That’s a pretty clever name, right? Squid Vicious. I thought of it entirely independently. I got really excited, because it hit me in just the perfect way – clever, catchy, irreverent. I was going to assume the mantle of Squid Vicious and have it become my internet avatar. I was going to write a whimsical novel about undersea creatures overcoming their differences to form the world’s first All-Aquatic punk band. The only problem? Turns about about 1,000 other people thought of it before me. Such is life in the modern era. But it got me thinking about names.
What’s in a name? On the surface, nothing. The flotsam and jetsam of our lives latches on to names like barnacles to a hull (I’ve really got a whole nautical theme going today, huh?), giving them meaning. But it’s a transitory meaning. Would my life really be that different if my name were Dexter instead of Indy? Probably not. Would my life really be that different if instead I was named Lord Blackskull Burnface? More likely, but I’d still be me.
But even though it’s a highly subjective affair, names are interesting, because what we choose to call things matters. We choose. We manufacture that meaning from almost nothing.
When it comes to pop culture, names certainly have an almost magical power, able to evoke feelings and memories with just a few words. And what about the 2nd level names? Stuff like a character name, the name of a TV show, the title of a book – that stuff stands out. But what about the little things? The meta-names that aren’t even really part of the fictional world? The title of an episode, the name of a certain video game level, or the title of a certain chapter? They can be almost a throwaway, or they can really, absolutely floor you. This article is about the second kind.
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