identification,
rather than by what I'm called IRL by the vast majority of people I
interact with.

> I truly do not see this as a priviledge of the few. That few, apart from
> actors and that ilk decide to do what you did is really neither here nor
> there. You simply did something that we all have the right to do, should
> we so choose.

Well put.

As a parallel example, consider Japanese _mon_ / _kamon_. (cf WP)
Again these were primarily held by two categories of people: nobility…
and entertainers. ;-)

> For what little it's worth, I don't see entertainers as people for whom
> any kind of priviledge is reserved. They really are, to my way of thinking,
> about as irrelevant a group of people as you could ask for. That we, as a
> culture, choose to fawn over them like they're special has always been a
> great mystery to me.

Likewise, but here I take the queer theorist's definition of
'privilege'. I don't have to agree with it to point out that it very
clearly exists. :-P

> Well, obviously, the name given to one at (or before) birth is an
> important one -- but it isn't really *YOUR* name. It's the name someone
> else decided to call you in a time when you could make the choice for
> yourself. Usually, this name says something about your heritage or your
> family. It might be the name of an ancestor or a combination of names or
> even a mingling of names into one new name. Some names are I think ill-
> chosen or ill-crafted, but in the end, it's not really *YOURS*.

That's certainly how I feel about it — and why I think the tradition
of "childhood names" vs self-determined adult "real" names is a good

But I also think that, as far as I can tell at least, others don't
feel this way; they do seem to identify with their birthnames.

>> It's not much better than the Roman practice of calling
>> their kids by ordinal numbers.
> But in an age where infant and child mortality, even for those who could
> afford to hire a quack, er, doctor, naming by numbers might make some
> sense. Why bother with a really brilliant name, only to have the kid
> die in a couple years?


Maybe, but you could at least name 'em something better once they're four? :-P

Or just pick from the standard set of cultural praenomen and actually
remember your kids' names rather than their birthorder, even if half
of 'em do die young…

> It's interesting to note that *many* people (myself included, obvsiouly)
> choose online names, and even throw-away online names for ourselves. But
> probably few would go so far as to change our given names to one we've
> chosen for ourselves!

Quite. I think it's also the case though that few choose handles that
are also plausible names, or derivable thereto. :-P

(Exception: MegaZone (.org), a fellow mononymous person, whose name is
in fact derived from his handle. ;-)

> Understood -- mind you, I didn't ask for your oldname! I was just
> clarifying that I never knew it and couldn't ever recall you having
> said what it was.

I didn't think you were. ;-)

> Interesting indeed! I had always assumed that you were Welsh! :S

*laugh* Nope. Born in US of naturalized Russian immigrants.

> It appears you did your due dilligence! Of all the "inner names" I've
> thought of for myself, none of them have passed these tests. Mind you,
> that's not to say my given name does either!

Care to elaborate on this (at length)? I shared mine, your turn. ;-)

> One thing I do know is that I would not choose mononymy for myself. And
> when I was considering a legal move, I would have changed my surname
> rather than drop it entirely.

Is this out of wariness of the pragmatic issues, or out of a priori
identity (or something else)?

> Funny -- it was upon being married that I thought, in passing, of changing
> my surname again! But then again, those issues of licenses and passports
> and other paraphernalia of officialdom got in the way.

Yeah, I'm getting all that paperwork done now. Hopefully it'll be all
settled in a month or so. A bit of a PITA maybe but hardly that huge a
price to pay for the benefit.

> As for your question what I'd call myself if there were no hinderances --
> that I really couldn't say. I haven't found a Name that entirely suits.
> I've used Elemtilas as an online name for quite a while, but while I think
> it's a lovely enough name, it's not entirely suitable as an actual Name.
> (It is a Talarian word meaning "starry heavens", and in that part of the
> World can be used as a name. Obconlang: the Talarians differentiate between
> the daytime heavens, amtar; the nighttime heavens, elemtilas; and cloud
> obscured sky, hanaffar.) You're certainly welcome to call me Elemtilas
> here; but my given name will do as well.

I think it's quite a lovely name indeed. Why is it unsuitable? What
salient others are there?

- Sai