What’s in a Name?
About This Series: Just over thirty years ago, I started a journal. I’m gonna share it here, and reflect on it with my purported older-man after-the-fact wisdom:
It took me a while to decide to re-engage with this exercise. The main reason for this is my early journal entries, being an exercise forced upon me for a grade in a class, could be kind of thin on anything thought-provoking. The secondary reason is because the next entry I encountered to be chronicled in chronological order delved into some feelings I had about my name. And I hadn’t decided yet whether or not to get into my real name on the blog, since I have gone to all the trouble to write and publish it pseudonymously.
However, since only a quick google of this pseudonym would shortly lead anyone to my real name anyway, I guess I’ll go ahead and discuss my actual first name freely. Who I am shouldn’t matter, really. This is meant to be the blog of an anonymous every-man.
That said, my real first name is significant to my development.
It looks like I’m totally off-track. This journal is supposed to be for expressions of my heart, not of my mind.I have to start using heavy emotional and pseudo-psychological (whatever THAT means) stuff or this is going to get boring. REALLY boring.
I hate my name. I HATE MY NAME!!!!! IhatemynameIhatemynameihatemynameihatemyname! WHY!?! WHY ON EARTH WOULD MY PARENTS GIVE ME SUCH A STUPID NAME!?! WHY!?! In one instant of wild decision, they have just ruined MY ENTIRE LIFE!!!!! I might be halfway successful or popular if my name wasn’t Dana. Dana. What a STUPID NAME! From the start, every time I meet somebody, BAM!, that name puts a wedge between us. There are few people on this planet who can ignore someone’s STUPID, STUPID NAME! I’ve found 3 of them. Not counting adults. They’re mature about it. I don’t care. When I get out of high school, I’m going to college out of state, where nobody knows me. But before I do, I’m going to change my name from Dana to David. A nice name. A name you could succeed with. A name you could excel with. I HATE DANA!
“That’s a stupid name”
“Isn’t that a girl’s name?”
YES, YES IT IS!!! I CAN’T HELP IT! LEAVE ME ALONE!!!
It’s been 35 years and I still haven’t changed my name to David. I’m not going to. I never was, really. I was just bellyaching about years of grade school and middle school social isolation. And in reality, I wasn’t too far away from finding my own social in-group (high school theater crowd) and feeling that isolation melt away. During these years I never really found a group of friends. I had individual friends at that age who I was very close with: Renee, Johnathan, Matt. But in any group setting I seem to remember always being singled out and becoming a bit of a wee pariah.
I don’t know if it’s fair to place blame for the social isolation solely at the feet of the name “Dana,” either. There were others factors which made me stand out as different back in those early days of social shuffling: I was a “soul-less” red-headed ginger—before that term and generalization was widely used—and my hair color made me different; I was an only child who spent a lot of time drawing in his room, and thus I took a long time to get used to the social cues and signs that must be read to get along with other people; I scored well on a second grade IQ test which meant I was identified as a “smart kid” and sent to a different grade school for third grade to attend their “gifted and talented” program. As a result of this development, I left the few schoolyard friends I had made to spend the year in a “lab school” environment, riding the bus to school despite the fact that my old school was in walking distance, and running from my new bus stop to the new school to avoid getting picked on by remote bullies for being a strange, imported “smart kid.” Even as I think that time at the lab school was educational in exciting ways, I remember being relieved when I could go back to my old school and continue being a “regular dumb kid.”
“Isn’t That a Girl’s Name?”
Technically, as I’ve come to understand it, “Dana” is not a gender specific name but, if its origins are European, simply means “person of Danish origin.” I had the chance to prove the authenticity of the moniker when my mother did one of those genetic ancestry analyses a couple of years back, in the process of discovering that my funny and wild and childless and sadly-deceased Uncle Dan did indeed have a son out there after all. That genetic analysis, splayed out across a geographic map, proved what we knew already: our family roots immigrated to America with the great Mormon Migration in one big arrow across the Atlantic Ocean. Upon arriving, the big arrow of people then proceeded to largely deny any incoming genetic contribution arrows in the U.S., ostensibly by only interbreeding with each other.
To be frank, this is both a fair and an unfair generalization you can make about my ancestry—depending on whether or not I like your tone. In any case, my first name is genetically accurate. I am labelled correctly.
