• Gazette 2.0

A name is just a name until you give it meaning


By David Ficarri


-Diversions with Dave-


What’s in a name? Well, when it becomes synonymous with a meme, particular attitude or look, then plenty. Am I right, Karen?


If you’re not familiar, the image that people now associate with a “Karen” is a middle-aged white lady with a bob-style haircut whose behavior is to assert her dominance over others by “asking for a manager” among other things.


Apparently “Karen” needed a male to accompany her so now all the “Kens” of the world are unwitting accomplices. Throw in Chad and Brad and you now have a family of four set to terrorize the internet.


The internet has become a fascinating social experiment. The same place that can turn an unknown musician into an overnight sensation can also brand people with a hard to escape stereotype.


It’s given many of us a voice to speak our opinions but has turned others into “keyboard warriors” who hide behind their computers. It allows instant access to all the information the world has ever known yet people are still too gullible or lazy to do their own research.


Unfortunately, I haven’t come up with a clever nickname for that last group just yet.


Are these stereotypes just harmless fun or something more revealing about human behavior? Luckily for anyone whose name gets tossed into the quagmire, these types of things usually only last until a new moniker comes along. However, if you’re an innocent Karen or Ken, I’m sure the jokes get tired very quickly.


The somewhat ironic part though is that we’re simultaneously more concerned than ever about bullying in any form but yet we’re quick to toss the insults at people we think deserve to be called out. I guess in that regard, the hypocrisy of human behavior goes back as long as there have been humans.


As the internet keeps expanding and our attention spans and tolerance keeps shrinking, my guess is we’re going to see much more of this sort of name-calling.


Years from now, you’re probably going to see Edgar Snyder-esque ads that ask, “Have you or anyone you know been a victim of online bullying and name-calling? If so, you might be entitled to compensation!”


Hopefully, most of us can shrug off this behavior and chalk it up to harmless teasing. W.C. Fields put it this way, “It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.” Which is quite easy for me to say because in any case, my name David is derived from the Biblical King and means “beloved.”

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