Name Quotes 89: Shelley, Kelly, Bill

Dram EP

From an Uproxx article about DRAM’s most recent EP:

Virginian rap crooner DRAM returned last night with the release of his new, three-song EP, That’s A Girl’s Name. Produced and co-written by Josh Abraham and Oligee, the EP’s title refers to DRAM’S real name, Shelley Massenburg-Smith, which means “that’s a girl’s name” is probably a phrase he heard quite a bit growing up.

(“DRAM” is an acronym for “Does Real Ass Music.” DRAM’s goldendoodle also has an interesting name: Idnit [vid] — “as in, idnit so cute.”)

DRAM with his dog, Idnit

From an Us Magazine article about Matthew McConaughey’s new book Greenlights:

The Texas native also revealed that when he was born his father wasn’t there. Instead, he explained that James “called my mom and said, ‘Only thing I have to say is if it’s a boy, don’t name him Kelly.’”

From a New York Times article about the marriage of Sugar Good, a Dunkin’ Donuts manager, to one of her drive-through customers:

A year would go by before she gathered the courage to pass him her sprinkle-bedecked business card with his breakfast in September 2018. But when she did, it came as a relief to both. The man, John Thompson, a recently retired Marine working as a car salesman in Oklahoma City, had been wondering how he was going to figure out what her real name was.

“When I started going through the drive-through, I noticed she would smile with her eyes, and I thought, maybe if I read the receipt I can see what her name is,” he said. “But it said ‘Sugar No. 7.'” He figured Sugar must have been a reference to how he likes his coffee. With the card, which listed her cellphone number at the bottom, she cleared up the mystery — as well as her own case of the blues.

(I discovered this one via Nancy Friedman — thank you!)

From a Harper’s Bazaar article about genderless beauty brands:

“As a culture, we are realizing that gender is no longer a fixed concept,” says Sam Cheow, senior vice president of corporate innovation and product development at the Estée Lauder Companies, which owns brands like M.A.C, Tom Ford Beauty, Le Labo, and Frédéric Malle . . . Cheow points to evidence that the needle is moving forward: the growing backlash surrounding gender-reveal parties; a rise in gender-neutral baby names (for example, in 2018, 51 percent of “Charlies” were female); and the arrival of Q, the world’s first genderless voice assistant.

From a Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources blog post entitled “The Tiffany Problem“:

Wait, what? No way there’s a Tiffany in this book! Not when there are other women running around with convincing names like Blanchefleur, Isolde, and Ermentrude.

[…]

[T]he Tiffany Problem describes the tension between historical fact and the average, everyday person’s idea of history. So even though authors may research carefully and want to include historically accurate information in their book—like a medieval character named Tiffany—a popular audience likely won’t buy it.

From a piece in Blue Ridge Outdoors about not wanting a trail name:

I remember a guy named Bill. His view on trail names mirrored mine. He didn’t have one, didn’t want one. He was thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, not seeking a new identity. As he walked the white-blazed path, he simply introduced himself as “Bill”.

The most-often stated reply to him was, “What’s your trail name?”

His standard answer, “I don’t have a trail name. My name is just Bill.”

He became “Just Bill.”

From a Pitchfork interview with The Good Place actress D’Arcy Carden:

I put an apostrophe in my name that wasn’t there before, like Smashing Pumpkins bassist D’Arcy Wretzky, because of how influential this band was to me. D’Arcy was just the epitome of cool to me. In 1993, I was really into alternative and grunge music, and whereas the Nirvanas and the Pearl Jams felt so masculine, there was something sweeter and lighter about Smashing Pumpkins. The fact that they had a girl in their band was huge for me and my friends. I learned the guitar part to “Today,” and it made me feel like such a badass. It was like, “Wow, I can play guitar!” But, of course, anybody can play the beginning of “Today.”

(Name Quotes #73 mentioned another Good Place actress…)

From an amNewYork article about Broadway actress Tovah Feldshuh (born Terri Sue Feldshuh in 1952):

What ever happened to Terri Sue Feldshuh?