Speaking of genetics, my uncle was not only named “Dan” but so was my biological father, who went by “Danny.” This makes me consider how my mom and dad might have thought that Dana was a clever kind of “sequel name” to Dan, sort of a way to have a Dan Junior by instead having a “Dan A” subvariant of the original name Dan. I think my mom—though insistent throughout the years that my name suits me and is “perfect”—might harbor a few secret regrets at the similarity just based on the many hundred of times throughout my life she has accidentally called me “Dan.” Not in actual confusion, mind you; my mother is still as sharp and clever as I’ve always known her to be. Just a frequent slip of the tongue born of childhood every day familiarity.
In typical young man fashion, I used to get pissed about it, “That’s not my name!”
As an older man I have a bit more understanding and patience, and I understand these to be times when she has been thinking about and remembering her late brother, whom she loved and looked up to so much when she was a young girl. Recently, my mom has also had occasion to work with and get to know another Dan, this one a Daniel, whom she has grown to admire professionally. With a little forgiveness, sometimes the thing that previously would spur your ego to your defense is actually a compliment.
Culturally, however, “Dana” is one of those names that is usually given to young girls.
When you are a kid and you have a name that sometimes crosses the usual gender boundary lines, your other (especially conservative and religious) relatives in your family like aunts and uncles and grandparents will talk about other, well-known people that have the same first name. This helps ground their understanding that it was okay for your parents to break with modest and conservative Biblical naming traditions… because someone else somewhere did it, and the kid with that name still managed to succeed in the world.
My “successful name example guy,” as you can see from the photo caption above, eventually was Dana Carvey. But he wasn’t the one my aunts and grandparents mentioned; he was after their time. No, they always mentioned Dana Andrews, a successful actor who had a good run as a leading man in the films of the 1940’s. Writing this article finally gave me a good excuse to learn about this guy, and this Hometowns to Hollywood article is probably the best source of info I could find.
Andrews hit the height of his leading man career in 1947. Therefore I had no idea who he was in my childhood in the 70’s and 80’s. My “famous male Dana” wasn’t a square-jawed leading man. Dana Carvey was a stand-up comedian and an impressionist, most successful in films for playing Garth in the Wayne’s World movies, based off a popular set of characters from his Saturday Night Live days. The other major “famous male Dana” of my recollection was also a stand-up comedian: Dana Gould.
Dana Gould is also a funny guy, and a writer. He wrote for The Simpsons for seven years, which automatically elevates him in my estimation. He did the voice performance for Gex, a game for Playstation 1 that I actually played back in the day when it came out.
So in my youth I had two famous namesakes out there validating my unusual first name, and both of them were funny guys who seemed to respond to the world—and, I speculate, the grade school social challenges of said first name—by making fun of it and entertaining people, finding their acceptance. Sure its a bit reductive to draw a direct line between these two comedians first names and their directions in life. But hey that’s the theme of this article, right? I can speak, at least from my own personal direct experience, that being funny and entertaining a crowd is a quick shortcut to a bit of acceptance.
“A Boy Named Sue”
It’s years later, and my grown son received a gender-specific name twenty four years ago and largely avoided any sort of name-specific bullying, as was my fervent hope. He had the red hair, which seemed like a minor deal with bullies when I was younger but became a much bigger deal during his childhood, in the Age of South Park. Don’t get me wrong: being from Colorado I’m legally required to have a soft spot for the creators of that show, and I don’t hold any creators responsible for “Monkey See, Monkey Do” in their audience.
But seriously. Nobody ever once called it “ginger” when I was a kid. Yuck.
Anyway, the boys named Dana in my son’s generation seem to face a similar escalation in conflict over the “name example guy,” one that calls back to the old, chiseled jawline of Dana Andrews from the 40’s, in a new, meatier, turn-of-the-millenium more MMA way: Dana White.
White seems to have lived a pretty interesting life, which I only really just got a brief on by perusing his Wikipedia entry. Some of it I’d heard before: I knew about him coming up in fighting and managing in boxing, and about him working the original UFC deal with the Station Casinos guy, which has set him up for the fantastic success he has had and enjoyed in his life.
The funny thing is, upon reading through the account, the story seems familiar to me because it evokes that old Johnny Cash song, that I originally heard not from the Johnny Cash cover but from Shel Silverstein who actually wrote the popular number and recorded it himself (as it turns out after a bit of long overdue research from an article titled Top 5 Country Songs Written by Shel Silverstein). I heard his version as a child some Sunday night in the 80’s after 10pm on the old Doctor Demento novelty radio show, part of the Westwood One radio network.
