Thursday, September 4, 2014

Call 'em right

If you haven't watched Into the Wild yet, you should. The one exceptional lesson you can take from its heartrending climax is as follows: We should know the right name. Be it a bird or a berry. I point this out not because i ain't good with names. (I'm not in any case.) But we can't go around calling Rose Dawson Jasmine Dawson. Jack's frozen ghost might get offended. Thankfully, non-people beings aren't touchy about their names. Even if Shakespeare had called a rose periwinkle, it wouldn't have given a crap about his literary achievements. In fact, it would continue to smell as sweet as it ever did. Of course, you'll say that dogs are different from flowers as they are given human names for their undisputed loyalty. Guess what? They aren't. An adorable dog named Cookie won't react if you called her Jenny. Which means that she's just used to being called a particular name for a long time. On her own, she can't really differentiate between names. She didn't react because you didn't use the right word. She won't change any of her features that makes her a dog. In other words, she remains indifferent to the politics of name-calling. Humans fail to understand the broader problem associated with names. More than half of the issues embroiling our planet has something to do with mistaken identity. People who are idiots are being called moronic. Sad people are referred to as depressed and depressed ones as boring. Fascists are called nationalists and freedom fighters, terrorists. Greedy corporates are being called successful while an honest startup is called risky. Persian Gulf is called Arabian Gulf (and vice versa) as if the gulf cares. A woman who enjoys life as much as a man does is called slut. Kashmiris are called Indians while they aren't absolutely sure about being called Pakistanis. Palestinians are called Arabs while a Mangalorean is often addressed as Madrasi. The bespectacled guy who'll fix your problem is called nerds while a good-for-nothing showoff is called dude. Native Americans are still called Red Indians when there's nothing bloody about them anymore. Some east Ukrainians would love to be called Russians whether the EU likes it or not. A Scot wants to be called a Scot and an Irish, Irish. Kurds can't tolerate being called anything but. You call a person from North-East India Chinese and think you're being funny. You're not. Common sense requires common knowledge too. When a word turns into identity, it becomes powerful. This is what we should be cautious about. This is also why they say that we should think twice before taking names. Oh they don't? Well, they should. And you should watch that movie i mentioned earlier. Or go back to school.

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