“I fell in love with a Christian boy, Michael Fairchild, who didn’t want to kiss a Terri Sue. He said: ‘Terri Sue doesn’t fit you at all. What’s that other name of yours? Tovah? Now that’s a name!'”

(Her stage name was initially “Terri Fairchild,” according to Wikipedia.)

Name Quotes 88: Booker, Beyoncé, Beatrice

From an interview with Beyoncé’s mother Tina Knowles-Lawson — the youngest of seven siblings — on the podcast In My Head:

A lot of people don’t know that Beyoncé is my last name. It’s my maiden name. My name was Celestine Beyoncé, which, at that time, was not a cool thing, to have that weird name.

[…]

But, all of us have a different spelling. I think me and my brother, Skip, were the only two that had B-E-Y-O-N-C-E.

And, it’s interesting — and it shows you the times — because we asked my mother when I was grown, I was like, ‘Why is my brother’s name spelled B-E-Y-I-N-C-E?’

[…]

[M]y mom’s reply to me was like, ‘That’s what they put on your birth certificate.’

So I said, ‘Well, why didn’t you argue and make them correct it?’

She said, ‘I did one time, the first time, and I was told: ‘Be happy that you’re getting a birth certificate.” Because, at one time, Black people didn’t get birth certificates. They didn’t even have a birth certificate. Because it meant that you really didn’t exist, you know, you weren’t important. It was that subliminal message.

And so I understood that that must have been horrible for her, not to even be able to have her children’s names spelled correctly.

So it was an odd name, it was a weird name, and they were like, ‘How dare you have a French name.’ Like, ‘We’re gonna screw this up real good for you.’ And that’s what they did. So we all have different spellings.

From an Express article that reveals the Queen’s preference for the name Beatrice over the name Annabel:

The names of royal babies are traditionally approved by the Queen. But the monarch is said to have rejected the Duke and Duchess of York’s choice of Annabel for their first child.

The Queen found Annabel too “yuppie”, The Sun reported, and instead suggested Beatrice.

The name Beatrice was royal enough for the head of state but unusual enough to please Sarah, according to the newspaper.

Two quotes from an article in which the author argues that distinctively black names in America emerged long before the civil rights movement:

[I]n the 1920 census, 99% of all men with the first name of Booker were black, as were 80% of all men named Perlie or its variations. We found that the fraction of blacks holding a distinctively black name in the early 1900s is comparable to the fraction holding a distinctively black name at the end of the 20th century, around 3%.

…and second:

[W]e found that names like Alonzo, Israel, Presley and Titus were popular both before and after emancipation among blacks. We also learned found that roughly 3% of black Americans had black names in the antebellum period – about the same percentage as did in the period after the Civil War.

But what was most striking is the trend over time during enslavement. We found that the share of black Americans with black names increased over the antebellum era while the share of white Americans with these same names declined, from more than 3% at the time of the American Revolution to less than 1% by 1860.

From an article in Time about middle names:

Middle names provide an opportunity for people to shift identities throughout their life: the author George Sand wrote that her mother, who had “three baptismal names,” used each of them at various points throughout her life. Pablo Picasso was baptized with a string of more than a dozen names and though, like many people with multiple names, he wasn’t known by all of them, he did test out different combinations: initially signing paintings as P. Ruiz, then trying P. Ruiz Picasso before sticking with Picasso.

From the 2004 book Uqalurait: An Oral History of Nunavut:

Three essential parts made a human in the Inuit view: body, soul, and name. A nameless child was not fully human; giving it a name, whether before or after birth, made it whole. Inuit did not have family surnames. Instead, each person’s name linked him or her to a deceased relative or family friend.

[…]

Is this reincarnation? Elders point out that it is not, for it is not the soul, but rather the spiritual element that is the name — the name-soul — that joins the child, remaining with him and protecting him throughout his life.

