Why call a spade a shovel when it asked to be called a spade? September 30, 2009 10:05 AM   Subscribe

When did making fun of someone's name become OK for Metafilter?

In the danah boyd thread, I posted this comment in an attempt to maybe avoid the same sort of problem that has happened when she's been mentioned here. Before I posted it, there'd been two misspellings ("Dannah"), not even including capitalizations. So I figured I'd say something.

If a few people were writing "Barak Obama," someone might say something. If people spoke of "Bell Hooks," you could be sure it'd be corrected. To say nothing of the obvious baiting of calling Malcolm X, "Malcolm Little," unless in a pre-1952 biographical context.

Maybe I did it wrong and came across too strongly, but the puerile responses and derision that came from the likes of Astro Zombie and Delmoi is obnoxious. Maybe it's OK to make fun of her because she's a "hipster" academic rather than a renowned poet?

Posted here because I didn't want to re-derail what seems to be a thread that's functioning fine. If I'm wrong, and it's just snark, I'm sorry, but I figured we were above making fun of someone because of their chosen name.
posted by explosion to Etiquette/Policy at 10:05 AM (439 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

asploshun!!!

also, delmoi
posted by not_on_display at 10:09 AM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


You failed to point out my favorite response
posted by Perplexity at 10:09 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


also, delmoi

oh shiiiiii.....
posted by explosion at 10:10 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I thought the tone of your original comment on the topic was condescending. You could have just pointed out that her name isn't capitalized and left it at that, but you chose to lecture us on why we all must go along with her name-changing whim and added all that "I don't care if think it's dumb..." crap. I think that's what brought out the snark.
posted by rocket88 at 10:19 AM on September 30, 2009 [21 favorites]


I'm with astrO zombiE: " I am not bound by their typographic whimsy"
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:20 AM on September 30, 2009


This callout resembles explosive diarrhea.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:21 AM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh god, I hate it when people insist that their name be typed out in lowercase letters. There's a woman who's active in my neighborhood association, and who consequently is quoted often in the local paper, who does that. Every time she shows up in the paper, she shows up as "jane doe (who does not spell her name with capital letters)." I mean, at that point, she should just put "jane doe (who does not spell her name with capital letters)" on her fucking driver's license.

Look, be different. Stand out. Take a stand against things in this world that you think are unjust and unwise and nonsensical and ought to be changed. But if the biggest, most frequent point you can make about the world is that you don't like using freaking capital letters in your name? Well, my friend, you are a very sad and inconsequential person, and you are not making a difference (beyond inspiring eye rolls and annoyance in the people around you).
posted by mudpuppie at 10:22 AM on September 30, 2009 [70 favorites]


I don't think it is the name, it's the required rendering is the name that does it. No, no, you can only use my name if you print it in 18pt bold all caps Comic Sans is likely to draw the same or greater levels of ire, and not just due to the Comic Sans. It is spelled A-D-I-P-O-C-E-R-E but it is pronounced as "Jerkwater USA." Use ASL for my name, not letters. My name is to be rendered as a ten minute interpretive dance reflecting upon the mortality to which all flesh (and fat) is heir.

Everyone draws the line somewhere as to what they'll put up with; apparently, for some folks in that thread, that line appears to come before quirky capitalization requests. Personally, I'm not crazy about case sensitivity in filesystems, either.
posted by adipocere at 10:23 AM on September 30, 2009 [49 favorites]


I think people got excited about what they considered the 'findings' and figured if the findings were bogus and could be made fun of, then she could be too. I can't stand it when people call you what they want to call you instead of what you ask to be called, or should be called. It smacks of that privilege a lot of people think they have where they just can do anything they want and not only do they have that right, but you're an ass for daring to question their right to do it. I have friends with names they change because they'd rather do that than hear someone just settle on a butchered version of their name that someone latches onto and reuses.

All that said, I think if the research would have been complete and more thorough and had some better writing attached to it when it arrived here, the name thing would have been more along the bell hooks respect level and less of the OMG DAYNAHBOYIDE level.


I thought the tone of your original comment on the topic was condescending.


People aren't generally condescending on this site, so you have a point.
posted by cashman at 10:23 AM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


This sort of thing falls into a weird grey area for me. I mean sure people shouldn't be total assholes about things. I spell danah's name correctly because I think it's polite. At the same time I have a sort of private-eyeroll reaction to people who mess with capitalization only because they turn the whole "how to write someone's name politely" world on its side. This is on the one hand neat and on the other hand annoying.

Personally I understand and sort of get behind why danah spells her name the way she does -- and I'm sure she'd be gracious at people goofing on it because she's smart and made this decision assertively, I'm sure she'd know there would be blowback -- but not everyone knows, shares that feeling, or cares. There's an argument to be made that capitalization isn't spelling. There's an argument to be made that forcing people to do something that goes counter to established practice is a little aggressive, even if it's for a good reason. There's an argument to be made that if people want to goof on someone's name when the person isn't present, that's not really that big a deal.

Honestly, I'm just relieved that this is a MeTa about a female subject of an FPP and all we're talking about is spelling.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:23 AM on September 30, 2009 [32 favorites]


I'll call people whatever they want to be called, but the way I use punctuation is my own goddamn business.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:27 AM on September 30, 2009 [16 favorites]


My sister's friend just had a baby girl and named her Kiki. Only it's pronounced "Kicky" so much so that on the birth announcement the note said "Kiki (pronounced Kicky!)" so I feel your pain, but people know what they're getting into with this sort of thing. My feeling has always been that bell hooks does not need my help telling people how to spell her name, danah either probably.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:27 AM on September 30, 2009


Only ee cummings gets a pass on this crap. Because he was ee damn cummings.

(I don't know why the lower-case thing grates on me so, other than the fact that I'm probably kind of an asshole.)
posted by Skot at 10:29 AM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh, and if you're atcually out to discuss a subject, rather than scold people who disagree with you, it's not a good start to dismiss their comments as puerile.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:29 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why call a spade a shovel when it asked to be called a spade?

Because "spade" is [SHOVEL-IST].
posted by dersins at 10:30 AM on September 30, 2009


Does she spell her name in all lowercase for a specific reason, or does she do it because she think it looks nice or helps make her stand out? If there's an established political/social statement being made I might get behind it a bit more, but if it's just her vanity it becomes an annoying non-issue for me.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:31 AM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Honestly, I'm just relieved that this is a MeTa about a female subject of an FPP and all we're talking about is spelling.

Well, the ad hominem attacks were handled 5 years ago.
posted by explosion at 10:31 AM on September 30, 2009


I've never fuckin' heard of danah boyd, Dannah Boyd, DANAH BOYD, or Danah Boyd.
posted by gman at 10:31 AM on September 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Jesus Fucking Mary's dead donkey on a 1040 stainless steel treble-barb pogo stick!!! Is there nothing that MeFites won't take offense at, anymore? We're such delicate motherfucking flowers around here, lately! How do we manage to walk unprotected in the world without dissipating in a light whine at the first minor breeze? Get a grip, people! You can deal with different voices. You don't have to be comfortable with everything everyone says. I promise. The bad words won't actually hurt you, if you don't let them. Aargh!!!

Yes - I'm aware of the irony inherent in that rant. Too much coffee, too little perspective. Move along. Nothing to see here.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:32 AM on September 30, 2009 [48 favorites]


Why do so many meefs use lower case for their screen names or login names? Why jessamyn and not Jessamyn, for example? Conversely, why Astro Zombie and not astro zombie?

I ask genuinely, because it seems to be a zeitgeisty thing about how people think about the discourse on the internet. The internet is lower case. Real Life is Upper Case. Discuss.
posted by Rumple at 10:32 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I capitalize Astro Zombie because it is a proper noun.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:33 AM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Also because it is written as a newspaper headline.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:34 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't capitalize "explosion" because it's an improper noun. I also put my elbows on the table.
posted by explosion at 10:34 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


There have been a few people who have asked us to change the capitalization of their usernames. All the ones I can remember added capitalization. Mine is lowercase J because I can save that keystroke for later.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:34 AM on September 30, 2009 [8 favorites]


relax to this FloHendo
posted by Rumple at 10:34 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why do so many meefs use lower case for their screen names or login names?

I don't know what the fuck a "meef" is, but my screen name is all lower case because it's what I've been using since before capital letters were invented.
posted by dersins at 10:35 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would like to be known as rumplE from now on, please.
posted by Rumple at 10:36 AM on September 30, 2009


Older systems typically stripped out capitalization, so usernames tended to just be lowercase. (This is still more or less the norm in email, for instance.)

I always assumed people just kind of ran with it. Not me. I was spiffyrob in those days, but now I'm SpiffyRob.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:36 AM on September 30, 2009


Interestingly, dersins, there was time when capital letters and lower-case letters were actually different alphabets altogether.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:38 AM on September 30, 2009


Oh, there's probably one other factor — it creates a conflict between various capitalization rules we hopefully learned as kids (and therefore are things for which some reflexively grasp) and, well, doing what she wants. This drives some people (okay, me) nuts. If I am writing up documentation and the button is marked "Next" without a period, but the rules of grammar say that I should have:

Click "Next."

I basically struggled against that, because that doesn't exactly represent what is on the button (and with some users, any deviation can throw them), but on the other hand, that's the way the rules work. Resolution:

Click the "Next" button.

I receive, as part of one of the things I do, vast lists of users. Often, the user's names, as typed by people over whom I have no control, come in as "FIRST LAST" with some very unruly capitalization and occasional oddball choices for punctuation: O`Connor versus O'Connor. Or maybe OCONNOR. Or oconnor. To make things nice for everyone, I have to rely upon some basic conventions, because if I take data as it comes in, someone, somewhere, will complain about it. Whimsical capitalization means that I have no rules to work from, and I certainly cannot rely upon the care of the people who type in the data. That means that someone, somewhere, will be unhappy. I chose to make the least number of people unhappy I could, and part of that decision is that whimsical capitalization is a decision by one person to make their own rules.
posted by adipocere at 10:39 AM on September 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


From here on out, I will only respond to comments addressing me as LV &.

Full disclosure: I will respond to anyone regardless of how the address me. I'm so cold and lonely.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:39 AM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


I insist my nick be spelt backwards.
posted by waraw at 10:39 AM on September 30, 2009 [11 favorites]


Look, guys, calm down. She spells it danah, but it's pronounced Throatwobbler Mangrove.
posted by jbickers at 10:39 AM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


We're such delicate motherfucking flowers around here, lately!

Yeah, I've noticed this too. Many times I've wandered into a thread and close it halfway through because it's just too nasty. Yeah, I know, you gotta love the snark but Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ on Toast, does the snark really have to be so all-consuming? Must we pee on EVERYTHING?

And yeah, it's totally no skin off my nose what anyone else wants to be called, how they want to spell it, pronounce it, capitalize it, or whatever. How does it hurt me any? And why would I need to go and be a total jerk for no reason typing YOUR NAME HERE EVEN THOUGH YOU SAID NO CAPS on the internet other than to show off my ridiculously large metaphorical penis that I can wave wherever I want?

I guess my point is the same one that I make at aggressive drivers sixteen times a day: YES, YOUR (metaphorical) PENIS IS HUGE. WE GET IT.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:45 AM on September 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


I feel partly responsible because I misspelled her name fairly early in the thread. I even added an extra n to her first name for good measure. I knew about her capitalization preference but forgot as I was commenting. I'm glad explosion corrected me, I won't forget it, and I'll spell her name her correctly in the future.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:45 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not just my metaphorical penis.

Listen, I typed her name in all caps because that's how I type names, not because I have anything to prove. It wasn't us majuscule users who started this fight, it was the commentor who felt the need to strenuously lecture us about the disrespect that this demonstrated.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:47 AM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


There is a difference between making fun of someone who uses normal capitalization in all their writing but chooses to eschew it in their own name (as if to notify us of their lack of pretension) and misspelling "Barack Obama", which is the name he was given at birth. There is a difference between making fun of Tom Cruise because of his rants on Scientology (as MetaFilter does) and making fun of Tom Cruise because he is short (as David Letterman does). Making fun of people's choices is OK by me.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:47 AM on September 30, 2009 [9 favorites]


YES, YOUR (metaphorical) PENIS IS HUGE.

Yay!
posted by dirigibleman at 10:48 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I blame thirtysomething.

damned yuppies...
posted by Joe Beese at 10:48 AM on September 30, 2009


Is my metaphorical penis supposed to burn like this when I metaphorically pee?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:48 AM on September 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


My position on this comes down to this: danah boyd can capitalize her name however she wants, but it's unreasonable to expect everyone to follow her non-standard name capitalization preference (especially in the context of a casual conversation). People tend to capitalize names because that's the convention, just like people tend to pronounce names the way they pronounce words in their own language even if those names are supposed to be pronounced some other way.

For example, I always refer to my handle as "burnmp3s" in lowercase, but I really don't care if people refer to me as "Burnmp3s" or "Burn" or "burn" or "Burn MP3s" or "burnmp3" or whatever other weird permutation of my handle they come up with.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:49 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


e̟̎̈́͋ẍ̪͖́ͤͤ̂ͩ̑͒ͮp̢̛̺̰͓̓̒ͫ̒̓͐̊l͎̜͔͙͒̓͂͛̆ͭ̕͜͞ö͊̉ͤ҉̷̙̰͓̳̠̹̬̩s̠͈͔̦̮͖͖̙͗͗ͩ̕ͅi̠̖͊̂ͫ͂͌̏̀̕͟ǫ̢̲̲͈ͪ̏ń͇̯̩̙̦̣̲̌ͬ͒̐͡
posted by gman at 10:50 AM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm with flo. Flo. Sorry, the person who on MeFi is known as "It's Raining Florence Henderson."
posted by From Bklyn at 10:50 AM on September 30, 2009


The analogy to aggressive drivers isn't very good, either. I'm not some chumpr driver who is making right hand turns without signalling and running through reds. I'm a regular driver, going along, driving my own way, and the person in front of me is signalling left and then turning right, and then yelling at me because her signalling preference is political and I must respect it.

Nah, that doesn't work either. I think the driving metaphor is a wash.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:50 AM on September 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


This is basically the same sort of argument that arose in the "pregnant man" controversy. It is essentially respectful to refer to others in the way that they self-identify. Those who choose not to do this usually have some sort of bone to pick with the category itself than with the individual in question, and this case is no exception.

That said, getting all hot in the skillet over an issue like this particular one seems pointless to me. And the comments you linked were pretty standard for MetaFilter back-and-forth -- I didn't see anyone breaking out the napalm over this. Pull in your toenails.
posted by hermitosis at 10:50 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Can we expect Sarah Jessica Parker to play her in the inevitable biopic?
posted by kittyprecious at 10:53 AM on September 30, 2009


I'm not Lebowski. I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:54 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


My nickname is lowercase. I don't know why, but I just don't like the way it looks when it is capitalized. I shall make up a new splendid justification for it which refers to the oppressive cultural milieu of pre-revolutionary Spain or something, though, and people will bend to my wish for no-caps naming!

