Saturday, February 2, 2013

naming names

Would it be too precious to name a baby, "Nameless?"

More to the point, would it be allowed?

Several countries seem to have actual rules and regs about what parents can name their kids ... as if the tussles between parents were not enough when it comes to naming their latest bundle of joy.

"Osama bin Laden," "Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii" "4Real," and "Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116" have all been ruled unacceptable in various places as has "Akuma" (devil).

Slipping through the cracks of social restriction have been "Cholera Plague," "King's Judgement," "Noun," "Comma" and even "Semicolon."

Even setting aside the appropriateness of naming a human being, naming is an odd business. Every day is filled with names -- for cars or houses or birds or wars or love or enlightenment or pitch forks or mountains or ... endless names taken for granted and used to some effect. Names are assumed to have some accuracy. Endless assumptions oiling social intercourse.

But assumptions have their prices. For example, a "rock" is hardly a rock and "love" is hardly love. And this disconnect between what is assumed and what is can nourish loneliness and doubt: If love is not "love," then what is it?

On the one hand, none of this is a big deal. There are endless examples of human beings who lead their lives relying on names and the control they assert ... and going to their graves unimpeded.

But, on the other hand, I think maybe there is something to be said for getting things straight: Nothing has a name and things without names are none the worse for wear. Naming is not naughty, but its playful, tentative nature deserves to be observed.

Nothing has a name.

If you doubt this, just look at the newborn lying in a cradle.

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