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What's in a Name? - 61523
Looking back over today’s topics, it’s a wonder my name isn’t Ted Random. Let’s jump in …
The Daily Rabbit Hole: Aptronyms
“the term used for ‘people whose names and occupations or situations (e.g., workplace) have a close correspondence.’"
Whether it’s Tiger Woods from the tee box hitting a wood, Marina Stepanova becoming the first woman to break 53 seconds in the 400 meter hurdles, or actor Samuel Foote losing his leg in a horse riding incident in 1766, there is little more satisfying than a name that matches someone’s reality.
Believe it or not, this phenomenon is more common than you might realize it at first glance. Nominative Determinism is the theory that we tend to gravitate toward occupations or hobbies that fit our name. While hypothetical - and potentially stepping into the territory of this very newsletter’s first edition (Mysterious Corollary) as counteracted here, it doesn’t change the fact that there was a noticeable bump in dentists named Dennis or Denise in the 90s1. I’d personally argue that the Great British Bake Off’s popularity is due in part to how perfect Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood - the show’s initial judges - names are. Don’t even get me started on Bobby Flay …
The ‘Wait, What?’ Vortex: Bowser: Nintendo Pirate
“(Gary) Bowser was initially charged with 11 felonies, including wire fraud, conspiracy to circumvent technological measures, trafficking in circumvention devices, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.”
I have never met a Bowser irl, but this guy’s name is *chef’s kiss*
Making a name …
For authors, a great name can make or break your story. There’s even a MasterClass article available on naming fictitious people. From the basics of making sure your characters have names that are differentiated enough as to not confuse the reader, to developing names that play a role in foreshadowing their growth, anyone who has ever sought to write or tell a story knows that names can be an easy thing to get hung up on.
One thing I continue to find across the Internet is that people have started to track toward names that are SEO friendly. Whether you’re now “The Car Guy” or a restaurant named “Thai Food Near Me” (both real examples) - the goal is increasingly to name things through the lens of discoverability. A good name must be discoverable or we cast it aside. How many parents now google their potential baby names? Scoop up the domain addresses? Snag handles on social media platforms? All without knowing what the future holds. Wild.
Btw - I’m well aware of that fact that if you saw that Ted Harrison was running for a state senate seat in Nebraska, it would make a ton of sense without ever having met me.