Friday, August 22, 2003

...the whole first name/last name thing. I ran into this in my post on Combo when I found myself having to refer to--er--K. Silem Mohammad, Katie Degentesh, and Michael Magee all in a single sentence. Now I don't know Katie Degentesh or Michael Magee, so I referred to them with their last names. But I do know, um, Mr. Mohammad, so it would have seemed weird to refer to him as "Mohammad" and not as "Kasey."

Then there's the whole "bloggers are one big family" effect--I notice that any time bloggers have an exchange or link to one another last names are almost immediately dropped, so that, for example, Jordan Davis (who I've never met) links to me (when he does) as "Tim." I like this; it seems warm, fuzzy, caring-heart, even; it punctures the idea that this is just a ramped-up version of impersonal print culture.

But--the point Cassie makes is a good one--someone coming to a blog for the first time is going to get the impression of a whole social world of "Stephanie"s and "Jim"s and "Jordan"s and wonder, maybe, what soap opera they stepped into and who all these people are who seem to know each other and could this new reader ever be on a first-name basis with them, too?

I think the recent discussions of New Brutalism on Poetry Espresso have made me think a bit more about this. First-naming is fine if no one else is listening; but what happens in those weird moments when you become aware that someone is.

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