(The word in the book’s title, uqalurait, refers to a type of snowdrift with a tip that resembles a tongue (uqaq). It’s a pun because the word for “tongue” in inuttitut (the Canadian dialect of inuktitut) is also the word for “language” — very fitting for a book of oral history.)

From a Bon Appetit article about a particular dijon mustard product:

I mostly love Rich Country because…it’s called Rich Country, which I’m sure you’ll agree is a pretty unnecessarily epic name for a condiment. It sounds like the next great Rick Ross album. Or a Keith Urban-themed Southern waterpark. Or a new bourbon endorsed by a retired pro-wrestler. But it’s not! It’s mustard. And it’s helped to clarify for me that I want my condiments to do more than simply enhance the taste of food I’m preparing—I want them to enhance my life, to spark joy every time I pull them out of the fridge. Indeed, every time I reach for my new favorite mustard, I can’t help but whisper the name aloud as if I were starring in a commercial for it—R-r-r-r-iiiiiiich Coooooountry—and laugh out loud while I’m making lunch. (This could be the quarantine brain talking, but still. It’s the little things, people.)

(Speaking of dijon mustard…)

For more name-related quotes, check out the name quotes category.

Name Quotes 87: Kamala, Simon, Genghis

From a recent CNN article about how to pronounce Sen. Kamala Harris’s name:

Harris wrote in the preface of her 2019 memoir, “The Truths We Hold,” “First, my name is pronounced ‘comma-la,’ like the punctuation mark. It means ‘lotus flower,’ which is a symbol of significance in Indian culture. A lotus grows underwater, its flower rising above the surface while its roots are planted firmly in the river bottom.

From a 1982 Washington Post article about actors Lucie Arnaz and Laurence Luckinbill:

Lucie Arnaz, whose illustrious pedigree is evident in her name, and actor Laurence Luckinbill were Simonized several years ago.

He was on Broadway doing Neil Simon’s “Chapter Two.” She was on Broadway doing Neil Simon’s “They’re Playing Our Song.” They met at Joe Allan’s, the famous Broadway restaurant, and started seeing each other entr’acte.

[…]

Twenty months ago, they had a son, whom they named…Simon.

From a 2015 Indian Express article in which Rebel Wilson talks about her name:

A little girl named Rebel sang at my parents’ wedding. My mum is really big on theme names like that – my sisters are called Liberty and Annachi, and my brother is Ryot. I did pretty well in comparison. I love it.

You can’t be a shrinking violet if you have a name like Rebel. It gives me an edge and helps me not give in to my fears. I try to live that way.

From a 1998 BBC article about All Saint singer Melanie Blatt:

Melanie and her boyfriend, musician Stuart Zender [of Jamiroquai], revealed in a magazine interview that they intend to name their daughter Lily Ella [sic]: Lily after the first flowers he bought her during their courtship and Ella after the music legend Ella Fitzgerald.

(Technically, her name is Lilyella.)

From a case study (pdf) of Amtrak’s automated customer service representative, “Julie,” launched in 2001:

Julie became popular with callers and even garnered national acclaim through blogs, YouTube videos, and as an answer on the TV quiz game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Her persona was even featured on Saturday Night Live. “I’ve been surprised about how attached people have gotten to Amtrak Julie,” says the woman who provides the voice of Julie, Julie Stinneford. “I find it funny. Because they’re not really talking to me. They’re talking to a computer.”

From a 2019 NPR interview with musical duo (and identical twins) Tegan and Sara, who originally called themselves “Sara and Tegan”:

We changed the name only because we had a manager [who] gave us one good piece of advice during that time. He said, “When people say ‘Sara and Tegan,’ it all blends together into one word and they don’t know what you’re saying. But if you say ‘Tegan and Sara,’ you have to enunciate. So I think you should switch your names around.” So we did.

From a recent Crunchyroll article about parents who named their son Asta after the anime character (Black Clover):

We came up with that name early on but had other names we considered like Natsu, Sora, Roxas, and Yuki.

