Crazy names (redux)

Hi everyone — Sandeep and I are both in the throes of finals, our apologies for the lack of posts! We’ll get back to regular posts as soon as we can, but in the meantime…

I wrote a post a couple months ago about crazy names, looking at some of the most interesting name changes that I’ve come across, and speculating as to why people might make the changes they do. Today, a couple more wild names, and motivations for taking them, came to my attention.

These are both crazy long names. A man who used to be known as Nicholas Usansky was simply going for fame, taking what was, at the time, the longest name in the world:

Barnaby Marmaduke Aloysius Benjy Cobweb Dartagnan Egbert Felix Gaspar Humbert Ignatius Jayden Kasper Leroy Maximilian Neddy Obiajulu Pepin Quilliam Rosencrantz Sexton Teddy Upwood Vivatma Wayland Xylon Yardley Zachary Usansky

He held the record until a woman hoping to gain publicity for her charity, Red Dreams, showed him up big time. Her name is an incredible 161 words long!

Red Wacky League Antlez Broke the Stereo Neon Tide Bring Back Honesty Coalition Feedback Hand of Aces Keep Going Captain Let’s Pretend Lost State of Dance Paper Taxis Lunar Road Up Down Strange All and I Neon Sheep Eve Hornby Faye Bradley AJ Wilde Michael Rice Dion Watts Matthew Appleyard John Ashurst Lauren Swales Zoe Angus Jaspreet Singh Emma Matthews Nicola Brown Leanne Pickering Victoria Davies Rachel Burnside Gil Parker Freya Watson Alisha Watts James Pearson Jacob Sotheran Darley Beth Lowery Jasmine Hewitt Chloe Gibson Molly Farquhar Lewis Murphy Abbie Coulson Nick Davies Harvey Parker Kyran Williamson Michael Anderson Bethany Murray Sophie Hamilton Amy Wilkins Emma Simpson Liam Wales Jacob Bartram Alex Hooks Rebecca Miller Caitlin Miller Sean McCloskey Dominic Parker Abbey Sharpe Elena Larkin Rebecca Simpson Nick Dixon Abbie Farrelly Liam Grieves Casey Smith Liam Downing Ben Wignall Elizabeth Hann Danielle Walker Lauren Glen James Johnson Ben Ervine Kate Burton James Hudson Daniel Mayes Matthew Kitching Josh Bennett Evolution Dreams

My previous post speculated that people might take strange names for reasons beyond simple narcissism, in support, for example, of a cause. I think something like that was the idea behind b-baller Metta World Peace’s name change. He wanted signify to the world that he had completed a personal journey from the Malice at the Palace (where he jumped into the stands during an NBA game, punched a fan, and was then suspended for an entire season (see also Grantland’s recap)), to the winner of the NBA’s Citizenship Award last year. Of course, things got a bit awkward for that narrative after he viciously elbowed a player in the back of the head a couple weeks ago, so there’s that as well. (So much fornominative determinism, I guess.)

Nevertheless, at least one of these new name changes supports my speculations. Ms. Dreams’s motivation (generate publicity for her charity) was admirable, even if the name itself is completely weird.

Mr. Usansky, it seems, thinks otherwise. He apparently told The Scottish Sun that he would consider trying to retake the longest-name crown from Ms. Dreams, as “there is no point to having a wacky name like that and not having the longest in the world.”