Well, my daddy left home when I was three,
and he didn’t leave much to ma and me,
Just this ole guitar and an empty bottle of booze.
Now I don’t blame him ’cause he run and hid,
But the meanest thing that he ever did,
Was before he left he went and named me Sue.
Well, he musta thought that it was quite a joke,
An’ it got a lot of laughs from lots a folks,
Seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal would giggle and I’d get red,
And some guy’d laugh and I’d bust his head,
I’ll tell ya, life ain’t easy for a boy named Sue.
I grew up quick and I grew up mean,
My fist got hard and my wits got keen,
I roamed from town to town to hide my shame.
But I made me a vow to the moon and stars,Shel Silverstein – “A Boy Named Sue” – 1976
I’d search the honky-tonks and bars,
And kill that man that gave me that awful name.
Johnny Cash’s original soulful tune, and it’s somewhat more jovial Shel Silverstein remake, both spiral out into a fanciful tale of Angry Sue’s fulfilled fantasy of finding and confronting the father who gave him the troublesome name, only to have said father (after an epic battle) explain that he did it to make young Sue hard and ready for the cold and cruel world that awaited him.
I noted while reading the biography of Dana White that his father was also named Dana. Which makes Dana White a legitimate Dana Jr. And I also researched a google further and discovered that of Dana White Jr.’s three kids, he did, in fact name his first male son Dana, who is now, therefore, Dana III of the Whites. That’s a lot of Dana’s, in one household. A lot of male Dana. On a related note here, I’m really struggling for the best way to pluralize my own name in print!
In my youth, practically any time in any classroom on the first day when names are first called out, and I would thus first discover there was another Dana in class, it was always and every time and without fail… a girl. I personally have not in my child or adult life ever met in person another male Dana. That’s weird. Dana White Jr. has created in his own household that which, in my experience, cannot exist in nature: an environment when you call out “Dana,” and multiple male voices call out in response, “Who, me?”
This is the kind of shit all the Michael’s and George’s and Jason’s take for granted. But it still doesn’t justify this mad experiment in Mass Male Dana I’m seeing going on with the Whites there, even as I might envy the rare opportunity to live out the most improbable Spider-Man meme:
So, you discover as a child that some names are “boy’s names” and some names are “girls’ names,” as all children, apparently, do. You also discover, as many children do not until the day they meet you, that some of these rules can also be broken and disregarded, though not without consequence. The point is you don’t leisurely meander into considerations of acceptance in social tribes, and the social tribe of masculinity in particular, with “a girl’s name.” Without exception you get introduced to the concepts and called upon to account for your positioning within them almost immediately, together in the same moment, with a surprised look upon your young face. The complex construct and club that is masculinity almost always introduces itself with a threat of excommunication, when its boundaries are broken, for every boy and young man.
As a Dana, you just get introduced to it early, already in violation, through no decision or fault of your own.
How you deal with that? Well, that’s up to you. We’re seeing here, in this article covering famous Dana’s, two over-simplified options:
- Rebel – If you know pretty strongly that you are male, and you already kind of like and appreciate who you are, and this weird little cult-like in-group of “masculinity” is going to ostracize you for something entirely outside your control, you might balk. You might start developing a keen mind for pointing out inconsistencies and mock-worthy logic flaws in the social club’s membership rules, and the rules of other human social constructs. You might find that hurrying up and rejecting the expectations of the role of traditional masculinity sets you on a path of rebelling against other social expectations for many of your days.
- Conform – If the threat of your name’s non-compliance with the rules of masculinity scares you into feeling like you won’t be accepted and identified as a proper manly man, you might set about overcompensating for it. The remaining rules become inviolable to you.
I like dealing with things with humor. I always have.
I don’t like to be too judgy but I feel like Dana White Jr., possibly through the pressure of heritage and no fault of his own, has kind of missed the punchline of that old Johnny Cash original, by naming his son the same and sending that experience on into his boy’s future. Maybe he was right to do it, and I have denied my son the basic tempering process that comes from being isolated early in childhood with a name so vexxing to grade-schoolers.
