What's in a name? Don't blame Dr Evil, the poor guy had no chance

Aptronyms (names that are perfectly suited to the character) are not very fashionable in literature these days, unless, of course, you count the characters in the Mr Men series of children's books: Mr Happy, Mr Silly, and Little Miss Bossy, to name just a few.

One of the main reasons for this is that aptronyms are considered unrealistic; if your family name is Crapper it doesn't mean that you're going to grow up to be the world's pre-eminent inventor of toilets, right? Wrong! And the list of people with eerily aptronymic names just goes on.

Among my favourites is the disgraced Bernard Maddof, the investment banker who literally "made off" with billions of dollars of his clients' money. Then there is Usain Bolt, world's fastest man; Lord Brain, a famous neurologist; and Amy Winehouse, the singer whose battles with alcohol have been well-documented.

The whole of idea of the aptronym is entwined with that of nominative predeterminism (the theory that a person's name goes some way to determining their role and career in life).

The phenomenon has been documented and even proved to have a great deal of credence. What, however, about those poor souls in life cursed with names that augur hope of little more than a life of menial mediocrity (I. Middling), spectacular failure (Max Fall) or pure evil (Cardinal Sin – don't worry I'll explain this one later).

The answer, it seems, is to change one's name. This is exactly what one Mr Chris Hunt did recently. Unhappy to move headlong into years spent on horseback chasing defenceless foxes or, more probably, a desire not to embrace an at first bland-sounding existence that was in fact ultimately encoded to mean a lifetime of visceral unlikeability, in honour of his favourite snack, he changed his name to Mr Monster Munch.

Now, presuming he hasn't effected this name change too late in the day, I fear that things may not work out exactly as Mr M M hopes. I don't know about you, but the formula of nominative determinism makes it highly probable that he'll end life being eaten by a crocodile. Then again, perhaps I'm being alarmist and he'll merely develop a deep antipathy to his hereto favourite crisp and discover that he instead has an insatiable taste for M&Ms.

Let's get back to Cardinal Sin, otherwise known as Jaime Lachica Sin, once the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila. I wonder what deep, dark and disturbing secrets his biographers will manage to dig up?

Anyway, I better go, I'm off to change my name to Mani Lover.

Top Image © Mike Licht NotionsCapital.com, via Flickr under Creative Commons Licence

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