July 01, 2005

What is in a Name?

Johnny Cash had a number one song in the 1970s, A Boy Named Sue, written by Shel Silverstein. It is about a boy who grows up angry and aggressive, cursed with the burden of a feminine name (“I grew up quick and I grew up mean, My fist got hard and my wits got keen”). The boy grows up, tracks down the father that named him Sue, they fight and, just before the boy is to knock the father senseless, the dad pleads for understanding. He had to leave the boy alone in the world, he said, and “I knew you’d have to get tough or die. And it’s the name that helped to make you strong.”

Names have power.

What we call things colors our perception of them.

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