Ordinarily I am all about the shift key and its important role in conversation.
posted by winna at 10:57 AM on September 30, 2009


Shaka, when Florence Henderson fell.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:57 AM on September 30, 2009 [22 favorites]


You know, I was sitting on the couch last night with my laptop on my lap, surfing the internets and all and I came across the thread in question and I started to read through the comments and I was all like, "danah boyd? Seriously? Without capital letters?" And then I read your comment, explosion, and I was all like, "Seriously? Like, really seriously?" And then I called my girlfriend over and I was all like, "Hey, did you read this shit about this fucking Danah Boyd?" And she was like, "Oh, the thing with the capitalization? Yeah, how stupid was that?" To which I replied, "Really fucking stupid."

I especially liked the part where she was all like, my name is spelled this way "to reflect my mother's original balancing and to satisfy my own political irritation at the importance of capitalization."

I don't even understand what that means. But explosion, yes, you approached it with an air of condescension that was absolutely astounding, and, on top of that, I happen to think the entire idea of this I'm-a-special-snowflake business is asinine.

Danah Boyd, Danah Boyd, Danah Boyd.

There, I feel better.
posted by kbanas at 10:58 AM on September 30, 2009 [13 favorites]


Making fun of someones stage name is 100% OK.
posted by Artw at 10:58 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


A name's a name. You can pick what your name is, but asking people to defy standard typographical convention and thinking that that counts as a "spelling" is just stupid. I don't go to the doctor's office and demand that they record my height in fractional light-years.
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:58 AM on September 30, 2009 [18 favorites]


*chops forearm three times from elbow to wrist, chanting 'same as it ever was'*
posted by tellurian at 10:58 AM on September 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


nobody, not even the rain has such small qualms.
posted by applemeat at 11:03 AM on September 30, 2009 [10 favorites]


Fir me, the issue here is that explosion is behaving as though there is a settled, universally agreed upon etiquette about how you represent somebody's name in this circumstance. There isn't. There isn't even a universally adopted rule in publishing -- you'll find plenty of examples of newspaper and magazines capaitalizing E.E. Cummingws or K.D. Lang, to be consistent with their house style; others don't.

One of the marks of good etiquette is not assuming that your own etiquette preferences are universally applicable.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:03 AM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


On the one hand, it's a legal name, an identity, and it'd be rude to insist on calling someone "Ashley" if their given name was "Ashelie."

On the other hand, it's a twee affectation with fairly nebulous and silly reasoning ("to satisfy my own political irritation at the importance of capitalization" whut?) and I kind of don't feel bad about people making fun of it.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:04 AM on September 30, 2009


asking people to defy standard typographical convention

That is pretty egregious. I think that's 5-10 in most states.
posted by cashman at 11:04 AM on September 30, 2009


Is this the thread where we talk about Jennifer 8. Lee?
posted by chinston at 11:05 AM on September 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


Oh danah boyd, the CAPS, the CAPS are calling.
From Glen to Glen and down the Mountain Side.
The Summer's Gone, and all the Roses Falling.
'Tis You, 'tis You must Go, and I must Bide.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:05 AM on September 30, 2009 [16 favorites]


Ugh yeah, totally agree with the OP.

It's rude and infantile to refuse to respect someone's self-identification. I don't honestly care about people who just don't know, but there were folks in that thread intentionally spitting all over the idea of respecting the fact that a person can choose their own name.
posted by muddgirl at 11:05 AM on September 30, 2009


Sometimes lowercase just looks better, but I'm not sure I'd throw a fit if people didn't respect that choice.

Also: what It's Snowing Lawrence Anderson said.
posted by panboi at 11:10 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's rude and infantile to refuse to respect someone's self-identification.

No it isn't. If she were to declare herself an Arab-American, and she wasn't, would I be bound to respect that? A Martian? If I insisted people call me Astro Zombie in the real world, I would expect to get some scoffing, and I think the scoffers would be right.

Listen, I tend to lowercase when people lowercase, and upper case when they do, but sometimes I forget, and sometimes I think its silly. But what I consider disrespectful is demanding that somebody remember that you along, along with ee cummings and kd land and bell hooks, have a distinct and nonstandard way of using capitalization, for a barely articulated reason, and that you are somehow denying somebody's self-identification if you forget or decide to use the standard form. That's a lot to ask, it's even more to demand. And I don't note that boyd has demanded it; if she has, I haven't seen it. These demands are being made for her.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:10 AM on September 30, 2009 [24 favorites]


I'm willing to cop to the fact that I came across as condescending. It's probably a combination of a lack of sleep, and similar (purposeful) misspellings I've seen before, and from a cursory MeFi search, were probably made on other sites and I misdirected my frustration.

What bothered me though, was that I posted the equivalent of, "Hey, you know guys, she goes by Ms. Clinton, and I think you ought to respect that." The response wasn't so much people ignoring me and continuing the conversation, but reacting in what I perceive as a immature fashion: "As I was saying, MRS. CLINTON..."

I guess we should just add "non-traditional names" to the list of "things Metafilter does poorly" and move on. As has been pointed out by people willing to actually click links, if anyone's pretentious, it's her mother. She was named "danah" at birth.

I can't wait for the backlash when people realize "Explosion" is my real last name...
posted by explosion at 11:10 AM on September 30, 2009


Heh, in my head I always read burnmp3s as "burn up."
posted by Pax at 11:11 AM on September 30, 2009


kd lang, rather; I do try to get spellings right.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:11 AM on September 30, 2009


For years I thought that NFL sportscasters were mispronouncing Brett Favre's surname. "How can it possibly be pronounced "Farv" if the 'V' comes before the 'R'?", I thought. (and screamed at my TV)
Turns out, that's how he pronounces it too. I still think it's wrong.
posted by rocket88 at 11:11 AM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


I like the look of lower case letters. They are cuter. So my internet handle is my lowercase initials. Because when chosing internet handles, one can chose silly or cute or unusual things to establish an image.

But that is not my professional name. My professional name looks, well, professional.

Going with a legal and professional name which so defies the norms of your culture seems to be a cry for attention. There are no political aspects to capitalisation - pretending that there are is an insult to studies of power and politics, and less than I would expect from a scholar who claims to be engaged in a serious discussion of society.

That said, I can't imagine what she would say to the collection of 18th century newspapers clippings I have somewhere, where the same article might be printed with radically different capitalization, depending on the whim of the editor or typesetter. Some look like This, with all of the Significant Nouns and Adjectives Highlighted with Capitals. And others look completely modern. Funny enough, I tended to ignore that when I was doing my research, as I was looking for incidents of power and politics.
posted by jb at 11:12 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


My name is not pronounceable, or even words. Rather, it's the sound of a room full of 20 people having really awful diarrhea all at once onto a cardboard floor. They're all silent, not even a single grunt, just the sound of hot liquid shit smattering onto the cardboard. The people, I should note, have to be white. Why do they have to be white? Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't think I had to EXPLAIN my name to you, or my asshole parents, or girls who despite being out of college are still stuck-up bitches and never call after the first date from ADULT-FRIEND-FINDER.COM, LLC (How it is capitalized in its LLC filing with the state of Delaware, and therefore how I will refer to it here), or people who put your name up on the JumboTron at the baseball game when it is your birthday, and especially smart-ass Judge Boyd who apparently was raised on a planet full of Hitlers where everyone also happens to be Sheeple. Thanks a lot, Obama. Thanks a lot.
posted by Damn That Television at 11:12 AM on September 30, 2009 [13 favorites]


Explosion - I'd blame whoever made this comment, they seem to be the entire cause of the problem.
posted by Artw at 11:12 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Okay, I won't capitalize her name, unless it comes at the beginning of a sentence. She doesn't get to have the power of dictating how I start sentences.

Danah boyd better be okay with that.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:14 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ms. Boyd is free to render her name however she wants. So was Mr. Cummings and so is Ms. Lang.

In 2009, in America (and indeed all of the English-speaking world, to my knowledge,) proper names are capitalized.
posted by blenderfish at 11:15 AM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


We're such delicate motherfucking flowers around here, lately!

Agreed. I scanned the "honey" meta-talk thread and was amused when calling someone honey was equated to calling someone a racial slur. There needs to be some recalibration of the "That's Offensive" monitor.

By the way, I'd like my name to be written in Creampuff font.
posted by 26.2 at 11:15 AM on September 30, 2009


I thought she preferred Mrs. Clinton, actually.
posted by Pax at 11:15 AM on September 30, 2009


There was a time when she preferred Rodham.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:16 AM on September 30, 2009


If people spoke of "Bell Hooks," you could be sure it'd be corrected.

I wouldn't be so sure...
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:18 AM on September 30, 2009


My dog prefers his name to be capitalized, so I respect his wishes.
posted by Pax at 11:18 AM on September 30, 2009


Christ, I was heretofore oblivious of this "I don't capitalize my name" thing.

I hate watershed moments like this.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:18 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


... intentionally spitting all over the idea of respecting the fact that a person can choose their own name.

I completely respect people's ability to choose their own name. If she wants to call herself Flagobarn H. Respectamuch, I'm on board with that.

I'm pretty sure most people referring to her as Danah Boyd are not on board with the notion that capitalization is a configurable aspect of a name. You can rename yourself "Bob", but asking that people write it as -... --- -... because you prefer the aesthetics of morse code is not in the set of things you get to pick when you choose a name.
posted by 0xFCAF at 11:19 AM on September 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


I will be highly offended if you refer to me as capital E.
posted by little e at 11:19 AM on September 30, 2009 [11 favorites]


We should also add "pick your battles wisely" to the list of "things Metafilter does poorly".
posted by gman at 11:19 AM on September 30, 2009 [17 favorites]


In 2009, in America (and indeed all of the English-speaking world, to my knowledge,) proper names are capitalized.

Hey, I can make random, perscriptive pronouncements, too! This will be fun!

Ahem.

In 2009, in America, any name ending with an -ie is spelled with a -y.

This is starting to remind me of my brother's first day of second grader, when the teacher insisted that our last name was spelled with a P in it, and that my brother simply did not know how to spell his own name, the stupid boy.
posted by muddgirl at 11:20 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe you could capitalize the spaces before her name and then everybody would be happy?

You know, so while danah boyd written without any capital letters pisses people off, danah boyd with capital spaces makes it okay. Compromize is a beautiful thing.
posted by Sova at 11:21 AM on September 30, 2009


It's not just the non-traditional name that I think burned me up, but the reasoning, which is so obviously specious.

Saying she uses lowercase for both first and last name to "reflect my mother's original balancing" makes no sense because she changed both capital letters to lowercase. If she lowercased one and capitalized the other, then it would be different enough that perhaps some metaphorical balancing would have taken place, but she just changed two capital letters to two lowercase letters, so the end result is null.

And then the whole political irritation with capitalizing line--well, she just sounds like someone whose forgotten to take her meds.

And I say this as someone who should probably go take her own meds at this point.

That being said, I actually could see why the "Jane Doe" mentioned above wanted her name written without capital letters. Jane Doe, as we have learned from Mefi's own John Doe, is not a name that stands out. It sounds like a fake name, or an alias someone uses to check into a motel. I could see wanting to distance yourself from that, and make the name your own.
posted by misha at 11:22 AM on September 30, 2009


I have capitalized the proper noun, verb, adjective and noun of my user name, leaving the definite article lower case, because my user name is a song title. Or rather, the English translation of a Japanese song. I don't know if the band who composed the song would want the English title to be written in all lower-case, in caps lock, in 90s-era chatroom sHiFtKeYtOgGlE, or in whatever that crazy-ass font gman wrote explosion's name with is, but I'm erring on the default setting. I realize that's presumptuous of me. Maybe I should contact the musicians and ask them, to be fair. I'm going to shoot them an e-mail now, but until I hear back from them, out of respect for this band I ask that from now on you refer to me as 魔理沙は大変なものを盗んでいきました. Thanks in advance.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:23 AM on September 30, 2009


This is starting to remind me of my brother's first day of second grader, when the teacher insisted that our last name was spelled with a P in it, and that my brother simply did not know how to spell his own name, the stupid boy.

Of course, there is a difference between spelling and punctuation, and that's the crux of this discussion. We have to start out with that mutual understanding, or there can be no discussion at all. That proper nouns are capitalized isn't randomly prescriptivist either; it truly is the standard representation of proper nouns.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:25 AM on September 30, 2009


Do you use the intercap on MetaFilter when you write it? Because that is just as dumb, or twee, or particular, or arbitrary, or (until recently) non-standard, or whatever.

Fucking write people's names the way they want them to be written.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:26 AM on September 30, 2009


Do you use the intercap on MetaFilter when you write it? Because that is just as dumb, or twee, or particular, or arbitrary, or (until recently) non-standard, or whatever.

No it isn't. It's something called CamelCase, and is a fairly standard way of representing compund nouns in which the elements are joined without a space.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:28 AM on September 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


It's rude and infantile to refuse to respect someone's self-identification.

It's infantile to flout the standard purely for the attention and then complain when you get the inevitable attention. If your "self-identification" is actually predicated on a confrontational dynamic, then a negative response is just as appropriate as a positive one. She said, herself, that her name choice is a political expression. There is absolutely nothing rude about rejecting someone's politics, no matter how they choose to express them. She is free to call herself anything she wants. And we're free to say: Stunt name is stunty. Also kind of trite and boring.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:29 AM on September 30, 2009 [43 favorites]


I say that as a person who cringes every time I write or receive email with a friend of mine who goes by a name capitalized like "boB smitH". Stupid, stupid, stupid. But if that's what boB wants, who am I to withhold such a simple thing?
posted by dirtdirt at 11:29 AM on September 30, 2009


CamelCase dates back as long as people have been spelling names McShane and the like, so it's not a recent development, either.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:30 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


the way I use punctuation is my own goddamn business

So you're a grocer?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:30 AM on September 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


Ok, how about iPod or eBay?
posted by dirtdirt at 11:30 AM on September 30, 2009


I am yeti, and I still get gifts from people with a Bigfoot on them as if they are the same thing. They are not, people.

Interestingly, spell-check doesn't like lower-case "bigfoot."
posted by yeti at 11:31 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


You might be interested to know E.E.Cummings' own preference for his name before citing him as an example.
posted by 6550 at 11:31 AM on September 30, 2009 [12 favorites]


I mean capitalization, obviously, but, yes, I am a greengrocer and I come from a family of greengrocer's.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:31 AM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Remember, if you call it an IPhone and not an iPhone you are some kind of nazi who is oppressing someone or other.
posted by Artw at 11:33 AM on September 30, 2009


I wonder if somebody wrote, "i so love the work of jeff bridges, it inspires me to do wonderful things."

Another person would say, "Hey, that's Jeff Bridges, not jeff bridges. Respect his name."

"But I write without caps to save time and keystrokes."

"But it's disrespectful to him."

"What?"

"You'll get no more wonderful films if you fuck with his artistic identity!"

etc
posted by Sova at 11:33 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think "1285 NE 192nd Street Apartment B225" is a valid name. But I think it's a pretty great address. I guess my personal mores are wildly inconsistent, dirtdirt.
posted by 0xFCAF at 11:34 AM on September 30, 2009


Honestly, I'm just relieved that this is a MeTa about a female subject of an FPP and all we're talking about is spelling.