From a 2007 Times Colonist [Victoria, British Columbia] article about unusual baby names:

The time was when naming a baby Conan or Calamity could doom a kid to years of schoolyard drubbings, but if Genghis Charm Usher’s experience is any indication, the times are changing.

Genghis, 13, can’t recall any friction caused by his unusual name, pointing out “that you don’t have to have a weird name to get teased.”

[…]

“I love my name. Once they get my name, they don’t forget it,” he says.

Name Quotes 86: Sena, Fennis, LeBron

Time for the monthly quote-post!

From the speech “How Everything Turns Away” by children’s book author Lois Lowry (b. 1937):

My first photograph…or the first photograph of me…was taken, by my father, when I was 36 hours old. My name was different then. They had named me Sena, for my Norwegian grandmother, and that was my name until she was notified; then she sent a telegram insisting that they give me an American name, and so I was renamed Lois Ann for my father’s two sisters.

From an article about baby-naming in Armenia:

Armenia does not have a censorship for names, while its neighbor Azerbaijan has. There are three categories of names in Azerbaijan: “allowed,” “undesirable,” and “prohibited.” No comment is necessary for the first group. The second group includes funny and bizarre names. The third group refers to Armenian names.

On the names of spirit guides, from the book Journey of Souls (1994) by LBL hypnotherapist Dr. Michael Newton:

The personal names my clients attach to their guides range from ordinary, whimsical, or quaint-sounding words, to the bizarre. Frequently, these names can be traced back to a specific past life a teacher spent with a student. Some clients are unable to verbalize their guide’s name because the sound cannot be duplicated, even when they see them clearly while under hypnosis. I tell these people it is much more important that they understand the purpose of why certain guides are assigned to them, rather than possessing their names. A subject may simply use a general designation for their guide such as: director, advisor, instructor, or just “my friend.”

From a 1987 Sports Illustrated interview with basketball player Fennis Dembo:

With apologies to World B. Free, Shaquille O’Neal and, yes, even God Shammgod, when it comes to staking a claim to basketball’s alltime name, Fennis Dembo enjoys Jordanlike distance from the pretenders. “I’m always a bit stunned that people still remember me,” says Fennis, whose mother, Clarissa, selected his name, along with that of his twin sister, Fenise, as a declaration that after 11 children, her childbearing days were finis. “I tried to set up an E-mail account, but two other guys–basketball fans, I guess–were already using my name in their address.”

From a 2018 interview with basketball player LeBron James [vid]:

I still regret giving my 14-year-old my name […] When I was younger, obviously, I didn’t have a dad. So, my whole thing was, like, whenever I have a kid, not only is he gonna be a junior, but I’m gonna do everything that this man didn’t do. They’re gonna experience things that I didn’t experience, and the only thing I can do is give them the blueprint, and it’s up to them to take their own course.

(LeBron, Jr., is nicknamed “Bronny” — no doubt to differentiate son from father, but perhaps also to take some of the pressure off. Here’s a post about how LeBron James has affected baby names over the years.)

From a 2016 Maxim interview with movie director Ron Howard:

Q: Is it true that your kids’ middle names come from the locations where they were conceived?

A: David Letterman got that out of me, and my kids will never let me forget it. My daughter, Bryce [Dallas Howard], was conceived in Dallas, and our twins [Jocelyn Carlyle Howard and Paige Carlyle Howard] were conceived while we were doing a publicity tour at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City. For the last one [Reed Cross Howard], we were on Lower Cross Road, so we decided to go with Cross. “Volvo” wouldn’t be such a good middle name.

From a review of the memoir The Kennedy Chronicles by former MTV veejay Kennedy (full name: Lisa Kennedy Montgomery):

According to Kennedy, her secret dalliance with the then-married lead singer and frontman of the Goo Goo Dolls led to one of the group’s most well-known songs, the 1995 mega-hit “Name.” To Kennedy, the lyrics hit a little to close to home: “Did you lose yourself somewhere out there? Did you get to be a star?” And then “You could hide beside me/ Maybe for a while. And I won’t tell no one your name.”