But whatever my son’s journey is with his perfectly-normal name (which you don’t really need to know for the purposes of this tale), I wanted it to be his, unique to him; his journey that he decided and not a journey pre-decided by his parents setting him on a path that is unavoidably unique in its named inception. In naming my son, I fell in line with Johnny and Shel:
Well I got choked up and threw down my gun,
Called him my pa and he called me his son,
And I come away with a different point of view.
I think about him now and then,Johnny Cash – “A Boy Named Sue” – 1976(?)
Every time I try and every time I win,
And if I ever have a son,
I think I’m gonna name him,
Bill or George anything but Sue!
I still hate that name!
A Real Reason to be Ashamed of Sharing a Name
It’s time to engage with current events; they’re so relevant to the topic at hand.
I don’t know why I’m wearing kid gloves with Dana White Jr. If anyone can take the heavy punches he can: Dana Jr. is a buffoon for supporting Donald Trump. He supported the election in 2016, and he supported Trump’s run for reelection in 2020. I don’t care if Dana Jr. feels indebtedness and loyalty to Donald Trump from back when Trump’s properties were the only ones to give him the time of day when Dana Jr. was launching UFC and the old Vegas houses were only interested in old boxing money. If anyone can see the fiasco that was Trump’s presidency and still support him in 2020 their judgment is askew. And anyone still hanging on to loyalty to him at this point has lost all sense.
It’s sadly easy to take a Masculine Manly Man and make him fall for a Deal with the Devil in Disguise as an act of Bravery Before a Band of Brothers.
Conservative political identity can be a little bit of a social club with rigid boundaries and rules enforced by threat of social exile, much like that of masculinity itself. Both emphasize a “bro’s before ho’s” kind of in-group mentality for that can be leveraged against the same insecurity that led someone to start conforming to its membership requirements in the first place. If you didn’t stop and apply much skepticism to the entrance requirements of the social club because you were focused on the benefits, you’re not going to apply much attention to what they’re asking for at the door once you’re inside the building.
But how these private little clubs treat those in the “outgroup” is exactly what determines its true nature, and how it will be perceived by history. Especially if the “outgroup” are refugees from an illegal and brutal invasion by the autocratic regime of Russia, run by a manipulative tyrant sending thousands upon thousands of young men to die by murdering thousands upon thousands of innocent men, women, and children.
The Tyrant is the most destructive of immature masculine energy.
As a young man at college, I discovered and found some young man solace in a book contemplating aspects of the male psyche from the perspective of various Jungian archetypes: King, Warrior, Magician, Lover by Douglas Gillette and Robert L. Moore. Though not current to our times and not perfect—and long since twisted in interpretation by men’s rights groups with shady aspects—the actual text itself is redemptive. When I first read it, suddenly “masculinity” was no longer a questionable and exclusionary social club with arbitrary membership rules I had irrevocably transgressed moments after my birth via mere nomenclature.
“Masculinity” was now a yang of spiritual aspect to compliment the feminine yin; energies and inspirations present in all of us, yet only healthy and generative within us if accepted, expressed, and matured. And whether you were male or female in your overall aspect and pursuit of life, you contain and express the spiritual aspect of masculine archetypes. Whether you do so benevolently and generatively, or destructively and selfishly, comes down to your responsibility to enlighten yourself and express mature rather than immature aspects of these inescapable archetypes.
Okay so it’s a little hoochie-coochie New Age Energy at times (all that Jungian stuff can be), but my spiritual inclinations tend to lead me to favor the concept of balance. I believe there is a place for a secure and generative spiritual masculinity in this human world. Just as I believe there is a conservative and religious political mindset achievable in some conceivable future that is also secure and generative… at the very least as part of a balanced system that allows the freedom of expression to allow many viewpoints their civil discord and discourse, democratically.
But for now, these surprisingly fragile identities—American Masculine Man; Conservative Republican; Religious Missionaries like so many of my Mormon relatives—have been co-opted by propaganda and radicalization, unleashed by Vladimir Putin over the last decade to advance his own increasingly insane schemes and wealth. Now that Putin’s intentions and agenda towards Ukraine and NATO have been revealed in full, so many of Donald Trump’s past actions are so nakedly revealed as appeasement of the world’s next warmongering madman at best, and at worst marching orders from the corrupt and autocratic leader of the Russian Federation… with which our shameful ex-president conspired before, during, and after his term to the detriment of the freedom of the people of Ukraine and to the benefit his own personal power and wealth.