I'd hit it, where it is the caps key?
posted by nomisxid at 11:34 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

Does she spell her name in all lowercase for a specific reason, or does she do it because she think it looks nice or helps make her stand out? If there's an established political/social statement being made I might get behind it a bit more, but if it's just her vanity it becomes an annoying non-issue for me.
From her website: what's in a name?. An excerpt:
... it's my name and i should be able to frame it as i see fit, as my adjective, not someone else's. Why must it follow some New York Times standard guide for naming? The words that i choose to describe myself should be framed in writing and in speech in a way that feels as though i own them, as though i can relate to them. This is not to say that i wanted a unique symbol to stand for my name, simply that i wanted to write it in a fashion that showed the beauty of my mother's consideration. Of course, as i get older, i end up having a deep engrained individualization of my name. I really don't like when people remove the 'h' or capitalize my name - it's not how i've chosen to identify.

With all of these thoughts in mind, i signed my new name change papers simply as i wanted to label myself, with an aesthetic appreciation for the spelling of my name, and with a unique flair that allowed me to truly hold on to my name as my own...
It happens to read to me as "i'm a special snowflake who had a whim," but I could certainly understand why someone with a different perspective would give her reasoning more weight.

I think she lost me when she made the leap from "capitalizing the pronoun 'i' in mid-sentence is egotistical" to "i'm too special to abide by social naming conventions, so i'll insist that there should be a special rule, just for me, me, me!"
posted by Karmakaze at 11:35 AM on September 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Her real name is Jenny Garden.
posted by Artw at 11:36 AM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ok, how about iPod or eBay?

Plenty of people write those as IPod or Ebay or whatever and nobody gets upset. And people also commonly write LEGO® as Lego or even legos (although that does move into annoying Holy War territory). Generally when people are writing things in an informal context they don't spend a lot of time thinking about what non-standard capitalizations they should be using.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:38 AM on September 30, 2009


She can't be a special snowflake until she has the t-shirt.
posted by keli at 11:38 AM on September 30, 2009


Here's my take. In this classic photo, this man is shouting, "What's my name?" Why? Because his opponent, and many members of media, refused to call him by his newly adoptive name out of sheer racist infantilization.

So, if this danah boyd (did I do that right?) suddenly wanted to be called Cassius Clay, I'd start referring to her as Cassius Clay. Hell, I'll even lower-case k.d. lang, if that's what she wants.

But I won't apologize for or feel bad about transient or occasional misspellings or mistakes in usage when the name change involves a change in common, everyday typographic structure, especially if the person is not well known enough for the change to become common knowledge. That's an entirely different kind of infantilization, which richly deserves derision and jeering.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:39 AM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


I am improper for wanting to capitalize an improperly capitalized proper name properly.
posted by zennie at 11:39 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


But really this isn't at all similar to purposefully misspelling Obama's name, or other such nonsense. It's a choice she made, but no-one can deny that it was a choice based on vanity - not heritage, ethnicity, political statement, or an honorific. Unless there is better reasoning behind it, why can't we tease it a little bit?
posted by Think_Long at 11:41 AM on September 30, 2009


I'm kind of a jerk when it comes to capital vs. lowercase letters. That's right, I'm case-insensitive.
posted by turaho at 11:41 AM on September 30, 2009 [26 favorites]


Ms. Boyd: The words that i choose to describe myself should be framed in writing and in speech in a way that feels as though i own them

But when I write, I own the words. I choose to write to for my readers, not my subject, and I choose typographic clarity over personal politics. And I believe that a dedication to clear writing can be a political statement on par with self-identificatin.
posted by martens at 11:41 AM on September 30, 2009 [10 favorites]


but Papa Bell, is her name choice really comparable to Ali's re: the amount of trepidation we should have when discussing it?
posted by Think_Long at 11:42 AM on September 30, 2009


Ms. Clinton does prefer "Mrs. Clinton," as noted above. However, people are entitled to follow consistent conventions. Thus, I'll refer to her as "Ms. Clinton" because I care a lot more about treating men and women equally than I care about Ms. Clinton's preferred nomenclature. That's my convention. I know not everyone agrees, but I do, so that's how I'm going to write it.

This principle applies all the more so in cases like E.E. Cummings, Bell Hooks, Nine Inch Nails, the Cranberries, Silverchair, Adidas, and anyone/anything else who likes to write their names in lowercase. Capitalizing proper nouns is sooooooo much a set-in-stone, across-the-board convention that the aforementioned people and entities simply can't expect to have their typographical quirks followed any more than Macy's can expect to be spelled macy*s.

Dirtdirt: I, along with many other people, make an exception for things like iPod because there's at least a capital letter very close to the beginning of the word, and the product is so familiar that IPod or Ipod would more unconventional than iPod. Kudos to Apple for breaking the rules in a way that actually caught on and became conventional. Apple can get away with that because they're ubiquitous and awesome. If I decided to start writing my name jOhn cOhen instead of John Cohen, I wouldn't expect the same deference.

Explosion: You said on the blue that people are entitled to have their names written the way they want. Sure, they're entitled to have a preference, and you're entitled to follow it -- that's totally fine with me. But other people are entitled to prioritize consistent writing conventions over one-in-a-million personal idiosyncrasies.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:42 AM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


I hadn't read the "offending" comments, but I did just not favorite them. Thanks.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:44 AM on September 30, 2009


muddgirl: You should look up the word "prescriptivist" in the dictionary, because it does not mean what you think it means.
posted by blenderfish at 11:44 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


What bothered me though, was that I posted the equivalent of, "Hey, you know guys, she goes by Ms. Clinton, and I think you ought to respect that." The response wasn't so much people ignoring me and continuing the conversation, but reacting in what I perceive as a immature fashion: "As I was saying, MRS. CLINTON..."

Um, no, it's not the equivalent. Like, at all. The Mrs./Ms. thing is widely used in society, and carries a whole bunch of feminist theory behind it; electing to go by Ms. is hardly seen as an aggressively I AM SO FUCKING SPECIAL move that's worthy of snark. Boyd's reasoning for wanting to cast off the oppressively puritanical chains of basic English punctuation, however, is flimsy at best.

As pointed out upthread by several others: if Boyd had bothered to articulate in coherent terms why capital letters are so damned offensive to her, she might actually get some traction, but instead she just comes across as being difficult for the sake of being difficult.
posted by shiu mai baby at 11:45 AM on September 30, 2009


My sister's friend just had a baby girl and named her Kiki. Only it's pronounced "Kicky" so much so that on the birth announcement the note said "Kiki (pronounced Kicky!)"

Do they want Kiki to be pronounced like Kicky or Keekee? This interests me.
posted by iconomy at 11:45 AM on September 30, 2009


Unless looking up words in the dictionary is useless, since it is chock full of "random prescriptivist statements."
posted by blenderfish at 11:45 AM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


The idea of a name being property is an odd one as well; it seems to come from a worldview that I'm not sure I agree with, that somehow we are exclusively individual creatures who just happen to be sharing space with billions of other individual creatures, and every aspect of us and how we interact with others is our decision and our responsibility and all things related to us belong to us.

We're that, to an extent, but we're also social creatures, and products of society, and the things we use to interact with society are as much a collective property as they are our own. Our name is one of these things. I very rarely use my own name -- it's more frequently used by others in reference to me, and to address me. It is a social mechanism for distinguishing me. It also gives a lot of clues as to the environment that produced me -- European, and Yiddish. It links me with my family. Some names give hints as to family professions, or points of origin, or religion. Some names commemorate past family members, or other people that the parents felt were important.

Our names are also the way we interact with law, which is why we must go to a judge to have names changed, rather than simply being able to call ourselves whatever we want, whenever we want.

So our names aren't our property in the way that, say, a banana we buy is. I'm not saying people shouldn't change their name, or feel a sense of ownership over it. But it's not the same thing as owning a thing, and there is a social component to it that can't be ignored. And, ultimately, if society decides not to call you something, you can still claim it as your name, but it isn't going to fulfill a lot of the functions of a name, and if it doesn't, how much like a name is it?

So to just say, well, it's there name and they can do whatever they like, and you have to respect it, because it's just a thing that they own -- well, that's not entirely accurate. It is, in part, our possession, as a society, because we use it, and society determines the use of it, and you can never entirely disentangle a name from its social use.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:46 AM on September 30, 2009 [9 favorites]


i propose that we ban all capital letters and punctuation from this point forward as they are merely grammatical tools used to repress the proletariat over the centuries it is time to rise up against our linguistic oppressors and reclaim our rightful place as one and true stewards of the english language

mods, please restore my username to its proper format
posted by JeffK at 11:46 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


crap i used a comma

twenty lashes
posted by JeffK at 11:47 AM on September 30, 2009


I am sure there is someone out there with a name like "1285 NE 192nd Street Apartment B225", and if I ever have to refer to them I'll call them that (although I'll likely call them "Fool" in my mind). I'm not trying to point out inconsistencies in anyone's personal mores, I just think that if you are choosing to draw a line on one side of a terribly easy, inoffensive thing that would accommodate another person's explicit wishes, it's probably not the kindest thing you'll do today.

I don't think anyone is a nazi for not using the name that a person chooses, the way they choose it, I just think it's petty.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:47 AM on September 30, 2009


No, no, no. It's A Pimp Called Slickback.

It's like A Tribe Called Quest, you say the whole thing.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:49 AM on September 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


Could a mod please get the fuck down here with a styleguide and tell us all that it *has* to be spelled MetaFilter, because otherwise spelling it Metafilter sarcastically is going to have no effect whatsoever.
posted by Artw at 11:50 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


but Papa Bell, is her name choice really comparable to Ali's re: the amount of trepidation we should have when discussing it?

Your name choice is your name choice. You want to be called Ted? Fine, you're Ted. But you don't get to make me feel bad when I sometimes fuck up and call you Larry, or if I missed your blog post about the naming update. And I don't get to make someone else feel bad when they blow it.

So, in my book, it's reasonable respect = yes, and prostrate holiest of holies deference = no.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:52 AM on September 30, 2009


Holy of Holies should be capitalized.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:53 AM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is an incredibly stupid callout.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:54 AM on September 30, 2009


ZING!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:54 AM on September 30, 2009


Capitalization isn't a spelling issue, it's a style issue. Interestingly, editing an online magazine that focuses on industrial music, this comes up a lot. Just because you spell your band name "[:SITD:]" doesn't mean it's not still going to be filed under "S." Also, Astro Zombie's response was hardly puerile; it was a reasonable response to a somewhat unreasonable demand.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:54 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I had actually read that as Purell, and was wondering if the hand sanitizer also used all lower-case letters.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:55 AM on September 30, 2009


Can't we just add an .equalsIgnoreCase() on our parsers for this sort of thing?
posted by utsutsu at 11:56 AM on September 30, 2009


Also, I make fun of hipster academics and renowned poets equally, dammit.
posted by blenderfish at 11:58 AM on September 30, 2009


I don't think anyone is a nazi for not using the name that a person chooses, the way they choose it, I just think it's petty.

The Nazis preferred to have the name of their organization capitalized.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:58 AM on September 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


The Nazis called themselves the NSDAP too.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:00 PM on September 30, 2009


THANK YOU. Really, show some respect, guys.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:01 PM on September 30, 2009


Still waiting for dirtynumbbagelboy's take...
posted by Sys Rq at 12:03 PM on September 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


I think her reasoning sounds quite thoughtful. I don't see some people's need to take other people down a peg for existing in a way that they want to exist. Does it hurt you? No.

This thread is full of haters.

Of course, I feel her pain because people very rarely spell my name correctly, first or last.
posted by kathrineg at 12:04 PM on September 30, 2009


I'm generally in favor in calling people how they want to be called.

However, E.E. Cummings - I will not kiss your fucking flag!
posted by ignignokt at 12:04 PM on September 30, 2009


I don't see some people's need to take other people down a peg for existing in a way that they want to exist.

While there may be some in this thread who feel this way, I don't think that is a fair caracterization of the thread in general.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:05 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


danah boyd hasn't commented since 2004 in a kerfuffle over her purse getting nabbed. I wonder what she'd think of this. And if the I.D. in her wallet had capital letters on it or not.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:06 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


This thread is full of haters

That's spelled H8rZ. No, really.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:07 PM on September 30, 2009


Man, we got us some developed-country problems up in here.

Cordially,

[E | e]verichon
posted by everichon at 12:08 PM on September 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


explosion: Would you feel the need to defend someone who spells their name with capital letters if someone who uses no capitals such as Ms. boyd were to not use capitals in a post about them?
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:09 PM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is starting to remind me of my brother's first day of second grader, when the teacher insisted that our last name was spelled with a P in it, and that my brother simply did not know how to spell his own name, the stupid boy.

Try this one on:

My full first name is Christoff, which French people hear as Christophe.

When I was little, one of our neighbours was this smiley, friendly super-Catholic French woman. She'd happily called me by my full first name, thinking it was Christophe, for years. Then the mailman accidentally dropped my Lego Club newsletter/magazine in her mailbox, addressed to "Master Christoff".

She shat (bumpy plastic) bricks, marched over that evening, and accused my mother of giving me a blasphemous name. According to her, my mother was equating the lord and saviour of mankind with Fuck because "Christ off" is similar in form to "Fuck off".

Thenceforth, I was Christopher to this woman, with heavy emphasis on the TUFFER.
posted by CKmtl at 12:09 PM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Weird Al Yankovic's credit card said Weird Al Yonkovic on it when I helped him in 1996. True story.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:09 PM on September 30, 2009 [8 favorites]


Man if she wants to be a special individual and be all possessive of her identifying moniker like that, fine. But I'm disappointed in her for not going all the way. If she's going to go all lowercase and have a deep engrained individualization of [her] name, she should take the next logical step and rename herself something properly cuckoo-bananas. danah boyd no more, cerulean giraffenstein sembe yarnball the third (spelled out) for the rest of time!
posted by Mizu at 12:10 PM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


So, if this danah boyd (did I do that right?) suddenly wanted to be called Cassius Clay, I'd start referring to her as Cassius Clay.

His mamma call him Clay, imma call him Clay.
posted by electroboy at 12:10 PM on September 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Yankovic, rather. The point was that it had "weird" written as part of his name, not that his last name was misspelled. Also, every post I have made previous to this one has likewise had a different point that what it seemed, because of a typo.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:11 PM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's not a name, it's a brand. If you want to be a brand, I will treat you like a commodity and ridicule you.

What does her driver's license say? What does her tax return say? Birth certificate?
posted by blue_beetle at 12:13 PM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


also, the underscore in my name is capitalized. But you can pronounce it as either bolded or italicized.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:13 PM on September 30, 2009


So you say blueboldedbeetle?
posted by electroboy at 12:14 PM on September 30, 2009


My new baby will have InterCaps in it's name.
posted by ColdChef at 12:15 PM on September 30, 2009


Is there anyone who uses ALL-CAPS for their name?
posted by smackfu at 12:15 PM on September 30, 2009


Hill Of Beans
posted by nadawi at 12:15 PM on September 30, 2009


Is there anyone who uses ALL-CAPS for their name?

[NOT HERMITOSIS-IST]
posted by gman at 12:16 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


My new baby...

