Posts tagged with "naming" - Faerye Net 2009-02-08T21:31:25+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Identify yourself 2009-02-08T21:31:25+00:00 2009-02-08T21:43:43+00:00 <p>I&#8217;ve mentioned my discomfiture with the term &#8216;white&#8217; and its pseudo-scientific relative &#8216;Caucasian&#8217; <a href="" target="internal">on at least one occasion</a>. &#8216;White&#8217; is a false monolith of assimilated, &#8216;non-ethnic&#8217; culture. It&#8217;s also, in one sense, a useful diagnostic term: I&#8217;m white, because I have <a href="" target="links">white privilege</a>. I think it&#8217;s worth acknowledging that privilege, even though I would love to tear it down along with the nonsense, &#8216;unmarked&#8217; category.*</p> <p>I thought I&#8217;d accepted that definition: I have white privilege, I acknowledge it by admitting I&#8217;m white. But on a panel at <a href="" target="internal">Orycon</a>, I came up short. It was a panel on using non-European folklore in fiction, and the moderator asked each of the panelists to sketch her (and in one case, his) background, personal and artistic. I was last, and she turned to me and said, &#8220;And, Felicity, you identify as white, right?&#8221;</p> <p>I sat there, opened and closed my mouth. Eventually, some words managed to tumble out, probably to the effect that yes, I am white. I felt stunned for a few minutes, not to mention (still) quite embarrassed for turning incoherent in front of a room full of people. It seemed so silly. How was this any different from <a href="" target="internal">the aforementioned &#8216;ethnicity&#8217; checkbox</a>? Wasn&#8217;t this a ludicrous reaction on my part?</p> <p>I&#8217;ve managed to convince myself that it wasn&#8217;t. &#8216;Identify&#8217;. It&#8217;s a loaded term in these contexts. Perhaps the most well-known example these days, known even to those of us who haven&#8217;t (<em>yet!</em>) read <a href="" target="powells"><em>Dreams from my Father</em></a>, is President Obama&#8217;s identification as African-American. The media&#8217;s obsessed debate over his racial identity showed that people think this kind of thing is mutable, but most agree that it&#8217;s fundamentally Obama&#8217;s right to mediate his own racial affiliation. Naming has power, and self-naming is particularly heady. From race to political inclination to gender and sexual politics, people self-describe and self-categorize: feminist or <a href="" target="links">womanist</a>, gay or <a href="" target="links">same gender loving</a>, disabled person or person with disabilities: these distinctions are meaningful, often crucially so, to those making them. You cannot stop others labeling you, or understanding you according to their own rubrics, but you can choose your terms. You can define yourself.</p> <p>For me, this question of ethnic identity is not so simple as &#8216;do you have white privilege?&#8217; To say that it is is to wipe away the traditions from which my ancestors rose. It&#8217;s affirming and embracing the false homogeneity of white mainstream culture. It&#8217;s not as simple as my <span class="caps">DNA</span>. I have drops of blood from places only recently discovered by my grandmother&#8217;s genealogical excavations, and gouts of it from cultures deliberately put aside and denied by my forebears. Those contributions to who I am may be too far back, or too far away, or too small, to claim. My identity is something I am still making, something I am naming based on an interplay of factors.</p> <p>But if I could go back and whisper in my own ear at that panel, I would say: &#8220;I identify as Welsh-English-Irish-French.&#8221; Yes, it&#8217;s long, and complex, and messy. But it&#8217;s true. I have studied those cultures, histories, even languages, and they are part of who I am. I am not unmarked. I mark myself.</p> <p>*I&#8217;m pretty interested in this concept of &#8216;markedness&#8217;, as it applies to people and types of writing. It&#8217;s what I was trying to get at with my post <a href="" target="internal">&#8220;Maleness is the human default.&#8221;</a></p> What's in a computer name? 2006-06-08T16:36:02+00:00 2008-06-08T13:55:44+00:00 <p>So my desktop computer, Titania, has broken down. New parts arrived via <span class="caps">UPS</span> this very day. I had already, since her first construction, replaced her graphics card, her <span class="caps">RAM</span>, and given her a new, larger hard-drive; with this upgrade she&#8217;s getting a new motherboard, a new processor, another new graphics card, and losing the old, smaller hard drive. So, in short, absolutely nothing will be original to this computer except the case and its native power supply.</p> <p>So&#8230;should I rename it? I suppose it doesn&#8217;t matter in the slightest. One could have a series of completely indepent computers, all named Frank, and as long as they weren&#8217;t on the same network at the same time, I imagine no repercussions would ensue (except people thinking you dreadful dull.) However, while I think most commentators would admit the existence of some sort of &#8216;essence&#8217; in a sentient being that would allow one to apply the same name to it were all its pieces replaced but its memories and personality left intact, I&#8217;ve never heard any sort of ruling on nonsentients. If Qubit were replaced tomorrow with a clone of the same age, would we feel compelled to give the new cat a new name? Should I think of a new faerie name for my zippier and completely mindwiped machine?</p> <p>If so, it sure as hell isn&#8217;t going to be &#8216;Oberon&#8217;. Because <span class="caps">I KNOW</span> her gender hasn&#8217;t changed with her innards.</p> <p><b><span class="caps">UPDATE</span></b>: I had to run out and buy a new power-supply, but I haven&#8217;t changed her name. Yet. I&#8217;m tempted to name her &#8216;Promethea&#8217; :p But I won&#8217;t. For now.</b></p> The Poky Puppy 2004-11-11T16:32:17+00:00 2008-10-01T15:35:52+00:00 <p><img src="" alt="The Poky Little Puppy from Golden Books" title="The Original Article" class="imageRight" /></p> <p>I love my car. Not in the way that <a href="" target="links">some</a> people love their cars, but I love it, all the same. My car is not a sleek, wondrous machine, promising endless adventure and growling speed songs somewhere out of the range of human hearing. It does not contain feats of engineering so mind-bogglingly cute or useful that passengers are rendered silent by their sheer beauty. It does not do anything particularly fast.</p> <p>My car is a very dirty white Toyota Corolla, with a very odd and fairly permanent tracing of some black thread, like Goth silly string, along one side and a schmear of peach paint from a wall on the back bumper from the time my depth perception failed me behind <a href="" target="links">Happy Panda</a> one day. It has one little <a href="" target="links">Oregon Zoo</a> decal trying to differentiate it from its myriad Toyota brethren, and three or more hats sitting around the inside or perching on headrests within. It has a special transmission I like to call &#8216;darkmatic,&#8217; because it is one of the various things in the car that doesn&#8217;t light up at night any more. It is a dumpy, frumpy little car, and utterly forgettable.</p> <p> Until very recently, its sheer normalcy (I have it on good authority that my car is the most common make, model, and color in the country) discouraged me from naming it. It took me from place to place, accepted my stuff without comment, hid my Powell&#8217;s &#8216;Great Authors&#8217; Nalgene for almost a year under its seat, and ungrudgingly carried the same load of castoffs for Goodwill for another year or so. It is a useful, dependable thing, my constant companion, and I felt almost ashamed for not having named it. And so it is with great joy and great affection for my blessedly boring little vehicle that I announce that I have at last thought of a name which both acknowledges its unexciting nature and communicates its beloved state. My car&#8217;s name is &#8220;The Poky Puppy.&#8221;</p><p>I can&#8217;t decide whether to splurge and baptize the little dear with a car wash.</p>