by syaffolee

Lengthy Commentary on Other People’s Links

A Collossal Waste of Time. (via April’s post on Blogsisters) I never understood society’s obsession with weight. The obsession itself is a disease, infecting everyone’s minds. I admit I’m not a thin person, let alone a skinny person, but I would be lying if I said I never thought that I was fat. I just deal with it my own way, by avoiding scales and filling my life with other (perhaps more worthy) obsessions. Why worry about weight when I have the possibility of finding something to help cure cancer or writing stories that may make someone laugh?

However, I wouldn’t say that an obsession with being fat is completely fabricated like philosophical mumbo-jumbo. There is the “biological” theory–that thin women are considered more desirable because they have the resources to remain thin whereas more heavier women are considered less fit because they consume cheaper weight-gaining food. This is the converse of what has been historically true: that more heavier women were considered desirable because they were wealthy enough to even have food. On the other hand, the thin women were all peasants.

But there is a flaw in this theory. At present, most people (at least in Western and Western-like societies) have the resources to choose whether to be light or heavy. Or to be black or white (see Michael Jackson). Or to have their hair short, curly, and blue. I believe some people make appearance to be their obsession because they have nothing else to do. Women talk non-stop about their weight instead of filling out college applications, doing their homework, and doing their jobs because talking, not eating, and running mindlessly on a treadmill is easier than essay writing, figuring out how to balance a chemical equation, and filing paperwork.

Baby’s Named a Bad, Bad Thing. (via discussion on Metafilter) When names are bad, they’re awful. Some of the names suggested on these sites sound more like creative handles and usernames that someone came up with because someone else already had the one they were thinking of. And the creative spellings? The parents were either on crack or are hackers. (Besides, creative spellings turn out to be not creative at all since the name is pronounced the same as the original spelling.)

So what’s in a name? Everything apparently. Personally, I haven’t met anyone with a crazy sounding name even when I was working at the local library helping to file all the patron records into an electronic database (indicative of uncreative Tennesseans, I suppose). I’m a bit obsessed with looking up names and meanings though–perhaps because my own name is not that common and through my Chinese heritage where every name has a meaning. My sister and I were given our Chinese names first and our English names were based from those. (My cousins’ names were done the other way around.) Mine was picked mostly at random from a baby name book to rhyme with my Chinese name and to have the same initials as my father’s English name. This was the same rationale used to pick my sister’s name, this time following my mother’s initials, although for a while she despised it (she wanted to go by Alexandria instead because her name sounded too much like the horror vamp Elvira).

In a way, I’m glad my parents gave me an odd name. It makes me different from all those other Asian girls named Jennifer and Christina and Sarah (and believe me, I’ve met scores of them) let alone everyone else. Then again, it’s notoriously difficult to pronounce despite its short length especially for native Chinese speakers who can’t get the “th” sound right. Instead of getting mad, though, I’ve given up on pronounciation ever since I was seven. (I give out the hint that it’s pronounced exactly like two articles smushed together but no one ever gets the joke because they’re not grammar geeks.)

Most of the time, I just browse baby naming sites because it’s a good way to find names for story characters. I want them to be short but not too common (unless they’re minor characters) and to have meaning. And because they’re simply characters, I also have the added bonus of naming them something awful that wouldn’t fly in the real world. But it’s not the name itself at attracts me, it’s the history behind it.