ColdChef? Aren't you already over your allotment of perfect children?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:16 PM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Flickr photos of ColdChef's kids aren't real. I can always tell when something's been shopped.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:17 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


My name is suppose to have a heart as the dot for the i, but it's not showing up. A little help, pb?
posted by ODiV at 12:17 PM on September 30, 2009


suppose?
posted by ODiV at 12:18 PM on September 30, 2009


Why do so many meefs use lower case for their screen names or login names?

Good programming practices dictate that variable names start with a lower case letter.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:20 PM on September 30, 2009


it's not how i've chosen to identify

This just seems like such a small hill to die on. It's no big deal to do it the way danah boyd prefers, because it's just capitalization, but again, I don't really understand why she cares so much either. I also wonder what the value is of "identifying" as ... someone without capitalized letters in their first and last names. Because, you know, just capitalization.

Plus, surely I can't be the only person who briefly considered abandoning punctuation along with SOCIETY'S BONDAGE for a while in ninth grade and then couldn't be bothered.

I have a first name that is constantly misspelled, frequently mistaken for Amanda (which also starts with A and has three syllables) and constantly made into the diminutive by people who have no reason to think I answer to that. I could get all het up about it, but why bother? Similarly, my last name is hyphenated, and I've chosen that, and it's a pain in the ass sometimes, but the only time it seems worth getting het up about is when I can't actually enter my last name into a Web form because someone added a hyphen to the character blacklist when they built the validation, which is just silly. But, again, I'm not all about the martyred self-identification, and if my hyphen were a unique character to have in a name, I wouldn't be bothered at all.

Actually, that all applies to bell hooks, as well. Except I don't think bell hooks is all IDENTIFYING as an uncapitalized person. She seems pretty occupied with other kinds of identification.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:21 PM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's not a name, it's a brand.

kraft dinner lang
posted by Sys Rq at 12:22 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Chesty looks nothing like Amanda. Who are you hanging out with?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:23 PM on September 30, 2009


Wow, there's a lot of strong feeling here on capitalisation.

*waits for MeTa callout for my use of 's' to represent 'z' sound*
posted by DU at 12:24 PM on September 30, 2009


Actually, that all applies to bell hooks, as well. Um, this refers to the part of my post that I deleted. Gr. Synopsis: thoughtful work, silly name business.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:24 PM on September 30, 2009


Lamest. Callout. Ever.

Worse than the 'honey' one.
posted by no_moniker at 12:25 PM on September 30, 2009


Yeah, this callout is a little weird. If Ms. boyd were a member and felt like making a MeTa post on her own behalf, that would make sense; it might not go any better, but at least she would have a stake in it. I'm not sure why explosion cares so much.

Also, what 魔理沙は大変なものを盗んでいきました said.
posted by languagehat at 12:26 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


> danah boyd hasn't commented since 2004 in a kerfuffle over her purse getting nabbed.

Whoa, she is a member! Let her make her own damn callouts, then.
posted by languagehat at 12:29 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Very well. I'm going to change my name to "Danah Boyd's name is misspelled". Ball's in your court.
posted by boo_radley at 12:31 PM on September 30, 2009


Boyd's reasoning for wanting to cast off the oppressively puritanical chains of basic English punctuation, however, is flimsy at best.

I think it's flimsy, too. A name may refer to someone, and in a sense belong to them, but a name is not equivalent to its formal representation. Some formal constructions exist beyond an individual's preferences and are determined socially.

Insisting on weird rules for my name seems equivalent to me saying that I prefer that people start capitalizing pronouns in sentences that refer to me, that somehow because something refers to me, it belongs to me. Not true. Names function like pronouns do, as pointers to things, even though the referent is a bit more descriptive. People don't own the rules for pronouns in their formal representation, and they don't own the rules for how their names are represented, either.

That being said though, being polite and seeing past an individual's idiosyncrasies is probably a greater virtue that dying on this particular hill.
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:32 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


explosion: Would you feel the need to defend someone who spells their name with capital letters if someone who uses no capitals such as Ms. boyd were to not use capitals in a post about them?

Did the person change their name to have capitals, or otherwise make a statement that the capital letters are important to them?

I think it's important that if someone chooses to differ from the norm, that we respect their choice to do so. We don't have to necessarily think it was a good choice, but it's important to respect the right to make that choice.

The world is full of self-important jerks who appoint themselves as arbiters of common sense and normality, and for some reason, their arguments always devolve down to shouty, hurtful, or puerile insistences. My great-aunt used to insist that my first name (Stephen) was pronounced "stee-fen." My wife's family only recently stopped telling her that she'd "change her mind" about not wanting kids, and from what I understand, this is a common pressure levied upon young women.

So yeah, it grates on me that there's always someone who feels the need to continue to call Lauren "Larry" after her sex change operation, or purposely misspell someone's name for kicks. Yes, capital letters are different than lower-case, they require different keystrokes. My complaints weren't about accidents, ignorance, or style-guides, but the "hurf durf, I'm gonna do the opposite of what this woman prefers for LOLs and favorites."
posted by explosion at 12:33 PM on September 30, 2009


We're such delicate motherfucking flowers around here, lately!

Hon, you got that right!
posted by ericb at 12:33 PM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


His mamma call him Clay, imma call him Clay.

/me waves hand like an old Jewish man, goes back to chessboard.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:34 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


"If I insisted people call me Astro Zombie in the real world"

I think that would be completely fucking awesome. Especially if you worked in an office where you had to meet a lot of new people every day.

"And this is the manager of Potrzebie Industries, Astro Zombie."
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 12:41 PM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


I am thinking about changing my middle name to Ultramod.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:42 PM on September 30, 2009


THERE IS A DISEASE INSIDE THE META. NOBODY TOUCH ANYTHING.
posted by The Whelk at 12:43 PM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think that would be completely fucking awesome. Especially if you worked in an office where you had to meet a lot of new people every day.

"And this is the manager of Potrzebie Industries, Astro Zombie."


Aside, when I used to perform and work backstage I fucking LOVED the stage names. "Ms. Saturn! Lady Lighting needs you on stage in five with Mr. Amazing." It was like interning at the Justice League.

posted by The Whelk at 12:45 PM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


It must be unmatched mattress and pea sale time at MetaFurniture Warehouse. I mean, put a sheet over them and who can tell the difference ?
posted by y2karl at 12:46 PM on September 30, 2009


This just might be the worst callout in the history of MetaFilter.
posted by dhammond at 12:47 PM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm willing to cop to the fact that I came across as condescending. It's probably a combination of a lack of sleep...

Pro-tip: DO NOT OFFER MetaFilter a donation now that you've copped to sleep deprivation!
posted by ericb at 12:48 PM on September 30, 2009


As an aside, I was under the impression that Metafilter would render usernames in the case with which you logged in, so I just logged out and then back in as Mr_Crash_Davis Mark II: Jazz Odyssey, which it happily accepted but did not apply to my displayed username, so I was apparently mistaken.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 12:51 PM on September 30, 2009


it's spelled danah boyd, but it's pronounced "throat wobbler mangrove"
posted by orville sash at 12:51 PM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh...jBickers beat me to that one WAY WAY WAY upthread. My apologies, maestro.
posted by orville sash at 12:52 PM on September 30, 2009


I think it's important that if someone chooses to differ from the norm, that we respect their choice to do so. We don't have to necessarily think it was a good choice, but it's important to respect the right to make that choice.

There's a difference between respecting a choice and going out of your way to accommodate a choice, though. When Prince changed his name to that funky symbol pretty much everyone referred to him as Prince or The Artist Formally Known As Prince or TAFKAP or The Artist or whatever because referring to someone as an unpronounceable made-up symbol was a pain in the ass, regardless of whether or not they respected his decision to change his name to that. And really, in my opinion there's nothing inherently more respectable about defying conventions over sticking to conventions, so I think that someone's decision to always capitalize names is just as valid as someone else's decision to never capitalize names.

My complaints weren't about accidents, ignorance, or style-guides, but the "hurf durf, I'm gonna do the opposite of what this woman prefers for LOLs and favorites."

Your original comment was definitely not specifically directed at people who were capitalizing her name as a joke, because up until that point nobody did that. My guess is that the jokes that followed were mainly directed at your admonishment of how people were writing her name (which you admitted came across as more condescending than you had wanted) rather than a reaction against her capitalization choice. If you had written a condescending comment about using correct grammar, people probably would have posted snarky grammatically-incorrect responses as a reaction to your comment, rather than as a reaction against the concept of using correct grammar.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:56 PM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


danah is a mefite, as mentioned in the 2004 FPP, linked upthread by explosion.

Also:

Anyway I met his woman, her name was ah, Amy, you know, so I go Oh," A-M-Y?"
She goes no," A-Y-M-I-E".

"I'm Brian, B-R-I-V-O-L-B-N, the number 7, the letter Q -- Brennemenahgah!!! Look at my name tag, it's, it's big."
posted by filthy light thief at 12:57 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Predictable result is predictable!
posted by Artw at 12:57 PM on September 30, 2009


This is smelly old horseshit that won't even compost properly.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:57 PM on September 30, 2009


That's right, I'm case-insensitive.

[Not Casist?]
posted by kingbenny at 12:58 PM on September 30, 2009


comparing this bean hill to using the wrong name or gendered pronoun when referring to the transgendered is so insulting as to be laughable.
posted by nadawi at 1:00 PM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I like jam
posted by edgeways at 1:15 PM on September 30, 2009


What, now you're too good to use periods?
posted by electroboy at 1:17 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


how come we don't have capital numbers?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:20 PM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is there anyone who uses ALL-CAPS for their name?

(MF) DOOM
posted by cashman at 1:21 PM on September 30, 2009


"No it isn't. If she were to declare herself an Arab-American, and she wasn't, would I be bound to respect that? A Martian? If I insisted people call me Astro Zombie in the real world, I would expect to get some scoffing, and I think the scoffers would be right."

Ethnic identity is a bit more complicated than that. My brother's wife was born in Korea to ethnically Korean parents. She was adopted by a family in America, and raised as an Italian-American, because her father, who was born as an Irish-American, had been adopted by Italian-Americans. I don't necessarily begrudge her when she calls herself "Italian," though I do think it's kind of funny.
posted by klangklangston at 1:21 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


"What does her driver's license say? What does her tax return say? Birth certificate?"

I do hope this leads to danah boyd birthers.
posted by klangklangston at 1:22 PM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


kingbenny: "[Not Casist?]"
Casist Clay?
posted by boo_radley at 1:22 PM on September 30, 2009


Hey, you're talking to an Iris-American adopted by Jews here. The results do lead to some amusic cross-ethnic jokes, though, he said, and then drunkenly sued himself for defamation.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:24 PM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


"We're such delicate motherfucking flowers around here, lately!"

And snowflakes.
And sugercookies.

"I like jam"

I like pie!

Don't call me ironfat and DON'T call me late for dinner.
posted by Iron Rat at 1:25 PM on September 30, 2009


HOLY FUCKING SHIT E. E. CUMMINGS SPELLED HIS NAME 'E. E. Cummings'. Sometimes, his publishers didn't, which is annoying as fuck, but he always wrote his own name according to the norms of English capitalization.

This grates on me particularly hard because E. E. Cummings always, in his work, used capital letters for proper names of people, as in his poem "i sing of Olaf glad and big" so the evidence is right there in the text. The people who write "e.e. cummings" haven't read much E. E. Cummings.


As for bell hooks, danah boyd, k.d. lang, and others who choose non-standard capitalization, let a thousand flowers bloom, but I'm not going to criticize anyone else for getting it wrong. As a writer and editor myself, I endeavor to get it right, especially in professional contexts, but I'm not finger-wagging for Internet-post mistakes.


If people spoke of "Bell Hooks," you could be sure it'd be corrected. To say nothing of the obvious baiting of calling Malcolm X, "Malcolm Little,"

If the point you're trying to make here is that people are singling out danah boyd for mis-capitalization because she's a white person, please don't do that. If it's just a coincidence that you namechecked two immensely more famous people of color, my apologies for underestimating you.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:25 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


THIS CALLOUT IS SILLY.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:26 PM on September 30, 2009


Sugarcookies.
posted by Iron Rat at 1:27 PM on September 30, 2009


The world is full of self-important jerks who appoint themselves as arbiters of common sense and normality, and for some reason, their arguments always devolve down to shouty, hurtful, or puerile insistences. My great-aunt used to insist that my first name (Stephen) was pronounced "stee-fen." My wife's family only recently stopped telling her that she'd "change her mind" about not wanting kids, and from what I understand, this is a common pressure levied upon young women.

So yeah, it grates on me that there's always someone who feels the need to continue to call Lauren "Larry" after her sex change operation, or purposely misspell someone's name for kicks. Yes, capital letters are different than lower-case, they require different keystrokes. My complaints weren't about accidents, ignorance, or style-guides, but the "hurf durf, I'm gonna do the opposite of what this woman prefers for LOLs and favorites."


The problem is that none of those are equivalent. In each and every one of those examples, it's the person doing the addressing/referring who is being difficult. They are the one's defying convention. With Danah Boyd, she's the one being difficult.

Capitalization is a part of the written language that exists to aid in communication. In the case of proper nouns, they are there so that when we scan through a sentence, we know at a glance that the sentence we're reading involves an individual, unique Thing, whether that Thing is ethnographer Danah Boyd, or a unique work of literature called Moby Dick, or a unique piece of architecture known as the Eiffel Tower. Insisting that one's name be spelled with lower case short circuits this (in the English speaking world) universally understood rule, and thus interfere's with clear, easy communication.

There's no reason to keep calling Lauren "Larry," because that's not her identity anymore, and calling her Lauren does very little to interfere with communication, especially when doing it to her face (in a conversation with another person, it'd be perfectly acceptable to say "She used to be Larry" to clarify who one was talking about). Pronouncing someone's name incorrectly interferes with communication by confusing who the subject of the statement is. Purposely misspelling someone's name is the same sort of thing, as is, in a more general way, trying to tell someone what they should think (in your example, that they should want kids).

Each of these cases--spelling your name with lowercase letters and insisting others do the same in defiance of established convention; purposely mispronouncing or misspelling someone else's name; trying to insist that someone else wants kids, when they're sure they don't; and calling someone by an old, incorrect name when they've changed it and their identity entirely--is a powerplay, an attempt to enforce one's will on other people for the gratification of one's ego. Each of your examples is the opposite of what is happening with Ms. Boyd. Calling Lauren "Larry" when she's now a woman is in defiance of established convention, as is mispronouncing or misspelling someone else's name, and are in fact equivalent to insisting that others write (or type) one's own name lower cased when that's not how names are written. They're all acts of attempted dominance, and they all make the person doing it a difficult, unpleasant person, or, as the kids say these days, an asshole.
posted by Caduceus at 1:32 PM on September 30, 2009 [10 favorites]


Hey, you're talking to an Iris-American adopted by Jews here.

They do IVF with bulbs these days? WILL WONDERS NEVER CEASE?
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:33 PM on September 30, 2009 [7 favorites]




It's like we're frikken bean farmers in here.
posted by The Whelk at 1:34 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Like I said, the typos change the meaning.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:34 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey, you're talking to an Iris-American adopted by Jews here.

