What’s in a name?

15 Feb

When thinking of what to name this blog, I recalled a fictional scene I wrote years ago in which two friends have a serious discussion in an absurd setting:  a restaurant called Tequila Mockingbird. In my scene, I played up the goofiness of the restaurant, which was at once a Mexican food joint and a tribute to Harper Lee’s famous novel.  (Try the Boo Radley Chimichangas!)  I thought I was terribly clever.

Not too long thereafter, my wife and I traveled through Ocean City, Maryland. We were looking for a place to eat, and I let my fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages (this was when the Web was still a very young 1.0), and then…you know what’s going to happen, don’t you?…my finger alit on a restaurant named, naturally, Tequila Mockingbird.

Nothing new under the sun.

I regret not having stopped by to see how the actual restaurant looked, to see if they had still photos of Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch or a first edition of To Kill a Mockingbird reverently displayed beneath illuminated glass.  However, the Web 2.0 evidence suggests otherwise:  http://www.octequila.com/home.php  (Maybe the Tequila Mockingbird located in New Canaan, CT, hews more closely to my original vision.)

More recently, a few years ago, I was writing a semi-regular column for a local literary magazine, Kitchen Sink. My column was called “Culture Mulcher.”  (The only extant electronic edition of one of those columns is here:  http://www.kitchensinkarchives.com/2010/11/culture-mulcher-solipsism-and-the-single-reader/)

Again, I thought I was being terribly clever, even though a quick web search at the time revealed several other uses of that term, the earliest of which was a reference in a Time magazine article from June 16, 1947 (“…in a letter to culture-mulcher Assistant Secretary of State William Benton.”).  In the past several years, the term has only proliferated, showing up on multiple blogs, including one at Forbes.

So, not terribly original, but that’s one of the things the Internet reveals to us–the ways in which we are like-minded as well as the ways in which (one hopes) we are distinct.

So, The Culture Mulcher? Of course not.  A culture mulcher?  Yes, but then who isn’t?  So let’s dispense with the noun and go instead with the action–culture mulching–and see where it goes.

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