I'm banned from Facebook again. So, the new outlets for my thoughts are Twitter, this blog, and the Port Townsend Leader opinion pages (if they ever actually print any of my submissions).
I was banned from Facebook for having a "fake name". Does Nikolas Abzdefghijklmnop sound fake to you? Maybe that's not my given last name, but it's actually a completely intentional last name, and a critique on names and individualist identity in general. It's not fake at all.
"Abzdefghijklmnop" is something I made up when Facebook asked me for my last name, and Abcdefghijklmnop didn't pass through their automated fake name filters. I've also just come to like my new chosen last name, and now I identify with it. But that's not even important — the reason I chose this last name is because there's too much emphasis on names, and identity in general, in North American society.
Naming people and ideas leads to a sort of profane worship of those people. For example, I love Nick Drake — and there are all sorts of theories about how and why he died. From my perspective, his death was a result of his mental instability, which stemmed from his inability to meet expectations he had for himself, and others around him had, (like his producer calling him a "genius"). It seems like a lack of validation from others, an alienation from the world, really got to him.
It's unfortunate that many people who make music or art, they want to make things that's popular, genre-appropriate, technically sound, that have some appeal to the people around them. Is that what art is about? Sure, that's one purpose. But my favorite purpose of art is when it's about expressing yourself... whether or not others want to hear or see, or even understand that expression!
When I hear a song, I don't just hear whoever happens to be singing, or whoever wrote or performed the song, who put everything together. Once you get through however many people were involved, I also hear everything surrounding the making of the music, the setting, the cultural norms, and the time and place. Music is a product of its environment, so if a person can be a genius, so can an era!
I don't believe in that sort of human individuality, or genius, and I see humanity as more of a collection of life that we're all a part of. So why would my last name — whether it's real or fake, really matter to anyone? I mean, at some point in history my last name was made up or chosen by someone else anyways.
Would Facebook have banned Malcolm X for not using the last name that happens to be associated with his birth certificate? And what happens if you don't have a birth certificate or government ID?
Whatever, it's more fun to write on here than Facebook anyways. I don't have to feel like I'm intruding on everyone's meme-sharing activities, and the words aren't all truncated to a single paragraph, to discourage real conversation that has any sort of depth.