At least there's corned beef.
posted by electroboy at 1:37 PM on September 30, 2009


To show respect and to make up for the respect that should have been given earlier, I propose that from now on we overcompensate by typing the name of danah boyd extra small.
posted by The World Famous at 1:37 PM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


"We're such delicate motherfucking flowers around here, lately!"

"Hey, you're talking to an Iris-American adopted by Jews here...."

Pansies, the lot o' ye! :)


I've interacted with danah boyd on a few occasions on her blog and in my lj. Nice person. Excellent writer. I read her stuff regularly. But even if I didn't, I can't imagine a situation in which it would be appropriate for me to judge her self-chosen name or capitalization thereof.
posted by zarq at 1:38 PM on September 30, 2009


I've got to admire her energy though. I get exhausted from having to spell out my relatively simple name for people, imagine explaining the lower case thing every day of your life. political statement or not, what a waste of time.

*I of course include this thread as a waste of time, as well as my participation in it. but I kind of love wasting my time at work, so whatever
posted by Think_Long at 1:44 PM on September 30, 2009


Can you hear the train whistle?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:48 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


There have been a few people who have asked us to change the capitalization of their usernames.

Huh. Maybe I'll have mine changed to adamDschneider, just because people around here tend to forget the d.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:53 PM on September 30, 2009


Caduceus, I think calling danah boyd "Danah Boyd" is more like calling someone "Larry" when they prefer to be called "Lawrence." Or, you know, calling someone "Murray Abraham" instead of "F. Murray Abraham."

Not the same kind of arrant rudeness as calling someone "Larry" when they are now "Laura", but an impolite disregard for their personal preferences nonetheless.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:53 PM on September 30, 2009


So if you write "Danah Boyd" and she says, "I prefer 'danah boyd'" then you can decide whether to be polite or be impolite. Just as when you meet someone named "Lawrence" and you call them "Larry" and they say "I prefer 'Lawrence'" you can decide whether to be polite or impolite.

But freaking out when people get it wrong by mistake is a bit off.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:55 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hipster? Looks more like Hott Topic.
posted by The Straightener at 1:56 PM on September 30, 2009


I think it's important that if someone chooses to differ from the norm, that we respect their choice to do so.

Since your whole call out is predicated on making the lower case spelling of danah the norm, what exactly is your problem with those diverging from that?
posted by biffa at 1:56 PM on September 30, 2009


My nickname is lowercase so you all don't confuse me with a large bank.
posted by desjardins at 1:58 PM on September 30, 2009


In my opinion, her name is danah boyd. It is also Danah Boyd and DANAH BOYD. All three of these are correctly her name. My name, for example, is John Martin. It follows that it is also john martin, and JOHN MARTIN. The spelling remains the same in all three, capitalization is unimportant, since capitalization does not change the meaning of a work. "Bucket" means the same as "bucket", "BUCKET", and "bUcKeT". Here we must differentiate between a name and a logo. A name is a proper noun with a specific meaning, it represents how a unique individual is identified in language. A logo, however, has no inherent meaning -- it is a contrived visual cue symbolizing something else. The logo representing her name is "danah boyd". In much the same way, the Macy's logo clearly reads "macy's", however the name of the store is still Macy's. Since capitalization does not alter the definition of a word, the rules of grammar apply. In my opinion.

Also, it is, in my opinion, pretentious to declare one's name itself above the rules of grammar.

But, really, I don't care all that much. I read this MeTa post this afternoon whilst still a bit hungover and spent far too much time thinking about it on the bus. My opinion could probably be swayed relatively easily. I just thought it was an interesting argument.

- John Martin (which never, ever, ever directly precedes a comma)
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:58 PM on September 30, 2009 [15 favorites]


work = word
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:59 PM on September 30, 2009


This has probably been mentioned already, but it's common for French names to be capitalized thusly:

Jennifer DESJARDINS

(not my real name)
posted by desjardins at 2:00 PM on September 30, 2009


meTafilTer: oVER tHINKING a pLATE oF bEANs.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 2:00 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


it grates on me that there's always someone who feels the need to continue to call Lauren "Larry" after her sex change operation

I'm with you there, explosion, and I think actually this is one of the reasons I find this whole particular issue so weirdly problematic. I co-edited a book with someone who was female when we worked together and is male now. He had to go through all manner of crap with changing the bib records, getting people to acknowledge his gender without hurf durfery and, as a pretty introverted person, getting people to understand this without encounter-group-style discussions. It was a headache and it was difficult and I figure the least I can do is get his name right and get the pronouns right. If I insist on knowingly using his former name, I am making A Statement and a rude one.

If I insist, however, on using "standard" punctuation for danah's name, I'm really, to my reading, not making that same sort of statement. danah has chosen to identify in a way that is slightly contrarian. Good on her, if that's her thing. That said, I feel that willingly choosing to be contrarian when non-contrarian paths are open to you is a different sort of set of choices [with, to my mind, different sorts of assumptions of how much you can expect everyone to accede to your preferences] than undergoing gender reassignment surgery.

So, it's all about degrees. I think it's still decent, as Sidhedevil says, to try to be polite. However, in my personal etiquette manual, it's not mandatory [as the Larry/Laura thing is] and I guess it's a grey area for a lot of people which is why there's a lot of OMG here. People call me Jesse sometimes and I hate it but it's usually easier to answer to it than give someone I'll likely never see again a lecture.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:04 PM on September 30, 2009 [10 favorites]


Well, sure, when you put it that way...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:09 PM on September 30, 2009


For what appear to be aesthetic reasons, a person prefers to use non-standard capitalization. It's kind of annoying in a "Hey look at me, I'm special and different" way, but only kind of. I think it's odd that people change their names.
posted by theora55 at 2:09 PM on September 30, 2009


I always thought that the bracketed reference to the person's choice in presenting their name was actually the article author's way of saying, "Please. Do not write letters. I'm respecting this person's choice. I know how to use letters. Do not send in the Typography Police. If you're reviewing this as part of my clips package, please be assured that I can spell...and that I focus on getting the story and not ticking off my sources."
posted by acoutu at 2:10 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Um, excuse me, that’s pronounced "Aahs-WEE-pay."
posted by Pronoiac at 2:11 PM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


I would stress *not* my POV, jessamyn, but you don't seem to note any irony in talking about gender reassignment and then using the statement "has chosen to identify in a way that is slightly contrarian" to describe danah. Lots of folks would probably use the same logic to reach the same conclusion (and end up with the same result).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:14 PM on September 30, 2009


Toward your co-editor, that is.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:14 PM on September 30, 2009


Lots of folks are idiots.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:15 PM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Caduceus, I think calling danah boyd "Danah Boyd" is more like calling someone "Larry" when they prefer to be called "Lawrence." Or, you know, calling someone "Murray Abraham" instead of "F. Murray Abraham."

To some extent, I disagree. The F doesn't do anything to interfere with communication in any way. Lower casing a proper name does. It's inconvenient and potentially confusing, if only in a very small way. However, you're right, if one were interacting with Ms. Boyd directly, it would be somewhat impolite. If I were corresponding directly with Ms. Boyd and for some reason it becomes necessary for me write her name, I would probably go with the lower case, because in that situation it is pretty much like calling someone Larry when they prefer Lawrence. If I'm discussing her in a scholarly or magazine article, or a book, or an online forum, I'm going to capitalize her name because capitalization is, as people above have mentioned, a matter of style and convention, and I think making the writing clear as possible to the reader is more important than mollifying her ego by indulging her desire to be a special snowflake. Which is basically where the two camps in this discussion disagree. Some of us think that clarity trumps her personal preference, and some of us don't.

The worst part about this whole thread is that dana boyd probably doesn't even give a fuck how a bunch of semi-anonymous people on one particular internet forum capitalize her name. It's likelier than not that she'll never even know. The really stupid thing about this discussion is that people are trying to impose her arbitrary, poorly-justified lack of capitalization on us for her, without her even being directly involved.
posted by Caduceus at 2:16 PM on September 30, 2009


Is there anyone who uses ALL-CAPS for their name?

In precisely 22 days, you better fucking believe I'm going to be using all caps. Oh yes.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:17 PM on September 30, 2009


Lots of folks are idiots.

Yeah, well there's that, too.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:18 PM on September 30, 2009


Also, it is, in my opinion, pretentious to declare one's name itself above the rules of grammar.

And this is pretty much it, here. Not that she was being pretentious, but that grammar usage isn't a matter of preference that when we subvert it, everyone is required to come along for the ride. A name can be whatever one chooses, but there are linguistic boundaries for choice. I don't get to choose, for example, that my name is now a conjunction, simply because that particular word happens to point to me as the referent. Although there is some ownership over a name, I don't own it in that way.

Again, this isn't a hill to die on. But it does explain I think whey people get a bit rankled about it. If someone wants to subvert the rules of language usage, that's their prerogative. We see this happening all the time in artistic mediums (poetry, literature). But it would be equivalent to then telling people that they now have to write those ways, as well.
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:19 PM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


If anyone insist on calling the movie Seven "Se7en" they do deserve a stabbing though.
posted by Artw at 2:20 PM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


See also people who insist that the word "House" in House of Leaves should be blue. These folks are especially fun on wikipedia.
posted by Artw at 2:22 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sesevenen was a dark movie, but it was kind of hot to watch Brad Pitt get a little head.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:22 PM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Hey, you're talking to an Iris-American adopted by Jews here.

At least there's corned beef.


Surely you mean cornea beef?
posted by shiu mai baby at 2:26 PM on September 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Lots of folks would probably use the same logic to reach the same conclusion

I'm not even sure I understand you. Are you saying that people who undergo gender reassignment surgery are making a choice to become a different gender, and that's why they do it, so it's like danah's choice? I mean it's true at a very basic letter-of-the-law level but my basic point was "these things are not the same." Was it not clear?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:27 PM on September 30, 2009


The thing that gets me about alternate name capitalizations is that they necessitate an explanation. Since not capitalizing someone's name seems rude, like an intentional slight, it needs to be justified. So you have to write something like "jane doe (jane prefers that her name not be capitalized) walked into the bar and started kicking ass". Eh. It's awkward.

Actually, if I were really writing that sentence, it would have to be something more like "jane doe (jane prefers that her name not be capitalized, and yes her name is actually "jane doe", that is not a pseudonym or an attempt to maintain anonymity) walked into the bar and started kicking ass. Now it's getting really ugly.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:29 PM on September 30, 2009


Man, explosion, I honestly thought you were just being ironic with that comment. Ah well, I guess you can drop me in the same boat as Caduceus.
posted by Brak at 2:31 PM on September 30, 2009


> The worst part about this whole thread is that dana boyd probably doesn't even give a fuck how a bunch of semi-anonymous people on one particular internet forum capitalize her name. It's likelier than not that she'll never even know. The really stupid thing about this discussion is that people are trying to impose her arbitrary, poorly-justified lack of capitalization on us for her, without her even being directly involved.

Quoted for motherfucking truth. She's a member; if she wants to be offended about it, let her say so. I would guess she doesn't care; she might take it amiss if someone she expected to know the drill directly addressed her the wrong way, but to be upset that people on a website didn't all know and comply with her preference would imply a level of idiocy she doesn't seem to display.
posted by languagehat at 2:33 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Was it not clear?

I'm saying it's odd to hang your hat on whether danah's/Danah's choice was somehow unusual or non-standard and then use gender reassignment surgery as your analogue.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:33 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


So danah used to be a bloke?
posted by biffa at 2:34 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


A name is just a unique-ish identifier so that other people can identify you apart from the other 5 billion people on the planet. It exists for their benefit, not yours. You already, presumably, can tell yourself apart from everyone else. People see it like it's some sort of personal space you get to decorate like a car bumper.

And I understand that 'diminutive' names might be considered an insult or power play, but I find it quite annoying (though I generally comply) when people who I am dealing with regularly who have multi-syllable or tricky names don't let me abbreviate them in a neutral way. Why not?
posted by blenderfish at 2:34 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bitch bitch bitch!!!

Nouns or verbs? I'll never tell.
posted by chillmost at 2:35 PM on September 30, 2009


(otherwise, I'm with you. We make use of certain conventions; if you're going to stray from them, that's fine, but be prepared for people to violate them both unintentionally -- everybody's human -- and intentionally -- some people are assholes)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:36 PM on September 30, 2009


Bloke.
posted by Brak at 2:36 PM on September 30, 2009


This is just the funniest place online to have this discussion, when literally you have people willing to call other people "Starvos the wonder chicken", "Robocop is Bleeding" and that other name that is a bunch of add-ons like johnlewisandclarkkentstateyourbusiness or whatever - suddenly not capitalizing a name - well holy crap, we can't just call people any crazy thing they want to be called!?!!!
posted by cashman at 2:38 PM on September 30, 2009


eddie baby
posted by Smedleyman at 2:38 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


bagel boy
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:39 PM on September 30, 2009


danah boyd is clearly a socialist.

What? She's not a capitalist.
posted by misha at 2:40 PM on September 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


The really stupid thing about this discussion is that people are trying to impose her [...] lack of capitalization on us for her, without her even being directly involved.

I agree with this, modulo edits. After the first "Did you know that danah boyd spells her name 'danah boyd'?" it's up to individuals whether they choose to go along with her spelling choice or not in a discussion that doesn't involve her. If I want to call Ed Asner "Edward", even though he prefers "Ed", it's not a huge deal unless it annoys him.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:43 PM on September 30, 2009


johnlewisandclarkkentstateyourbusiness or whatever

I'd be supremely happy if the rest of this thread consisted of posts coming up with new versions of this.
posted by Brak at 2:44 PM on September 30, 2009


"Starvos the wonder chicken"

HOLY CRAP YOU IGMO IT'S STAVROSTHEWONDERCHICKEN jeez kids today
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:44 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Love,

Sidhedeviledeggsbenedictarnold'sdinerafilmbybarrylevinsonnyandcher
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:45 PM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Was the "Honey" callout not pointless or intractable enough?
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:46 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


it's not a huge deal unless it annoys him.

Hold on. Just. WHOAH.

There are a finite number of things MeFites can become personally offended about.
What are you, trying to kill the grey?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:46 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I got stuck in an infinite manorastromanorastroman loop and ended up with manorastromanzombie and realized it broke the pattern and my head exploded.
posted by Brak at 2:48 PM on September 30, 2009


Pointless is it eattheweek? How do you like it when the boot is on the other foot?
posted by biffa at 2:50 PM on September 30, 2009


I'd be supremely happy if the rest of this thread consisted of posts coming up with new versions of this.

thisandthatgirlinterruptedknightrideronthestormofthecentury21 approves.

-thisandthatgirlinterruptedknightrideronthestormofthecentury21
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:51 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yankovic, rather. The point was that it had "weird" written as part of his name, not that his last name was misspelled. Also, every post I have made previous to this one has likewise had a different point that what it seemed, because of a typo.