So many of the other, relatively new online mutations of these traditional identity in-groups, including masculinity, show signs of intentional mutation—genetic engineering, if you will—as a result of the Pandora’s Box of the power of the internet to allow practically anyone to self-publish whatever they like to the entire world anonymously, and the co-option of this mechanism by bad actors from both unknown origins, and from known troll-farm origins in the Russian Federation directed by Vladimir Putin’s orders.
We can see frustrated and threatened masculinity itself mutating into the “incel” movement, so nakedly insecure at the threat of rejection by the ever-evolving (and ascendant) human aspect of femininity. Putin himself has made sure to release enough propaganda geared to maximize his public image as a masculine, shirtless, horseback-riding manly man. As his incompetent army fails in all their objectives in Ukraine, and he responds like a coward firing missiles like bullets into innocent people, how much like an American mass-shooting incel is Putin now? Russia is shunned, shamed, crippled by sanctions… sure. But by his actions Putin confirms the world’s judgment of him: Putin has revealed himself to be impotently destructive, selfishly reckless, and petulantly murderous.
With slaughter and devastation now every day raining down on the innocent citizens of Ukraine, Putin’s true nature is now plainly revealed.
So, to be clear about where I stand: whether you like it or not, or are even willing to admit it or not, Vladimir Putin supported and helped engineer the election of Donald J. Trump to the highest office in the United States of America to support his long-term schemes in toppling the democratic republic of Ukraine. I’ve known it since early 2016, when I started listening to the Gaslit Nation podcast and first heard of the deep connections between Trump and Putin, and how Paul Manafort first developed and exercised the tactics he would later use as Trump’s campaign manager to insert a Putin-driven puppet into the highest democratic office in Ukraine.
The people of Ukraine had to oust their Putin-inserted puppet, just as the United States of America had to, as well.
I’m an occasional listener of Gaslit Nation. I stay current from other sources and check in, but truthfully the enormity of the implications of how much of all these years of American turmoil has been the direct result of social engineering via internet by Vladimir Putin has been staggering, and I can only take so much. I’ll bet Dana White Jr. has never heard an episode.
Of course, all these facts have been available forever to Dana White Jr. who, as of just over two weeks ago, was still quoted as coming to the aid and defense of Donald J. Trump, Traitor, when I don’t know some fucking YouTube video the Former President was in got taken down, or some such horseshit. He did so at least a week after Trump’s disgusting Putin-sucking quote about the invasion of Ukraine. He goes on all about it on the latest episode of the Logan Paul podcast, just to load a great deal more meaningless greed, shallow nothingness, and absurd desperation to the whole scene, I suppose.
Trump, in turn, made some sort of public statement I won’t even bother to link about how vital Dana White Jr. is to to the survival of the U.F.C., in the traditional reciprocal transactional Mafia-like style to which we’ve become so unfortunately familiar.
And of course due to the aforementioned unleashed ability for anyone on the internet to become a “news” publisher and broadcaster (both previously government licensed businesses even here in the U.S., I’ll add), there is such a broad variety of channels and information sources that the splintered audience can sequester themselves in an information subsection (filled with only like-minded friends and fellows) that—factual or not—wraps them in a comforting bubble of belief and belonging that rewards with so much feeling right that it obscures any sort of need for truth. And as a result, all those giant sun-sized dots connecting Trump to Putin through Ukraine are just… too small to see… from way over there in the now-radioactive, rapidly-shrinking “in-group.”
How disgusting for me, and every male Dana, to have to have a famous male Dana out there helping Trump to push Putin’s bullcrap. Despite hearing Trump’s praise for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Dana White Jr. is still all-in on Trump. Think about the next time you go to drop some cash on the next licensed U.F.C. product.
Believe it or not, I have some sympathy for Dana White Jr. The kind of journal entry that started this whole diatribe, lashing out against the name and how it created the knock-on effect of being called upon to “prove yourself” as a male human, must have been much harder for him to consider thinking and writing since his father shared the same name. But of course, he’s 52 now, and he’s allowed his self-interest and “loyalty” to lead him to publicly support the corrupt and fascist-leaning former president even as Trump rallied an attempt to disrupt the transfer of power after he was voted out of office. And still White supports him, even after Trump’s disgusting quote about the invasion of Ukraine, presented in text form for added incredulous emphasis:
“I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, ‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine — Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful. He used the word ‘independent’ and ‘we’re gonna go out and we’re gonna go in and we’re gonna help keep peace.’ You gotta say that’s pretty savvy.”Former U.S. President Donald J. Trump, February 22, 2022
Over the past few years, I have just found it so comically blatant how the “masculinity in-group” has been targeted for manipulation and isolation into those informational subsections of the internet that allow them to be radicalized to serve Putin’s aims. I can almost sense an entire population of American armchair quarterbacks feeling empowered by Trump to evaluate this invasion’s strategy like some sort of armchair general and Art of War pundit, while Putin blindly fires missiles into civilians.
