Thursday, January 28, 2010

Name Droppers

Stage names are an interesting phenomenon. Some of them work, and just sort of seem right - Elton John sells more records than "Reginald Dwight" would have, for example. However, famous name alterations like Mark Twain, Bob Dylan, David Bowie and Cher (not Lady Gaga though...that's a given Christian name) all have a somewhat catchy ring to them, something distinctive that makes an audience remember.

Some Facebook friends of mine have chosen to take this leap.

However, not in any clever or interesting way, mind you. Rather, it seems like a disturbing handful of people I know have chosen to professionally begin going by their first name followed by their middle name, and just CHOPPING their unique, potentially memorable last name. Now, I think this practice would be fine if said middle names were slightly unusual.

Sadly, these pen/stage names are all (ALL) extremely common, bland, and super American. Names are appearing like "Stephen Matthew", "Michelle Ann" and "Susan Ann". Immediately, images are aroused of this name printed below a sleek black and white headshot, being handed to a casting director for a Fabreeze commercial.

Now, if you truly want to distance yourself from your last name, that's one thing. But what a slap in the face to whatever ancestor shlepped onto Ellis Island with a pocket full of dreams (and probably dysentery) from the old country. "F***** you grampa! I'm gonna be a star!" you say. But unless you're a Smith or a Jones, last names are a distinctive label we are given at birth, something that was good enough for the people who made you. Granted, they never did a walk-on role in NCIS, but even if your last name has six Q's in a row, at least people might possibly remember that. "Robert John" sticks with you about as long as a brain freeze. Switch back guys, these stage name changes are like lazy nosejobs.

Plus, here is a series of quotes you will never hear:

"Oh hey, want to go see that new Peter Gary film? I hear he's good in it."

"Yo dawg, you gotta download Cynthia Jennifer's new single. It's phat/tight!"

"Hurry up, we're going to be late for the Greg Eugene concert!"

"I just finished reading Christina Katelyn's latest novel. It had me on the edge of my damn seat!"

I'd say "rant over", but I'm going to continue actually talking about this all week.


Michael William

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