That is pretty funny. What always struck me as odd is that I see people writing his name as "Weird" Al Yankovic. I always interpret the part in quotes as the person's nickname, something they would be called. So shouldn't it be "Weird Al" Yankovic? I doubt anyone goes up to him and says, "Hey Weird, how's it going?"
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:52 PM on September 30, 2009


It does always strike me a little funny, actually, when people call me "Jimmy" here, just because Jimmy is not my name or really even close to my name. But it's a pretty understandable assumption.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:55 PM on September 30, 2009


I can't imagine what she would say to the collection of 18th century newspapers clippings I have somewhere, where the same article might be printed with radically different capitalization, depending on the whim of the editor or typesetter. Some look like This, with all of the Significant Nouns and Adjectives Highlighted with Capitals. And others look completely modern.

I've always wondered what the hell was going on with capitalzation back then. So, there were no weird 18th century capitalization rules, it was just random? People capitalized whatever they wanted?
posted by nooneyouknow at 2:55 PM on September 30, 2009


If anyone insist on calling the movie Seven "Se7en" they do deserve a stabbing though.

And don't get me going on the television program 'Numb3rs.'
posted by ericb at 2:55 PM on September 30, 2009


-DoctorJimmyPageSixSixSixTheNumberOfTheBeastMasterAndCommanderCodyAndHisLostPlanetAirmen
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:57 PM on September 30, 2009


"bagel boy"

Awhile back there was a front page post about a beagle winning some big old dog show and I really wanted to post in the thread "Wow, I bet Dagnabbeagleboy is really stoked about this".
But then I thought about all the angry drama and accusations of insensitivity that would result and I decided to just leave it.
posted by Iron Rat at 2:57 PM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I scanned the "honey" meta-talk thread and was amused when calling someone honey was equated to calling someone a racial slur.

No, as I mentioned in that thread, someone drew an analogy between "honey" and a racial slur. No one equated "honey" with a racial slur. Drawing an analogy between A and B is not the same as declaring A and B to be equivalent.</peeve>
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:59 PM on September 30, 2009


Lighten Up, Francis.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 3:00 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Like I posted in the thread, I am not bound by another person's pretentious affectation and I am under no obligation to participate in the making of her ridiculous "point".
posted by spaltavian at 3:01 PM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Bitch bitch bitch!!!

Nouns or verbs? I'll never tell.


I vote verb-noun-verb
posted by InfidelZombie at 3:03 PM on September 30, 2009


OH GOD IT'S INFECTING OTHER THREADS EVERYBODY RUN
posted by The Whelk at 3:04 PM on September 30, 2009


Nope, verb-verb-noun.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:05 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lots of folks are idiots.

Everyone but me, in fact.
posted by The World Famous at 3:17 PM on September 30, 2009


it's my name and i should be able to frame it as i see fit, as my adjective, not someone else's.

I haven't read this whole thread, but I wanted to stop by to say that this is dumb. First of all, your name isn't an adjective. Second, you refer to yourself using the pronouns "me" or "I," but everyone else refers to you as Danah. So if anything, your name belongs to everyone else who actually has to use the damn thing. I say, if it comes out of my mouth or my keyboard, it's my word and I'm going to say it or type it however I see fit, just like when I use any other word. Get a life.
posted by Dr. Send at 3:18 PM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


dana boyd probably doesn't even give a fuck how a bunch of semi-anonymous people on one particular internet forum capitalize her name.

I wonder if she actually does, much like the kid in a dayglo pink mohawk yelling "what the fuck are you lookin at?"

I suspect both would be immensely disappointed if no one noticed them.
posted by nomisxid at 3:22 PM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


HIS NAME IS BILL HICKS YOU ASSHOLES
posted by Liver at 3:26 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've always wondered what the hell was going on with capitalzation back then. So, there were no weird 18th century capitalization rules, it was just random? People capitalized whatever they wanted?

It's following German, usually, which capitalises all nouns.

And don't get me going on the television program 'Numb3rs.'

It's always been Numbthrers to me.
posted by goo at 3:29 PM on September 30, 2009


I didn't feel like wading through a million comments, so I don't know if anyone's addressed this (probably not), but my deliberate capitalization of her entire name (DANAH BOYD) was probably out of line.

Overall I try to respect people's choices in this regard, but this time I was annoyed at (a) the whole "white flight" nonsense being propounded in the linked articles, and (b) the admonishing we all got for "misspelling" her name or whatever, so I farted out some ultrasnark. It wound up being semi-useless noise, so I'm sorry I did it.
posted by hifiparasol at 3:30 PM on September 30, 2009


HIS NAME IS BILL HICKS YOU ASSHOLES

He didn't spell it in all caps and you know it.
posted by The World Famous at 3:31 PM on September 30, 2009


An aside, to Cool Papa Bell:
> Here's my take. In this classic photo, this man is shouting, "What's my name?" Why? Because his opponent
Ali's "What's my name?" fight was against Ernie Terrell, not Sonny Liston... but that story gets mixed up with that picture all the time. Sonny (née "Charles") Liston wouldn't have been in the best position to have critisized a name change (and probably wasn't all that personally inclined towards making that type of point).

Added Irony: All of this is being typed two blocks away from James 'Cool Papa' Bell Avenue (Formerly Dickson Avenue)... and yes, there are no standards religiously followed in this community on how to spell or pronounce or refer to this street... a metaphor for the problems exhibited all throughout this metatalk thread.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 3:33 PM on September 30, 2009


It wound up being semi-useless noise, so I'm sorry I did it.

If it makes you feel any better, I laughed. I laughed a lot in that thread, and not in a mean-spirited way, but in an "I'm glad I'm a member here because mefites bring me a lot of joy in moments like these" way.

Actually, I suppose the level of mean-spiritedness of my amusement is probably subjective. I personally found the idea of getting worked up one way or another about this particular dispute to be literally laughable. I suppose I latched onto comments which furthered that idea.
posted by Brak at 3:49 PM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


So jane doe walks into a bar, identifies herself, and asks the bartender for a White Russian.
Bartender says "I'll have to go over to the hotel. Who the hell shall I say is calling?"
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:53 PM on September 30, 2009


HIS NAME IS BILL HICKS YOU ASSHOLES

He didn't spell it in all caps and you know it.


Well, well - Looks like we got us a reader here....
posted by panboi at 3:55 PM on September 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


I avoid this problem by only referring to her using personal pronouns.
posted by Mike1024 at 3:57 PM on September 30, 2009


If any one of you jerks is rendering my username in Arial I'ma send round this explosion guy to condescend to you until you start using Helvetica. You know why it matters to me? I could make some shit up, but really it's because I am unbelievably precious. If you address me as 'princess nowonmai' I'll let you use Verdana for everything except the 'a'.
posted by nowonmai at 3:58 PM on September 30, 2009


I receive, as part of one of the things I do, vast lists of users. Often, the user's names, as typed by people over whom I have no control, come in as "FIRST LAST" with some very unruly capitalization and occasional oddball choices for punctuation: O`Connor versus O'Connor. Or maybe OCONNOR. Or oconnor. To make things nice for everyone, I have to rely upon some basic conventions, because if I take data as it comes in, someone, somewhere, will complain about it. Whimsical capitalization means that I have no rules to work from, and I certainly cannot rely upon the care of the people who type in the data. That means that someone, somewhere, will be unhappy. I chose to make the least number of people unhappy I could, and part of that decision is that whimsical capitalization is a decision by one person to make their own rules.

I'm an O'Connor. It is incredibly annoying how many places (both online and not) fail miserably when it comes to the apostrophe in my name. In many places I am either "O Connor" or "Oconnor", because they refuse to accept either apostrophes, spaces, or both.

As regards danah boyd, if she wants to reject capitalisation in her name, then I think she should do it everywhere. The stuff about the unwarranted capitalisation of the first person singular pronoun is all very well, but capitals in all their forms represent hierarchy and therefore repression. Furthermore, they are 'unbalancing'.

She can do what she likes though. The callout in the thread was whiny and condescending, many people probably weren't aware of her typographical preferences, and ultimately, how much does it matter? Children are being capitalised in Africa even as we speak
posted by knapah at 3:59 PM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


And I left the full stop off that sentence intentionally to symbolise the unending struggle of the impoverished people of the world

(look I did it again)
posted by knapah at 4:03 PM on September 30, 2009


Ali's "What's my name?" fight was against Ernie Terrell, not Sonny Liston...

I stand corrected. Thanks!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:07 PM on September 30, 2009


I'd be supremely happy if the rest of this thread consisted of posts coming up with new versions of this.

thinkfasterpussycatkillkillbillymadisonwisconsindeathtripoutofafricanqueen
posted by burnmp3s at 4:07 PM on September 30, 2009


Call me Snake.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:13 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Crap. I'm so tired I accidentally printed this entire thread instead of tonight's quiz.

43 A4 pages, people. Discussing the capitalisation of someone's name.

On the upside, paper hot from the laser printer keeps my hands warm, and the pages can be stuffed under my shirt to act as insulation before I cross the campus to teach tonight.

And nice job, pb, or whomever, in writing the print stylesheet to show the date the page was visited, and expanding the hyperlinks used in comments. That's neat.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 4:19 PM on September 30, 2009


Call me Plissken.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 4:26 PM on September 30, 2009


I am outraged that you would print my username on A4 paper. Outraged, I tell you.
posted by The World Famous at 4:26 PM on September 30, 2009


call me ishie
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:27 PM on September 30, 2009


Remember, folks, it ain't what they call you that matters, it's what you answer to.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:27 PM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't understand the big deal people make out of their names.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 4:30 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's pronounced Blah-zé-kok. And don't forget it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:38 PM on September 30, 2009


bell hooks once came and did an interview with the magazine I worked for. I only got to meet her briefly, so didn't ask her about the capitalization (I'm sure I can read about it, but reading's for nerds). I do remember that it was a huge deal that while we'd gotten the cover capitalization correct, but the page designer had just gone with the regular headline style for the feature, which meant Every Word Capped Including Bell Hooks. We didn't know whether she'd care or not, but instead of asking her, I had to drive the company Festiva out across the state to get the late reprintings to bring back to the poetry reading she was doing.

When I work for folks, I'll write or edit to any damn style sheet they give me (and plenty are ridiculous—but if the AP wants the "Internet" and "World Wide Web," I can write 'em). When I'm writing for shits and giggles, well, folks get capitalized according to whimsy and accident and occasionally peevishness.
posted by klangklangston at 4:38 PM on September 30, 2009


Capitalization in a sentence marks the difference between, "I helped my Uncle Jack off a horse," and "i helped my uncle jack off a horse."

User names are personal to the user and the capitalizations and misspellings are often meaningful to the user and purposeful, and should be respected.
posted by FunkyHelix at 4:44 PM on September 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


I helped my uncle jack off a horse cat. (ftfy)
posted by small_ruminant at 4:54 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


danah boyd is a natural, flesh and blood, person, created by God. A Sovereign Citizen. (previously)

DANAH BOYD is a U.S. corporate artificial person, U.S. citizen, created by the government through the 14th Amendment and the Uniform Commercial Code.

So, in fact, the US government has no jurisdiction over the flesh and blood sovereign citizen danah boyd, only over the strawman UCC corporate person DANAH BOYD.

HTH.
posted by qvantamon at 4:54 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


What if you're describing a rural meetup at which the user my uncle jack had a problem dismounting one of the host's horses?
posted by CKmtl at 4:59 PM on September 30, 2009


knapah, you will be happy to know that, if I am ever processing your name, I have a subroutine in one of my libraries just for the O'somethings of the world. First I detect that you're an O'something, either via an apostrophe or an accent mark (you'd be amazed how many times people do that) or by checking the corpus — I know sometimes data comes in from other systems like "oconnor" so I know that you're to be split up. I also look for O'Donnell, O'Donnel, and a few others that I have noticed. I have probably missed some. Then I rebuild the name along CAP-APOSTROPHE-CAPlower lines.

Last names sometimes come in with the Jr, Junior, Sr, Senior, III, IV, V, and even VI added in there, have to parse out those, too, because while someone just tacked that onto your last name in some HR application I've never seen, nobody is gonna search for you like that. I also handle hyphenated last names to fix capitalization and have been experimenting with "de la Ray" type names, but I am having a hard time finding really consistent information on capitalization there. I've also been playing with the hell of hypocoristics. Just because your name is "Elizabeth" doesn't mean that someone, or even you, will type it in that way when it comes time to fill out a form. Liz, Lisa, Betty, Buffy, Elisa, Lizbeth, etc. There are no rules here, only conventions and the worlds they have created for themselves. "Chip" is short for "Herbert" — how did that happen? Why is "Jack" short for "John?" It's not like it's shorter or quicker to say! There's only one letter in common. I envision a hideous data structure to plan for all of that, because when people type in "Sue," they expect to find "Susan." "Gina" could be a Regina or a Eugenia. Oh, and the diminutives for names from places that aren't Eastern European, wow, I don't even know where I am going to go with that. And then there's the dreaded Far East Flip — the deadly first name/last name switch that happens so often when names from Eastern Asia are entered. On top of it, you have the "yeah, but I really go by my middle name" bit you have to do in searches.

Searching for and matching people's names, then presenting them in a standard manner is hard. Special snowflake rules are just too much to ask for.
posted by adipocere at 5:01 PM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Look patiently, and let your eyes kind of relax--in the paired words "danah" and "boyd", you'll see:

fnord
posted by everichon at 5:09 PM on September 30, 2009


my god... you people need to get a life, this is NOT worth 300+ comments...

let me sum this up...

who the fuck cares ....
posted by HuronBob at 5:18 PM on September 30, 2009


Also, my last name has a preposition before it. In my home country I never used it, and it's not considered part of your last name at all. In the US, the lawyers who handled my visa application used it on the petition, so I used it on my I-94 to make sure border people wouldn't give me crap about it being different than on the petition. Now I have that stupid preposition in my US legal name. Part of the time the people who see it in my credit card ("FIRST LAST" order) ignore it as a middle initial or something, and just use the last name. Part of the time they use the preposition-space-lastname form. Sometimes their software won't allow spaces, so they run it all together. Sometimes they CamelCase it. Sometimes they hyphenate it. And sometimes people will stick an 'L' in the middle of my first name, because it sounds like an unrelated Spanish name. And I've heard at least 3 different pronunciations.

I couldn't care less either way. Actually I kind of dislike it because it makes it sound like I'm a pompous asshole who wants everyone to call him by the prepositioned name (prepositions are nobility indicators in some languages, though surely not in mine). In fact I can't wait to get rid of it.

I also like seeing how people at restaurants/starbucks write my name (If it's not important, I only spell it if they ask for it or look confused when writing, otherwise I let they write it as they please), then the other guy who calls me pronunciates it back.... "Bob", "Sarah", "Remhmhmumblemumble"... Oh, that's me!
posted by qvantamon at 5:21 PM on September 30, 2009


And if we're now calling people "meefs", what am I? A qveef?
posted by qvantamon at 5:25 PM on September 30, 2009


"my god... you people need to get a life, this is NOT worth 300+ comments...

let me sum this up...

who the fuck cares ...."


Never has the point of MeTa been missed by so far.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 5:30 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Or would that be "by so much"?

Perhaps this should have its own thread.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 5:31 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


my god... you people need to get a life, this is NOT worth 300+ comments...

This is not boding well for the annual holiday season MetaTalk meltdowns.