What’s most disgusting to me is that Trump isn’t even complimenting—isn’t even equipped to compliment—Putin’s military strategy, which a month ago wasn’t yet revealed to be almost non-existent. Here, Trump is quoted complimenting Putin’s lies.
Lies are swirling all around the pseudo-masculine man-o-sphere we have witnessed rise up in recent years. Lies about boner pills and testosterone replacement and creams that will keep your hair from falling out that can’t come within fourteen feet of pregnant women or WOMEN WHO MIGHT BECOME PREGNANT. Lies about alternate medicines to address this pandemic virus that are so clearly something that is getting someone’s beak wet, since they have been so specifically named and insisted upon with little variation since the first appearance of the virus. And now lies about the Ukraine government and how “corrupt” they have been when much of their actual corruption was due to their Putin-inserted ex-leader, just as ours was for four years. Lies about what’s fucking important when millions of people are being displaced as refugees while thousands of others are killed.
All of these lies, the ones so obviously tuned and engineered to play upon common man-o-sphere fears, and the ones seeded among them to advance the fascist aims of tyrants around the world, blended together. They are engineered to an intentional harmony, to resonate with the typical human fear of being exiled outside the circle of power.
And if that’s your main concern, you’re not going to question if that circle of power is fair, right, decent, and truthful. Because that’s the kind of heresy that can get you excommunicated.
Well, fuck that.
I hope the young male Dana’s of these tumultuous days are able to turn away from the example of Dana White Jr. in his slavish continued loyalty to not only Donald Trump but also all the precepts and requirements of “being a man” that White and his fellow man-o-sphere circus barkers like Joe Rogan exemplify. There is a healthier, deeper, more real “masculinity” that comes from inside. It has more to do with actualizing the many aspects of yourself in their best and healthiest form, including your masculinity and your femininity, in the measure that balances and propels you into becoming who you want to be.
I still have a lot of illogical, white-hot hope for human nature. Trump’s latest bullshit using the airtime he still somehow gets to publicly appeal to Putin mid-invasion for more bullshit on Hunter Biden to advance his own aims to de-legitimize the Biden Administration seems to be drawing wide criticism, at least, according to Newsweek. As our military leaders remain clear as a bell regarding the actual threat of Russia and its aims and methods under Putin, the man-o-sphere loses both membership and clarity as its smarter supporters peel away after realizing what has been going on this whole time.
If you are such a man, and are looking for some better information, and don’t have time to listen to much of that podcast I linked to earlier, you can always wander over and spend a little time reading the subreddit /r/keep_track, as they’ve been sussing out the truth of the situation for years as well.
No one expects a pubic proclamation from you against your former in-group. You can just do what I see so frequently: go quiet; silently withdraw your previously-vocal support; turn inward and ask yourself the hard questions as to why you fell for those lies.
The Tyrant is the twisted, immature aspect of the energy of The King archetype from the quartet of “masculine aspects” noted before. The Tyrant aspect is insecure, threatened by other power in the world, compelled to dominate and control others to serve the ever-advancing demands of his out-of-control ego. The King energy serves the health and people of the kingdom, above all else. His self, his wealth, his reputation, his legacy; all are secondary considerations to the primary concern of the general benefit of his people. He leads by serving.
There have been plenty of “Are Men OK?” articles and such out there, looking at this issue from the outside-in. This simple ramble ruminating on starting life with “a girl’s name” has certainly expanded in scope to try to talk to my fellow men in an “Are Men OK?” sort of manner from the inside-out. I just… see so many of them just… proceeding with all this fealty to Bad Men for fear of being accused of not being Man Enough.
It’s all just basically veiled threats to the Male Ego. Some of us dealt with that when we were like, six years old. I say, it’s better to go ahead and rebel and get it over with. I’m not saying that incident sorted the whole concept for me at six years old; figuring out how to be a man, and hopefully a good man, has been something I’ve been working on my whole life.
