Monday, January 06, 2014

1275 Punctuated Names

1275 Punctuated Names

The politically correct crowd isn’t going to like this.

Hyphenated names are ungainly and sound silly.  And they create problems where no problems should be.

In the early days of the women’s movement, they became a standard fixture in the US.  Women felt -- rightly so in many cases -- that when they took their husband’s last name, they were losing part of their identity.

So, why not just keep your original last name even if it was your father’s, not your mother’s.

But it’s confusing.

It also seems to be a prerequisite for working at NPR.  Men and women both.

Takes time to say.  Rolls off the tongue with difficulty.  And if you’re writing about Richard Dyer-Bennet, what do you call him the second time you name him?  He preferred “Bennet.” Today, you mostly get blank stares when you ask.

Has the hyphenation fad gotten to newly married gay and lesbian couples?  In that case, do both people hyphenate, or only one? Which name comes first?  Adopting a kid or kids?  What will their last names be?  Smith?  Jones? Smith-Jones? Jones-Smith?

Then, there are names you expect to have a hyphen, but don’t.  Sandra Day O’Connor.  When you write a second reference about her, it’s “O’Connor.”  But no matter, it’s still a punctuated name, “O’.” (More about apostrophes later.)

And then there’s Billie Jean King.  You’d expect that to be Billie Jean Moffitt-King.  Advocate for women’s rights, and out of the closet since the filing of a nasty palimony suit against her in 1981.

So, hyphenating names has become commonplace but still confusing.

And what about men?  Wouldn’t hyphenating a man’s name be a tribute to the family of the woman he married?  (Would I be Richards-Wang or Wang-Richards?)




Now, about those apostrophes.  Irish men and women’s name that start O’ carry family names that also are county or town or area names.  So Sandra Day O’Connor’s late husband John had roots in Connaught, Ireland.



And it’s not worth arguing about because few people other than those with “O’” names know the O’ means “of” and sounds fine when pronounced with or without a brogue.



Shrapnel:

--Fiat has gained full ownership of Chrysler and hopes as a result it will be a global force in the auto industry by raising sales worldwide from the present 4.5 million units to 6 million mainly by doing what the other majors have done, invading China.  This may work.  But what would work better is to stop shipping tin crap.

--Customers in China’s Wal-Marts are all in a knot because they bought what they thought was donkey meat and it turned out to be fox.  Wal is thinking about a lawsuit against its supplier. Neither donkey nor fox taste “just like chicken.”

--Speaking of which, news reports say most chicken is contaminated with all kinds of germs and you’d better be sure to cook it to the 165 degree kill temperature.  But don’t go to extremes like washing the birds in hand cleaners that “kill 99.99%” of the contaminants or cooking “extra crispy” with a blowtorch.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR (W) 2014

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