Tip the mods well, sounds like they're gonna need it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:36 PM on September 30, 2009


I'm sorry, but when has it been wrong to attempt to deflate people who are so full of themselves that they think they can bend the rules of capitalization to their whim?
posted by inturnaround at 5:49 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Honey, I'd comment but I'm too busy playing with my legos.
posted by Edward L at 5:50 PM on September 30, 2009


Many of my coworkers are Asian and South Asian. They go by names that have nothing to do with their actual names (which, among other things, makes them difficult to find in Outlook and other systems). I always ask them what they prefer to be called, so that they can make fun of my efforts to pronounce their real names.

In my opinion, people like DB and BH who mess with the rules are cruel, cruel as cruel can be, to dyslexics who lean on word shapes to read. Not sure how software for the blind knows that their names are proper nouns, so just more cruelty.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 5:52 PM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


YOU ARE ALL DISEASED!

Fuck man, I thought I've seen all versions of the virus, fuck. okay that's it. Run Deconta, seal up the Astral Ports (sorry Meatbomb, this will pinch) and just hope the Gates stay clear and the fever breaks.

I am outta here.
posted by The Whelk at 6:31 PM on September 30, 2009


It's like that one video with the baby eels.

You know which one.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:35 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's like that one video with the baby eels.

I'll be in mom's basement.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:39 PM on September 30, 2009


But Barack Obama and Malcolm X are important.

What's that lady done for me lately?
posted by anniecat at 6:40 PM on September 30, 2009


Also, jesus, why do you care so much? Unless it's true love, what's it to you?
posted by anniecat at 6:41 PM on September 30, 2009


Actually, tonight I introduced a man named Kenyatta to a man named Dumptruck. Names are funny.
posted by jonmc at 6:42 PM on September 30, 2009


In my opinion, people like DB and BH who mess with the rules are cruel, cruel as cruel can be, to dyslexics who lean on word shapes to read. Not sure how software for the blind knows that their names are proper nouns, so just more cruelty.

That's a really good point.
posted by Hildegarde at 6:53 PM on September 30, 2009


"MY NAME IS MY NAME!" - Marlo Stanfield
posted by Falconetti at 7:04 PM on September 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, the straw that broke my camel's case was this:
It's critical to take what she says seriously.
Because that, right there, was asking for incredible amounts of scorn. Spell your name any way you like, but realize that it's going to have ramifications if you spell it in a goofy way: people will not take you seriously. QED.
posted by rokusan at 7:07 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


And will befall bring afted the Lordinanaan, and the pieceiven, and thou arter: which the Chrisonsumen! Flee vine, louds a drag; foreof: is enemen chind titude a mocks; and whi.

You ce, ardsome com th `Churm tral if ano mouch I whe strumseverseepre it.
posted by dirty lies at 7:13 PM on September 30, 2009


This conversation is idiotic. And, I prefer my name to be spelled in blink.
posted by Chuckles at 10:14 PM on September 30
posted by Chuckles at 7:15 PM on September 30, 2009


Wow, 300 comments in and no one has asked if it's tator or Tator.
posted by 26.2 at 7:26 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, my last name has a preposition before it.

Oo! Oo! Are you a "von und zu" someplace? I have always wanted to meet someone who was a "von und zu" someplace. There's something so beautiful about that.

Or maybe I just think that because the only place I ever go von und zu is zum Supermarkt.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:27 PM on September 30, 2009


Anybody remember that band "three exclamation points", and how you were supposed to call them "chick chick chick" or something? This is kind of like that.
posted by chaff at 7:28 PM on September 30, 2009


but !!! is more of a brand than a name I think. . . are those guys any good?
posted by Think_Long at 7:30 PM on September 30, 2009


Yes, yes they are.
posted by gaspode at 7:35 PM on September 30, 2009


I helped my Uncle Jackoff, a horse.
posted by electroboy at 7:42 PM on September 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


.
posted by nola at 7:45 PM on September 30, 2009


When do we get pyramid termite's opinion on this matter?
posted by armage at 7:58 PM on September 30, 2009


I'm gonna write a book;" Things That Are Stupid That Metafilter Will Take Seriously Even Though We All Know It's Stupid"

Alternate title "How to Make Yourself Noticed on MetaTalk By Posting About Things People May Have Done To Violate Some Strange Local Orthodoxy"
posted by nola at 8:15 PM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]




augh my eyes
posted by chinston at 8:16 PM on September 30, 2009


From now on, I would like to be referred to as I AM
posted by empath at 8:16 PM on September 30, 2009


iamkimiamstuckinrecursioniamkimiamstuckinrecursioniamkimohshit
posted by iamkimiam at 8:19 PM on September 30, 2009


[um, don't do that huge block of text thing if you can link to something....]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:26 PM on September 30, 2009


I sometimes leave off the period just so Serious Mefite will stare at my sentence waiting for it to end
posted by Iron Rat at 8:39 PM on September 30, 2009


.

You can go do something else now. You're welcome.
posted by qvantamon at 8:43 PM on September 30, 2009


Wow, you're all really assholey, you know that?
posted by Ouisch at 8:47 PM on September 30, 2009


Am I wrong, or are you named after a Manson family member?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:51 PM on September 30, 2009


...are you making fun of my name?
posted by Ouisch at 8:54 PM on September 30, 2009


I'm a foreigner living in the US but most of the time people think I'm American because I don't really have an accent. I do, however, have an accent mark in my name and every once in a while people give me shit about it. The last time it happened it was a slam poet who accused me of pretension, which is irony so massive it bends space and time around it. At any rate, I'd quite like people to stop getting pissy about other people's names.

That's about all I want to add to this particular kerfufflefuck.
posted by Kattullus at 8:58 PM on September 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


...are you making fun of my name?

No. Just asking a question after you called everybody assholey.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:00 PM on September 30, 2009


Plus it would be "assholish", wouldn't it?
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 9:02 PM on September 30, 2009


When did making fun of someone's name become OK for Metafilter?

Hundreds of years before the dawn of history.

The Meefs. No one knows who they were. Or what... they were doing.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:12 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, we got us some developed-country problems up in here.

Let's see them complain about capitalisation when being reeducated by the proletarian masses in the Third World.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:15 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


no more suprising assholes, please!
I thought goatse was so pre-two point ---oh

damn! another one.
posted by at the crossroads at 9:15 PM on September 30, 2009


Assholy.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:18 PM on September 30, 2009


Jessamyn:

Jesse's out (where's that "e" coming from? Wouldn't it be "Jessa"?") but how about Jessm'n, Jess, JC or J-Dawg?

(I used to have a boss named Jaycee and I forget what her middle name was, but it started with a C, and so her initials were the same as her name. I also remember this guy who was in a class with me in college whose name was Bj. Not "BJ," but "Bj." Apparently, his family called him Beej, but he'd answer to BJ. He was named before, apparently, "B.J." as abbreviation reached saturation in his parts. He was the second BJ I knew; our theater director in high school was named BJ Wallingford. Both were from the South, where apparently initials are more common as full names.)
posted by klangklangston at 9:19 PM on September 30, 2009


I actually work in the same field as danah boyd and cite her work. I don't capitialize her name when I cite and 9/10 a reviewer calls me out on not writing (Boyd, 2007). This results in me looking bad. BUT for the reviewers that know the deal with the lowercase, they'd call me out s well, I'm sure.

as more people do work on social media, I wonder if less citing of her work may occur to avoid this problem?
posted by k8t at 9:38 PM on September 30, 2009


...and we still don't know what taters are.
posted by hellojed at 10:03 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, 300 comments in and no one has asked if it's tator or Tator.

D'uh. It's neither. It's 'tater!' Taters are especially tasting with honey, beans and metaphorical penises.
posted by ericb at 10:04 PM on September 30, 2009


*especially tasty*
posted by ericb at 10:05 PM on September 30, 2009


Quonsar
posted by Balisong at 10:09 PM on September 30, 2009


You're all just a bunch of Lee Van Cleefs.
posted by fleacircus at 10:27 PM on September 30, 2009


I didn't feel like wading through a million comments..

I know that feeling. Sometimes I surf to MetaFilter, and I clink on a link, and wtf? Comments, that's what the fuck. In total, millions of them that I don't want to see, and I don't have time to read. They should put the text entry box above all the comments, that would basically fix MetaFilter.
posted by fleacircus at 10:35 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Bucket" means the same as "bucket", "BUCKET", and "bUcKeT".

It's pronounced boo-kay!
posted by krinklyfig at 10:51 PM on September 30, 2009 [14 favorites]


Can someone summarize this thread? It is very long, and I am very tired.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:56 PM on September 30, 2009


It's pronounced boo-kay!

Tell that to this guy.
posted by deborah at 11:00 PM on September 30, 2009


Can someone summarize this thread? It is very long, and I am very tired.

1) danah boyd
2) explosion
3) PROFIT!!!
posted by at the crossroads at 11:16 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have read this entire thread since the first four comments. And I'm afraid that I can't summarize it for you, TwelveTwo. Shakespeare said it best:
It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.


Somewhere in there is a valid point about politeness vs. touchiness, and one about accessibility concerns and ease of communication. But generally, the combination of this callout and my inability to stop reading the ever-growing comment count makes me full of overwhelming misanthropy.
posted by Mizu at 11:18 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


If someone walked up to me on the street today and said, "hey, can you name a web site that could possibly have a 360-comment thread about whether people should capitalize a particular person's name or not?" I think I would have known the answer instantly.
posted by grouse at 11:24 PM on September 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


It's throat-WARBLER you goddamn philistines! [/mock rage]

muddgirl: You should look up the word "prescriptivist" in the dictionary

Hee hee. I do in fact see what you did there.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:10 AM on October 1, 2009


Can someone summarize this thread?

This train doesn't stop at Tucumcari. I think that about sums it up.
posted by Brak at 12:15 AM on October 1, 2009


It's pronounced boo-kay!

Is that the lady of the house speaking? On a pearl-white slim-line push-button telephone with automatic last-number redial?
posted by armage at 12:42 AM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


You should spell and capitalize people's names the way they wish their names to be spelled and capitalized. Errors in exceptional cases are to be expected, especially when those cases deliberately violate commonly accepted practice. A certain amount of ambiguity is necessary for flexibility, though it comes at the expense of certainty. It's a messy world.

Now let's talk about pie.

I like pie. Especially peach and apple. Cherry and blueberry, not so much. Those are more for cobblers and crisps.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:48 AM on October 1, 2009




chaff: "Anybody remember that band "three exclamation points", and how you were supposed to call them "chick chick chick" or something? This is kind of like that."

It's pronounced "chk chk chk". You're lucky I don't start a callout.
posted by minifigs at 12:49 AM on October 1, 2009


I have folks who call me out in person because one of my daughter's family nicknames is Jake. It was on purpose, even. Before I knew she was a girl, I didn't want to call her "it" and we hadn't had an ultrasound. Her initials now are J.K.LastInitial. (see how I worked the CamelCase in there?). She would have had totally different initials if she'd been a boy, but she/it needed a nickname when she/it was in my belly. Besides, I had a feeling she was a girl.

At any rate, her prebirth nickname was Jake. She has also been called Julia, Julie, Jules, Chunk (she was a very round, but not overweight baby... just a dense, muscled infant), Baby Girl, Lil Bit, etc.

People actually have chastised me for calling her Jake sometimes.

In the end, she can pick whatever name she likes, as far as I'm concerned. I did the best I could in giving her a name that wasn't too embarrassing to put on government documents and to deal with in public school, etc. What she wants to do with it later is entirely up to her.

I have a feeling that she'll forgive me for calling her Jake now and then, regardless. I was only giving her all the options when I started calling her that.

I also hope she doesn't give a shit about what I capitalize when I send her an email later on. i.e. "Mom is so old-fashioned, but she sure does love me."
posted by lilywing13 at 12:50 AM on October 1, 2009


Where's Perri 6 when you need him?
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 1:16 AM on October 1, 2009


...But as far as I'm concerned, these lines made the whole thing worthwhile:

>Oh danah boyd, the CAPS, the CAPS are calling.
From Glen to Glen and down the Mountain Side.


>nobody, not even the rain has such small qualms.

Redemption comes easy sometimes.
posted by darth_tedious at 1:21 AM on October 1, 2009


"I am reminded at this point of a fellow I used to know who's name was Henry, only to give you an idea of what an individualist he was he spelt it HEN3RY. The 3 was silent, you see." -Tom Lehrer
posted by mosk at 2:24 AM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know someone with the surname De'Ath.

If I had had that surname I would have got a Ph.D at any cost.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:44 AM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I knew someone with that name, too. I wonder if she's still A'Live?
posted by pracowity at 4:44 AM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I actually work in the same field as danah boyd and cite her work. I don't capitialize her name when I cite and 9/10 a reviewer calls me out on not writing (Boyd, 2007). This results in me looking bad. BUT for the reviewers that know the deal with the lowercase, they'd call me out s well, I'm sure.

This is a good concrete example of why this is a problem. A name is not just for your own personal convenience, its also something that others use in society to identify you.

When most Latin Americans move to the US they often change the order of their last names. So, if they are Gabriel Garcia Marquez in their home country they might change their name to Gabriel Marquez Garcia. This is to avoid the mistake that Marquez is their last name. It is not. Their last name is Garcia (or Garcia Marquez).

It is a pain in the ass to do this switch but people do it because having to explain for the nth time that THIS is your last name and not THAT is worth it. It eases your social and bureaucratic interactions. Its a gesture, a concession made when you decide to partake in society and it helps everything in your life run smoother. If everyone started making up their own special rules, then you waste too much time resolving and interpreting those rules, leaving less time for much more important things. You concede and adopt a common grammar so that you can actually get to the heart of a discussion, its content, its messages, is ideas.

It seems odd that danah boyd would not understand all this given the field she works in. She did the opposite of what the practical Latin American does (or any number of immigrants who changed their name at Ellis Island) - she is changing her name to make it *harder*.

This is, for the reasons I've described above, anti-social behavior.
posted by vacapinta at 5:02 AM on October 1, 2009 [14 favorites]


Astro Zombie: It is a social mechanism for distinguishing me. It also gives a lot of clues as to the environment that produced me -- European, and Yiddish

Soooo... your name used to be Astreaux Zombowitz?
posted by Deathalicious at 5:37 AM on October 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


vacapinta: When most Latin Americans move to the US they often change the order of their last names. So, if they are Gabriel Garcia Marquez in their home country they might change their name to Gabriel Marquez Garcia. This is to avoid the mistake that Marquez is their last name. It is not. Their last name is Garcia (or Garcia Marquez).

Okay, so I do have more to add to this kerfufflefuck.

Immigration doesn't always afford such niceties as choosing what your legal name will be in the new country. My full last name is Torfason Tulinius, Torfason being my patronym and Tulinius being my family last name. However, Torfason Tulinius was too long for the USCIS computer system so my name became Kari T Tulinius (I knew better than to care about keeping the accent mark over the á in my first name). This wasn't something I was asked about. They just told me that this was the case when they were giving me back my passport with the visa in it. This isn't something that keeps me up at night, I usually go by Kári Tulinius anyway, but it's a bit weird that my legal name was decided by someone who is neither me nor my parents (I'll add that in Iceland people don't take their spouse's last name).
posted by Kattullus at 6:46 AM on October 1, 2009


> It's following German, usually, which capitalises all nouns.