I don’t watch sports. I’ve never really given a crap about what kind of car you’re driving. I don’t really have any do-it-yourself skills at home or with cars. I am into gadgets and technology, and figuring those things out. I’ve played every Call of Duty. I’ve never served in the military; my brother has, my fathers did. I think I turned out to be pretty good at civilian bread-winning. Sometimes, I can be a bit of a workaholic, and plugging away at this blog here before six in the morning today is evidence of that. I’ve really enjoyed being a father. At work, slow tenacity and persistence has eventually transformed me into a leader, in my arena. I have a fair amount of imposter syndrome when I consider that; I’m not a person obsessed with controlling others but I do detest seeing things being done wrong, through willful ignorance or apathy. At the end of the day, I’m responsible for significant marketing spend and resulting revenue at my position, benefiting not only my own family but hundreds of employees and their families. I am a bit of a Big Wizard with technology in a Small Kingdom, but nonetheless my skills with electric magic are both broad and deep.
Masculinity, early on, decided it could pick and choose which parts of me qualified for it. In response, I found I could pick and choose which parts of masculinity suited me.
“The virtues of science are skepticism and independence of thought.”Walter Gilbert
The skeptic evaluates that which is evaluating him. The ingroup is defined by how it treats the outgroup. When blind loyalty is required, the blindness is a requirement in order to sell lies. And if you don’t start questioning all the lies at some point, eventually you find yourself supporting some fascist based on the lie that he’s saving babies somewhere while you smear cream into your balding scalp that would kill a baby on contact.
My fellow Rebel Dana’s are clearly skeptics, and not the type to fall for the Big Lie of Donald Trump. Dana Carvey is pretty laser-focused on being a funny man and nailing the impressions, but I think we can read between the lines:
“If he starts World War III, we’ll be in our bunkers, and he’ll still be selling us on closed-captioned TV, ‘You now, we had a fabulous nuclear war, it was fabulous. Tremendous Nuclear War. Your bunkers are terrific. Your bunkers are fabulous. The Chinese bunkers are a disaster, a disaster. OK? OK?'”Dana Carvey on, and, as Donald Trump – June 2016
Dana Gould has been a bit more direct, as he is less unwilling to engage directly in political discussions over Twitter:
The future may not involve too many boys with the name Dana, wrestling with these concepts and writing blog posts like this. Blogs are obsolete, after all, in the age of social media where we’re all, apparently, supposed to expend all our communicative social energy in easily-categorized micro-bursts of incomplete, atomized thought packaged for tagging and algorithmic distribution. But also: usage of Dana as a given name peaked between 1960 and 1990, after at one point entering the Top 100 given names for girls. You can plot the popularity of your own given name over time at Babynames.com:
This particular blog entry went some places, from its humble beginnings. But if the point of the Folded Mind series is for you to get to know me, based on my old journal entries and how I look at them now, I am unavoidably adding to what is essentially a new journal. Hopefully this will lead you, Ideal Reader, to forgive a bit of day-to-day wandering amongst all the focused and researched multi-month articles.
I just can’t keep to my usual set of topics, when there’s War in Europe. We have to be clear on where we stand, on some things. I have been clear.
Maybe we should bring back the male name of Dana, in popularity. We seem to have lost or have seen mutated and co-opted some of those non-conformist ideas of the sixties and seventies. There are still quite a few semi-famous Dana’s in the world, both male and female, according to the Wikipedia article on the Given Name, even as the article notes the name’s decline in popularity. I suppose writing my own supportive article is all I can do to help. I can’t imagine the ego required, or the confusion engendered, in naming my child with my own first name, and I’m glad I didn’t even suggest it. I think my wife would have looked at my as if I was crazy, had I seriously floated the idea. I was already on her “watchlist” for some of my joke “cool name” ideas, like Laser, or Riptor.
Riptor is a fighting game character, from the game series Killer Instinct, and a scary and cool genetically-engineered velociraptor-human hybrid experiment designed by an evil corporation to be a killing machine. And I always thought half-jokingly and out-loud, twenty-five years ago and far-less-mature, that Riptor would be the kind of intimidating, masculine name that would ensure confidence and success in my son.
But it’s only now, in researching the character to finish up this article, do I learn that Riptor is—in fact—female. I never knew…
“Riptor” is a girl’s name!