Shaming Names

Further to last week’s ponderings, I have received two messages. The first (from Dr. Serge Reidler, aka ‘The Name Doctor’) points out that ‘there would be a certain irony in Y Yippo’s mysterious first name turning out to be Yanisin, seeing as this name – of Native American origin – means “ashamed”. He would, thus, be ashamed of being called ashamed’.

The doctor has a point, though one has to question a culture in which the word ‘ashamed’ is seen as a good basis for someone’s name. Would one call one’s child ’embarrassed’ or ‘downhearted’? I think not. It is the parents, if anyone, who should be ashamed.

The second letter, from Mr P Grandy, lends support to the theory that Mr Yippo’s first name is ‘something along the lines of Yvonne’. According to the writer, ‘anxiety over enforced and/or encroaching feminity informs Yippo’s writing at every level. One senses a man desperate to stamp his masculinity – a desire that could well spring from his having been given a female name at birth: a relatively common custom in some countries.’

I take it that’s Mr Patricia Grandy, then…


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