Rotterdam arts centre ditches name of controversial colonial admiral

Throughout the United States, civil rights activists have fought to have the names of slave owners removed from public spaces and replaced with the names of champions for equality and social justice. This trend is not only to be found within the US, however. Across Europe, a similar movement has taken place. Most recently, the leaders of the Rotterdam Arts Centre decided to remove the name Witte de With, a 16th century Dutch admiral who led violent expeditions into Indonesia. Currently, the Arts Centre representative is looking for an appropriate onomastic replacement. The new name choice is expected to be announced in 2018.

Offensive sports teams names persist

Many people, both inside and outside of the Native American community, agree that the term “redmen” is offensive. Nevertheless, there are still athletic teams with names that feature this and other potentially offensive terms. A case in point is the Brooklin Redmen Lacrosse Club club in Ontario, Canada. Interested in learning about the history of the team, and what the team president thinks about this moniker? Read more here.

Immersive Entertainment: What’s next, and what to name it?

Riders getting their VR equipment ready for The New Revolution at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

What is immersive entertainment? The term can cover everything from the VR attraction The Void, to Sleep No More, to a months-long alternate reality game and immersive theater hybrid like The Lust Experience. It’s also being used to describe new real-world, participatory experiences at theme parks. Recently, Disney surveyed customers about a new name for its Florida-based Hollywood Studios. “Enter this newly named Disney Theme Park and completely immerse yourself in the realm of some of your favorite stories,” the survey read, promising guests the chance to “step into imagined worlds made real, and take the lead in an adventure that surrounds you at every turn.” The awkward names they got highlight the problem of immersive entertainment: How to label it in a way that allows customers to understand what their ticket will get them? Read this article at the Verge to learn more.

Call for Editors: Fandom and Neomedia Studies (FANS) Association Gender Studies Area

The Fandom and Neomedia Studies (FANS) Association has announced a call for editors in its upcoming Gender Studies Area. The purpose of this area is to examine the definition, acceptance, rejection, and expression of gender and sexuality in fandom and media. Among the topics to be included in this area include fandom onomastics.

Anyone, committee members and non-members alike, may submit a paper for consideration for our annual journal, The Phoenix Papers, and presentation at our conference, but committee members must meet certain qualifications.
Members must have an advanced degree or equivalent experience in gender studies and/or relevant fields within philosophy, literary studies, film studies, psychology, sociology, anthropology, social work, or medicine. Persons from all nations are eligible to join the committee.

More details can be found here.

What will the next royal baby name be?

Recently the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge formally announced that they are expecting their third child. No sooner had that announcement been made did UK bookmakers begin to take bets on what the next baby royal will be named. Alice is currently the firm favourite at 7/1, while other names mentioned include Arthur (10/1), Victoria (10/1), Alexandra (12/1), Albert (14/1) and Philip (14/1).Want to know how your favorite or last favorite baby name is fairing amongst the odd-makers? Read this article at the UK Telegraph to learn more.

Afghan women claiming the right to have their names used in public

Afghan women in Bagh-e-Babur, Kabul, Afghanistan

Name taboos exist or have existed in many cultures. In Afghanistan it is still the rule to not use the personal names of women in public. Rather they are designated by different kinship terms meaning “my wife”, “aunt”, etc.

Originally, name taboos were a protection against the misuse of names, which were believed to have magical powers and in many societies today, addressing someone by his personal name is still considered impolite.

However, in this modern age, Afghan women experience this taboo as a denial of their identities, reducing them to be nameless wives and mothers. As they strive to play an equal part in society, claiming the right to use their names as they see fit, is one step towards that goal.

A social media campaign to change this custom has been percolating in recent weeks, initiated by young women. The campaign comes with a hashtag in local languages that addresses the core of the issue and translates as #WhereIsMyName.

The activists’ aim is both to challenge women to reclaim their most basic identity, and to break the deep-rooted taboo that prevents men from mentioning their female relatives’ names in public.

Help Name the Fatberg in London!

Have you heard about the “fatberg”? It’s a 140-ton mix of fat, oil, diapers and baby wipes clogging up the London sewers. Fatbergs are created by residents and businesses flushing and pouring things they’re not supposed to down the drain, like cooking oils and wipes. Back in 2013, Thames Water faced its biggest fatberg ever recorded in Britain, a bus-sized 15-ton glob. This latest fatberg blows that one out of the sewer. Thames Water notes the current monster is heavier than four humpback whales.

The utility company Thames Water is asking for the public’s help in naming it:

Read more at this CNET article, and submit your names suggestions via Twitter!



About Names: Movie makes pitch for reviving Mitch

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his August 12 column, he looks at the history of the name Mitchell.

The name Mitch is a short form of Mitchell, originally an English and Irish surname. Some Mitchell families had ancestors nicknamed “Muchel,” a Middle English word for “big.” The word “much” has the same origin. More Mitchells had ancestors named Michel, the medieval English form of Michael. Michael, name of the biblical archangel, comes from Hebrew Mikha’el, “Who is like God?” (The question mark is an important part of the meaning. To ancient Israelites, the answer to the rhetorical question was “No one is like God; God is unique.”)

In the 1950s, band and chorale leader Mitch Miller (1911-2010) helped popularize the name. His version of “The Yellow Rose of Texas” was a No. 1 hit in 1955 — and Mitch moved into the top 1,000 on the list of given names for the first time. In January 1961, Miller began a four-year run as host of television’s “Sing Along With Mitch.” That year Mitch peaked at 397th and Mitchell at 118th on the baby names chart.

Mitchell got a second boost from “Baywatch.” This TV series about gorgeous lifeguards and their romantic entanglements ran from 1989 to 2001 as one of the most successful syndicated shows ever. Star David Hasselhoff played Mitch Buchannon.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Mitches in history!

After 75 years of marriage, Harvey and Irma amazed by namesake hurricanes

For many US Americans, the names Harvey and Irma will be indelibly linked with two of the largest storms that the nation has ever seen. For Mr. and Mrs. Schluter, a devoted couple who have been married for an astounding 75 years, this association is rather disturbing. Why? Mr. and Mrs. Schluter’s first names just happen to be Harvey and Irma. According to People Magazine, this name pair is completely coincidental. The World Meteorological Organization the personal names used for storms are selected from a pre-existing master list of names.

Commemorative Calculus: How an Algorithm Helped Arrange the Names on the 9/11 Memorial

Etched in bronze panels placed around two memorial pools are nearly 3,000 names of people who were killed on at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Although many visitors to the moving memorial assume that the names are randomly placed, in reality the planners of the site used a complex algorithm to decide where the names should be placed. To read about why this algorithm was used and how it was devised, click through to this story at Scientific American.