Many, including myself, have asked “What’s in a name?”. Certain names suggest future careers, and deny others. “Bozo” might grab the attention of Ringling Brothers, but should expect a little difficulties relating to patients.
As sad as it might be, some family names have connotations that cause a lifetime of childish jokes. Irony is a word we use to describe the case of Anthony Weiner, a man who has gone through his life with a surname that is a slang term for male genitalia. Another slang term for male genitalia is “Dick”, which can also carry the meaning of being a wanker (kind of an odd symmetry there).
Anthony proved to be a wanker in many ways. After years of working his way through New York politics, he was elected to Congress in 1998. He was a demanding boss, insisting that his staff stay in touch by Blackberry at all times (did I mention irony?). Anthony campaigned to hold diplomats accountable for their parking violations, while at the same time not bothering with paying his own parking tickets. To complete his performance, he “tweeted” photographs of his penis, to anyone who happened to have a Blackberry, leading his colleagues to demand his resignation.
But perhaps his most noteworthy contribution to the euphemistic meaning of his last name came when he used an alias. “Carlos Danger” was the name Anthony chose to use on a new twitter account. Having made the somewhat unusual decision to run for Mayor of New York City, he needed a twitter alias because he was still sharing his “inner self“. As long as we’re making juvenile jokes, I have to admit his attitude to be rather ballsy. Despite the growing scandal, and his fall to fourth place in the polls, he’s staying in the race (as of now). Apparently he knows that he is a joke, but looking at the political landscape he may have thought that the voters obviously have a sense of humour.
Why would Bozo insist on wearing a rubber nose to consultations? How can we ever know. But I came to an interesting observation yesterday. With the election for Mayor of New York City, a city with a population greater than the country of Belgium, only three months away, we know more about the candidate in fourth place than we would ever want to, and yet most people don’t even know the names of the other candidates. That would be almost everyone outside of New York.
Which raises the next question. Sure, New York City is a large and important place (just ask anyone who lives there), but how does this story rate five minutes on the national, world news? I know it’s funny enough to qualify as “network news”, but wouldn’t the UN response to a drug bill in Uruguay, or maybe some news on Egypt’s revolution, fit the description of “World News”? Could Edward R. Murrow see this coming and decide that cremation was better than spinning in his grave?
There is a solution. It is unreasonable to expect the solution to take place faster than the problem unfolded, and it will take some effort. Write. Write to your local media, and tell them that if you wanted to hear about Bozo, you’d turn on the Cartoon Network. Write to your local newspaper, and encourage them to groom young journalists. Contact your preferred network and let them know you want information, not fluff. Most of them have web sites and twitter accounts, so you can tweet as soon as the non-news story is on the air. Just don’t send them pictures of your genitals.
Here are some starting points. ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and CNN all can be reached through these links. There is also information on most of those pages about how to contact your local affiliate. You can contact your preferred alternate media and suggest they could supplant the networks by producing real news. Lately I’ve noticed newscasters mentioning their twitter and facebook accounts on the air.
You have no reason to fear the government taking away your right to a free and robust press if you’re just going to give it away anyway.