No, it's actually not. Let's keep this thread focused on the bullshit it's actually about rather than ladling on further bullshit.
posted by languagehat at 7:27 AM on October 1, 2009


And don't get me going on the television program 'Numb3rs.'

It's always been Numbthrers to me.


I've said it before and I'll say it again:

Anytime someone insists on sticking a number in the middle of the word, pronounce the number, especially if it has been messed with in some way. My favorite:

Lucky Number Supsidedownseveneven
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:28 AM on October 1, 2009


"It's pronounced me-three-dia"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:34 AM on October 1, 2009


It's pronounced me-three-dia

Only for anglophones.

I prefer me-trois-dia.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:45 AM on October 1, 2009


"My full last name is Torfason Tulinius,"

My family's name prior to immigration was a pretty common one, roughly as popular in Germany as "Wilson" is in America. Now anyone who has our spelling is related to my great-grandfather.

On the other hand, I know that if I worked at Ellis Island, our last name would be something like Stig, and you'd be Carl Tull.

"Like Jethro. Play a flute."
posted by klangklangston at 8:04 AM on October 1, 2009


My grandfather had a transformation through Ellis Island as well. He arrived from Italy at the age of 12 with the name Antony Gaudenzi. The immigration officers there had a hard time spelling the name or whatever, so they decided to bestow upon him a nice, honest-to-God Irish name: Goyne. He eventually moved to a town up in the Pennsylvania Appalachians with a high Italian contigent. They thought the idea of an Italian named "Goyne" was pretty hilarious, and he had blue eyes to boot, so they started calling him "Mike" - the name of every Irish male in the universe, according to the Italians in this town. By the time he was grown up and living on his own, no one outside his family called him Antony anymore - not his friends, or co-workers, or the boss who wrote his paychecks, the bank that cashed them and collected his mortgage, or the phone and power companies that powered his home. As time went on and older relatives passed away, there wasn't a person in the world who knew him as Antony Gaudenzi. He died as he spent most of his life, as Mike Goyne.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:20 AM on October 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's pronounced "Az-WEE-pey"!
posted by ignignokt at 8:20 AM on October 1, 2009


I hate it when people spell quin with an uppercase Q because it totally changes the pronunciation. Said properly, my name should sound exactly like a salad fork dropped tines down into a 1 horsepower garbage disposal. When an uppercase Q is used, it comes out as something like "kwin" and I don't understand that at all.

Also, for the last time, the J is silent.
posted by quin at 8:32 AM on October 1, 2009


I just tell it like it is, ma'am. And "assholey" just has a nice ring to it.
posted by Ouisch at 9:10 AM on October 1, 2009


I have no thoughts on capitals/lowercase but I do appreciate this thread and this comment for outing the Keeping Up Appearances fans.
posted by cranberrymonger at 9:17 AM on October 1, 2009


cranberrymonger: I have no thoughts on capitals/lowercase but I do appreciate this thread and this comment for outing the Keeping Up Appearances fans.

Keeping Up Appearances is proof positive that sometimes you only need to write 5 good jokes to create a great comedy series, provided you repeat them over and over again with bravura and gusto. And 'Allo 'Allo is proof that sometimes you only need 3 jokes.
posted by Kattullus at 9:24 AM on October 1, 2009


I love you metafilter! This thread has been one of my favorites of all time.

On the topic of names being changed upon entrance to the US, the Polish side of my family came over to Ellis Island with a name spelled something like Simienkowsky.
The fella filling out the paperwork decided to shorten and Americanize it to the delightfully hilarious Simien. I didn't get the humor of that until I was about 12.
Sadly, that was on my maternal side and, thus, is not my last name. It is a nice little factoid to throw out when arguing with creationists. "Why yes, I do know for a fact that I come from Simiens."
posted by Seamus at 9:39 AM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do you use the intercap on MetaFilter when you write it? Because that is just as dumb, or twee, or particular, or arbitrary, or (until recently) non-standard, or whatever.

meanie
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 9:40 AM on October 1, 2009


spell my name with an h and you die. caps or no caps - who cares.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 9:51 AM on October 1, 2009


i am so late to the party! but i want to point out that explosion is the one raising the concern--not danah boyd. i don't get why this has become about whether we personally agree with her choice. you respect it or you don't, and think what you like privately. i doubt it makes any difference at all whether you publicly lodge your disagreement.
posted by liketitanic at 10:22 AM on October 1, 2009


I'm just disappointed that we've reached 300+ comments and not a single mention of Mr. Psmith (the "p" is silent).
posted by kkokkodalk at 10:39 AM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


[sic] --post-nominal indicating preciousness?
posted by acro at 10:43 AM on October 1, 2009


On the subject of Anglicized names:

My German half of my mother's family are Altizer, which is apparently the Americanized version of the German Althausen. I've always figured they changed the original name because someone remarked that "Althausen" sounded suspiciously like "Outhouse" and changing it might save their descendents from the inevitable shitter jokes down the line. Of course, the new name didn't come without its own perils. Though intended to be pronounced like Alt-High-Zer, many of their fellow Virginians still pronounce it All Tits Her to this day, leading to a whole new set of playground insults I'm quite sure my ancestors never considered.
posted by thivaia at 10:43 AM on October 1, 2009


I understand danah boyd's reasoning for keeping her name all lower case. She's sticking it to the man. She's letting everyone know that she's not special by making sure her name screams "look at me look at me take some time to talk about my name and the ridiculous way i no longer capitalize the pronoun 'i' when it refers to me!!!!!" There's only one thing i can do to show my solidarity with a username that is already lower-case. I'm going to lowerer-case it! From this point forward, i'd like to be referred to as:

eyeballkid.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:36 AM on October 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Unterscripten
posted by Burhanistan at 11:57 AM on October 1, 2009


Why should we bother, ebk? You're just going to hate us all either way.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:57 AM on October 1, 2009


Soooo... your name used to be Astreaux Zombowitz?

or Astreaux Golem ?
posted by blenderfish at 12:12 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


lilywing13: a dense, muscled infant

Never in my life have I heard of a better metaphor for describing the typical Metafilter participant.
posted by hifiparasol at 12:33 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


So danah used to be a bloke?

Yes, but your butchered rendering of her name shows a shocking lack of respect. It's Dana, dammit!
posted by the latin mouse at 1:03 PM on October 1, 2009


400
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:12 PM on October 1, 2009


I wish people would stop calling me Kim.
posted by Kimberly at 2:55 PM on October 1, 2009


And "assholey" just has a nice ring to it.

Thank you; I just had it bleached.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:34 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


> Fucking write people's names the way they want them to be written.
> posted by dirtdirt at 2:26 PM on September 30 [1 favorite +] [!]

I live by that! Back when Prince insisted his name was no longer Prince but instead that oddball unpronounceable, untypeable symbol I was careful to refer to him only that way, both online and live. And was one of the few people on Earth who knew how to do it. (The secret will die with me. But I can say that "danah boyd" is child's play, comparatively.)
posted by jfuller at 4:01 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is a pretty fucking stupid thing to get upset about. For serious.
posted by chunking express at 4:08 PM on October 1, 2009


No Jean, the T is silent, as in Harlow.
posted by Justinian at 4:11 PM on October 1, 2009


MetaTalk: ladling on further bullshit.
posted by jonmc at 4:33 PM on October 1, 2009


You know who looks like a dense, muscled infant?

glenn beck
posted by jtron at 5:00 PM on October 1, 2009


You know who looks like a dense, muscled infant?

glenn beck


Muscled, no. Misled, yes.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:12 PM on October 1, 2009


Thank you; I just had it bleached.

Wow. Christmas came early this year.
posted by Ouisch at 5:16 PM on October 1, 2009


You asked Santa to bleach Astro Zombie's asshole as well? Now I got to make a separate trip back to the mall.
posted by yeti at 5:40 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm back to my original name. Hyman Corpowski.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:54 PM on October 1, 2009


I followed shii's link (to shii's blog, I think?), and I thought this was a particularly efficient way of distinguishing spelling from capitalization:

"The spelling or pronunciation of your name is a feature of your name, but capitalization of proper nouns is a feature of the surrounding language."

That's why it's a presumptuous request, and it's not rude to decline to fulfill a presumptuous request. A perfectly polite response to a presumptuous request is "I'm afraid I can't," even if in some strict sense, you can. ("I'm afraid I can't" lowercase your name / let your family stay for a week in my beach house / lend you my razor.)
posted by palliser at 8:08 PM on October 1, 2009


Prince changed his name to wiggle around a corporation who owned the name Prince. As soon a their lease expired, he changed back. I totally support his purpleness in that. Different thing entirely. If he hadn't picked the wrong lawyers, or trust the wrong execs, he would not have been in a position to change his name - and the poor guy was named Prince by his folks. (And he's not the only black man I know of with that moniker.)

And while I'm ranting for no reason, I'd guess F. Murray Abraham threw in the F to avoid be a duplicate on SAG rolls.

What we should talk about is why Micheal Keaton says he put in the Keaton for Diane Keaton when I would be you big piles of cash that it was Buster he had in mind. Someone get me a bus ticket to his home, so I can take this up with him in person.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:23 PM on October 1, 2009


I made it to the end of this thread. All I can say is I am totally changing my nationality to Iris-American. Maybe even Dutch Iris-American.

And by the way, my name is pronounced: Secret (whispered) File o' Gravy in honor of my spy father, my dyslexic brother, and my Irish Spring aroma. Failure to comply with my wishes will have serious tater consequences.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:29 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


his purpleness

Coming soon to a steamy romance novel near you!
posted by Sys Rq at 8:30 PM on October 1, 2009


The monster at the end of the thread.
posted by The Whelk at 8:33 PM on October 1, 2009


If it's purple it might even have some thread wrapped around its end.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:34 PM on October 1, 2009


That's why it's a presumptuous request, and it's not rude to decline to fulfill a presumptuous request. A perfectly polite response to a presumptuous request is "I'm afraid I can't," even if in some strict sense, you can. ("I'm afraid I can't" lowercase your name / let your family stay for a week in my beach house / lend you my razor.)

I just don't think this is the same. I don't think presumptuous requests as you imagine them are necessarily the same as taxing or rude or difficult or--what?--unhygienic things.

I think of it more as deliberately using the incorrect pronoun for a non-gender conforming person because "she was born a she and still looks like one." I tend to believe what people tell me about who and what they are and respect their wishes--it's their thing to assert, not mine to correct. And no one here is danah's book editor or a journalist reporting on her or a library of congress cataloger or in any position to be professionally put out by a choice she's made. y'all just think it's dumb. and that's fine, but explosion's point wasn't really about that--was in fact totally independent of whether what the woman does with her name is dumb.
posted by liketitanic at 8:35 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


WHY WON'T THE FEVER BREAK?
posted by The Whelk at 8:39 PM on October 1, 2009


WHY WON'T THE FEVER BREAK?

Longboats can't be rushed, son.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:40 PM on October 1, 2009


I think I've got a better example.

If someone identifies as a woman, I refer to that person as "she." In that way, I'm using the conventions of language to acknowledge her self-definition.

But if someone said to me, "I'm male, but I'd prefer you refer to me as 'she' and 'her,' because I have a political conviction that all male pronouns should be erased from the language," I'd say, "No, I'm afraid I can't." I'm aware that others might respond differently to this request, but for me, it's requiring me to adjust the way I use language and the rules I follow in speaking/writing, rather than asking me to acknowledge the other person's individuality through the way I use language already.

And now I'm going to bed, The Whelk, so you can break out the pies.
posted by palliser at 9:24 PM on October 1, 2009


Oh there they go. There they go, every time I start talkin 'bout boxing, a white man got to pull Rocky Marciano out they ass. That's the one, that's the one. Rocky Marciano. Rocky Marciano. Let me tell you something once and for all. Rocky Marciano was good, but compared to Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano ain't shit.
posted by electroboy at 9:44 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


it's requiring me to adjust the way I use language and the rules I follow in speaking/writing, rather than asking me to acknowledge the other person's individuality through the way I use language already.

I guess I . . . just don't see a problem with doing that when someone asks me to. I mean, I understand what you're saying. My standard is just to believe people when they tell me who they are and to keep my eye rolls to myself. Even if I need to change the way I do something.

but STILL, the callout was about not making fun of someone's choice in a thread about him or her or zie on metafilter (a thread that is also NOT ABOUT that choice). not about whether danah boyd is right or wrong.
posted by liketitanic at 1:40 AM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

                        A_______
                        |______<
                        ||
                  ______||_______
                  \##############\
                   \##############\
                   |               |
                   |               |
                   |###############|
                   |###############|
                   |               |
                   |               |
                   |###############|
                  /###############/          @@
          /\     /_______________/          (  C
 (@\     ( ")   /\\  /\\||/\\  /\\  /\\    / /'
   \\_   (\_)  ( "))( ")|( "))( "))( "))  / /
    \```--/----/(o)-/(o)-/(o)-/(o)-/(o)--' /
~~~~~~~~~/ ~~~/~~~~/~~~~/~~~~/~~~~/~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    - - '  ( ' )( ' )( ' )( ' )( ' )
posted by dunkadunc at 6:43 AM on October 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


You can't wish the longboat into being. We're still, like it or not, close to the topic. The longboat is a long way off.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:49 AM on October 2, 2009


I know you guys are just lulzing but it's a lot easier to accept longboats if they're not quite so pushy.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:36 AM on October 2, 2009


If you push a longboat into the sea before it's ready it'll sink.
posted by Kattullus at 9:05 AM on October 2, 2009


I don't understand the longboat.

But I love it.
posted by jb at 10:05 AM on October 2, 2009


"I know you guys are just lulzing but it's a lot easier to accept longboats if they're not quite so pushy."

"Look, we sailed all the way from Jutland, and Olaf's never killed a Celt, so we'd really appreciate it if we could just rape and pillage for an hour or two, and then we'll go home. Honest. Just an hour."
posted by klangklangston at 10:10 AM on October 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


"MOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMM, pull over the longboat, I really have to pee!"
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:48 AM on October 2, 2009


Pee over the side through the oar ports ike the rest of us. And stop hogging the grog.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:52 AM on October 2, 2009


jb, the longboat is long.

This is all you have to know.

that and horned helmet etiquette
posted by The Whelk at 12:05 PM on October 2, 2009


Damn Skraelings never let us have any f... wait, they want to be called Inuits?
posted by jtron at 12:09 PM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


that and horned helmet etiquette

Oh sure, derail the thread with a joke about being horny and wearing protection.
posted by The World Famous at 12:14 PM on October 2, 2009


Every time I come to metatalk, I see someone who is offended by something unbelievably trivial.
posted by Edgewise at 1:09 PM on October 2, 2009


YOU TAKE THAT BACK!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:24 PM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Longboats: putting the Hell into Helluland, since 1020 AD.
posted by Rumple at 1:25 PM on October 2, 2009


Hey! Edgewise just touched my side of the longboat! That was MY SIDE! See? I drew that line right there with the blood of the infidels! Stay on YOUR SIDE!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:13 PM on October 2, 2009


im confused
posted by 256 at 1:13 PM on October 7, 2009


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