She writes: “When I asked him about it he indeed admitted the inspiration and told me there was no way all we’d shared wasn’t going to show up in his writing.”

Here’s the song:

For more name-related quotes, check out the name quotes category.

Name Quotes 85: Karen, Blane, Friedemann

pretty in pink, duckie, blane, movie, 1980s, quote,

From the 1986 movie Pretty in Pink, Duckie’s reaction to learning that Andie is dating a guy named Blane:

Blane? His name is Blane? That’s a major appliance, that’s not a name!

From sociolinguist Robin Queen, an explanation of how ‘Karen’ went from a popular baby name to a stand-in for white entitlement:

By tracing the origins of Karen up until the Central Park incident, you can see how two separate threads of meaning converged to make Karen the label for an officious, entitled, white woman.

The first comes from African American communities, where certain generic first names have long been a shorthand for “a white woman to be wary of because she won’t hesitate to wield privilege at the expense of others.” Around 2018, people started posting pictures of white women calling the police on the mundane activities of black people. These individuals got labeled with hashtags like #bbqbecky, #permitpatti, #golfcartgail and #cornerstonecaroline.

[…]

The second thread emerges from stand-up comedy and Reddit. In 2005, Dane Cook performed a sketch comedy piece in which Karen is “that friend nobody likes.” In the sketch, she’s described as “always a douche.” This portrayal of a “Karen” is less about her racism and contains more gender-based critiques, which might be why some continue to call the Karen meme sexist.

New Jersey police officer Brian Porter — who delivered two babies during the first half of 2002 — regarding his success so far in having a baby named after him:

0-2.

(In the case of the second baby, the baby’s father and brother were both already named Bryan.)

From the “pejorative names” section of a 2019 academic article called From Enslavement to Emancipation: Naming Practices in the Danish West Indies:

“[I]njurious” names [were] intended to mark slaves out by drawing upon naming forms not used by the dominant class. For instance, some are not personal names, but refer instead to places (London, Madrid, Dublin), animals (Zebra, Fox), or qualities (Amor). Another popular category includes names of classical figures (Cicero, Ancilla, Cupido). Such names functioned as cruel jokes: for instance, Scipio, a common male slave name, referred to the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, whose agnomen, Africanus, meant “the African,” in praise of his triumphs in battle in North Africa. Names of Greek and Roman heroes, philosophers, and orators were popular choices for male slaves, underlining their degradation and emasculation via their juxtaposition with these great men. Meanwhile, as Saidiya Hartman has noted, names like “Venus” for female slaves reflected and licensed the lasciviousness of European slave-owners toward African women, making such behaviors “sound agreeable.”

From the funny April Fools’ Day video Pronouncing Friedemann Findeisen like a Bad-Ass German by songwriter Friedemann Findeisen [FREE-day-mahn FIND-ei-zen]:

Welcome to this German tutorial on how to pronounce my name, Friedemann Findeisen. In the past, many of you have wondered why I have such an unusual name, and why it sounds so German. Well, I am German. You just can’t tell because my lederhosen aren’t in the shot.

From the National Geographic article “Who’s the First Person in history whose name we know?“:

[T]o my great surprise—the first name in recorded history isn’t a king. Nor a warrior. Or a poet. He was, it turns out…an accountant. In his new book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari goes back 33 centuries before Christ to a 5,000-year-old clay tablet found in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq).

[…]

It’s a receipt for multiple shipments of barley. The tablet says, very simply:

29,086 measures barley 37 months Kushim

(But we don’t know for sure that Kushim was a human name; it may have been a job title.)

A second theory, from the same article:

Dated to around 3100 B.C.—about a generation or two after Kushim—the tablet’s heading is, “Two slaves held by Gal-Sal.” Gal-Sal is the owner. Next come the slaves, “En-pap X and Sukkalgir.” So now we’ve got four names: an accountant, a slave owner, and two slaves.

(Some scholars are Team Kushim, other scholars are Team Gal-Sal.)