Wednesday, April 30, 2014

rumplestiltskin is the wave of the future

Well, those crazy politicians are up to it again in Mexico City.

Not the federal government.  This time it is the local government of the Federal District.

I am not certain what to make of this latest headline -- "Parents to Decide Order of Children's Last Names."  It sounds rather libertarian to me.  Shift power from the state to parents.  How could there be anything wrong with that?

But, first, a little context may help here.  Those of us who daily live in the world of Mexican names have become accustomed to their internal logic.  You can learn a lot about a person by simply looking at her formal name.

Let's say I have a friend named Maria Guadalupe Pérez Hernandez.  I know that her mother's family name is Hernandez and that her father's family name is Pérez.  Because that is the convention.  Father's name first.  Mother's name second.

And if she marries a young man named Julio César Valencia Rodríguez, and they have a son, his name will look like this: Manuel Javier Valencia
Pérez.  The last two names reflect the father's family name first and the mother's second.

Rather simple once you know the code.  But it confuses people, such as Oregon City policemen who repeatedly charged Latinos for "giving a false name to a police officer."

Now, the government of Mexico City is about to scramble the code.  Or, at least, allowing parents to scramble it.

A local legislator, Padierna Antonio Luna, is promoting a commission recommendation that parents should be empowered to breach the male-dominated name structure in Mexico.  If parents want to reverse the order of last names, they should be free to do so.

I probably do not need to tell you which party rules Mexico City's local government -- the hard left PRD.  None of my sources can give me the underlying reasoning for the proposed change other than to shrug their shoulders and mutter something about the PRD's love for change.

I come from a similar era.  When my friends began marrying after college, some of them entered into the hyphen name game.  William Locke married Mary Boxer and became the Locke-Boxer family.  George Sherwood and Melanie Forrest married and became the Sherwood-Forrests.

Of course it came to a head when their children married one another and became the Locke-Boxer-Sherwood-Forests.  Or was it the Sherwood-Locke-Boxer-Forrests.  Whichever it was, it was a wedding stationer's paradise.

There may be a solution on both sides of the border.  Parents can hope their children will ushered into the True Elite -- celebrities whose names shrink to one.  Like Thalia.  Or Beyoncé.  (Of course, Liza presents its own cautionary tale.)

I doubt anyone even cares who the parents of the mononyms are.

It could be worse.  Musically-inspired parents could name their children --

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