Feb 9, 2015

What's in a name?

Can we please talk about actors who at one time took a stand on the correct pronunciation of their names but over time have just given up in a spectacular way?

And by “spectacular way,” I mean they allow the world at large – E! correspondents, Oprah and Gayle, the hosts of the Popcast podcast, to name a few – to butcher their names, and they do nothing to prevent it. No more corrections in print or on The View, or even to the annoying paparazzi who yell their names INCORRECTLY as they try to get them to turn around for a picture in the airport.
Who are these actors? A partial list:
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Joaquin Phoenix
  • Lindsay Lohan
  • John Lithgow
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones
  • Amanda Siefried
To be fair, I’m not even sure all three of those people should be lumped into the “actor” category. Perhaps we go with “celebrity,” then?


Growing up, I was regularly called “Kathy” and “Kathleen” by people who couldn’t be bothered to remember my name or what I preferred to be called. KATHERINE. Not that hard. When I was young, I didn’t even have a nickname, and I didn’t go by my middle name, so we’re talking, I went by the name that was listed legally on my birth certificate, how I was registered at school, all of that. That never stopped the occasional teacher from asking, “Kath-reen?” on the first day of school. REALLY?

Wasn’t aware that was even an option.

But this is a hill I’m willing to die on. I’ll answer to a few names: Katherine, Kat, Mommy, and – courtesy of the last seven years – GRASS. If you mispronounce any of them, I’ll politely correct you. If you call me Kathleen or Kathy, I’ll tell you what your actual options are. Nicely.

This is what separates us from the animals, Internet. Call a tortoise who goes by “Einstein,” “Titus” instead, and there’s not a heck of a lot he can do about it.

So I guess what I’m saying is, I hope KEE-uh-noo, HAH-keen* and Lindsay LOH-en will once again pick up the mantle and make a go of it. Because IT’S YOUR NAME. 

*I have always assumed that Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos named their son Joaquin (Wah-KEEN) after hearing Joaquin Phoenix’s name earlier in their lives. Which is unfortunate. Because they didn’t ask him how his mama pronounces it.

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