Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-12-2013, 05:40 PM
CheeseDonkey CheeseDonkey is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 490
Why do we call noted murderers by their full names?

John Wilkes Booth. John Wayne Gacy. James Earl Ray. Lee Harvey Oswald. Mark David Chapman, just to name a few. Why do we often use their full names when we reference them? "John Booth," "Lee Oswald," and "John Gacy" almost seem foreign, since you rarely if ever hear them referred to by just their first and last names.

And why do we very rarely refer to victims by their full names? It's John Lennon, not John Winston Lennon, for example.

Last edited by CheeseDonkey; 02-12-2013 at 05:41 PM.
  #2  
Old 02-12-2013, 05:46 PM
Peremensoe Peremensoe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 11,928
John Michael Booth, James Francis Ray, and Lee David Oswald wanted it to be very clear...
  #3  
Old 02-12-2013, 05:49 PM
yabob yabob is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 7,874
Because the news stories generally first pick up their names from police reports, which use suspect's full names.
  #4  
Old 02-12-2013, 05:50 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 27,351
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peremensoe View Post
John Michael Booth, James Francis Ray, and Lee David Oswald wanted it to be very clear...
I think that is it. No one wants to be confused with a notorious murderer or a serial killer. That extra bit of clarification goes a long way to eliminate any confusion. The chances of any two people having all three names in common is usually hundreds or more times smaller than just having the same first and last name.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 02-12-2013 at 05:52 PM.
  #5  
Old 02-12-2013, 05:53 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Alabama
Posts: 14,898
If I happened to share the first AND last name with a murderer, I'd want news organizations to use his full name.
  #6  
Old 02-12-2013, 05:57 PM
Leaffan's Avatar
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 23,475
What's Ted Bundy's middle name? How about Sirhan Sirhan?
  #7  
Old 02-12-2013, 06:12 PM
VernWinterbottom VernWinterbottom is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 930
We don't always. We rarely hear Theodore Robert Bundy. Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer, Charles Milles Manson or Lizzie Andrew Borden.

Probably the more ordinary or common sounding the name, the more the media will latch on to a full name, either to make it more clearly descriptive or perhaps to give more drama to a mundane name.
  #8  
Old 02-12-2013, 06:22 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 27,351
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
What's Ted Bundy's middle name? How about Sirhan Sirhan?
Ted Bundy has a complicated name history due family circumstances. Robert was his middle name but Bundy wasn't his last name at birth so I see why no emphasis was put on his full legal name. I and many others have a hard enough time keeping him straight with Al Bundy from Married With Children fame.

I don't know if the latter is a trick question. I have no idea but my money is on Sirhan for a middle name and I am all in on that. If that isn't the case, it should be.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 02-12-2013 at 06:25 PM.
  #9  
Old 02-12-2013, 06:31 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 27,351
I think the general rule is to make it as clear as possible for the intended audience. If John Smith kills five people, it isn't fair to just report the first and last name. You need to clarify that it was John WILLARD Smith and not your neighbor for example. There aren't many Sirhan Sirhans in the U.S. so that clarification isn't needed.
  #10  
Old 02-12-2013, 07:13 PM
Thudlow Boink's Avatar
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Lincoln, IL
Posts: 25,589
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
I think that is it. No one wants to be confused with a notorious murderer or a serial killer. That extra bit of clarification goes a long way to eliminate any confusion. The chances of any two people having all three names in common is usually hundreds or more times smaller than just having the same first and last name.
I think this is the best general-purpose answer, but in the specific case of John Wilkes Booth, I think he used his full name as a professional actor long before he became notorious as Lincoln's assassin. Wikipedia shows a playbill on which he is billed as "J. Wilkes Booth."
  #11  
Old 02-12-2013, 07:19 PM
RealityChuck's Avatar
RealityChuck RealityChuck is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 41,644
Actually, original news reports originally had RFK's killer as Sirhan B. Sirhan and used Sirhan Bishara Sirhan somewhere in the article. But since the name was so unusual, the middle name and initial were dropped.
__________________
"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.
  #12  
Old 02-12-2013, 07:25 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: 地球
Posts: 28,791
Quote:
Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
If I happened to share the first AND last name with a murderer, I'd want news organizations to use his full name.
My mom worked with a lady whose husband was named Ted Kaczynski.

The exact, and I mean exact, same spelling and pronunciation as the Unabomber. He even went by Ted.

I would imagine he would have liked the news to have repoted him as Ted John Kaczynski(though I don't know my mom's friend's husband's middle name).

It happens.
  #13  
Old 02-12-2013, 07:29 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 14,840
Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
Actually, original news reports originally had RFK's killer as Sirhan B. Sirhan and used Sirhan Bishara Sirhan somewhere in the article. But since the name was so unusual, the middle name and initial were dropped.
Without even googling it (yet), the middle name Bishara popped into my mind too -- even after Lo! these many years since it happened. (How do our brains recall such trivia, amidst all the info-noise, after so many years?)

ETA: Confirmed. Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, from Wikipedia.

More ETA: Not to be confused with Sirhan (no middle name given) Sirhan, no relation, who shot up an Israeli kibbutz.

Last edited by Senegoid; 02-12-2013 at 07:32 PM.
  #14  
Old 02-12-2013, 07:38 PM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Obama Country
Posts: 6,848
Actor Mark Lindsay Chapman was happy that news reports used the full name of John Lennon's assassin Mark David Chapman, but not so happy when he lost a starring role as John Lennon in a T.V. movie because of the creepy name coincidence.

Using a first and middle name only, especially more common ones, runs the risk of a lawsuit from someone with the same name, or even some kind of retaliation by misguided vigilantes.
  #15  
Old 02-12-2013, 07:45 PM
Leaffan's Avatar
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 23,475
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpoilerVirgin View Post
Using a first and middle name only, especially more common ones, runs the risk of a lawsuit from someone with the same name, or even some kind of retaliation by misguided vigilantes.
Law suit? What?
  #16  
Old 02-12-2013, 08:18 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 78,542
"No, I'm Thomas 14X Johnson. It was Thomas 15X Johnson that shot Malcolm."
  #17  
Old 02-12-2013, 10:07 PM
AaronX AaronX is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: 127.0.0.1
Posts: 3,469
The same reason your parents call you by your full name - you've done something wrong?
  #18  
Old 02-13-2013, 11:57 AM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Obama Country
Posts: 6,848
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
Law suit? What?
You don't want to run the risk of someone with the same name claiming that they were injured by a story, particularly if they suffer some type of injury or harm because of a misperception. A lawsuit might not be successful, but it could be a nuisance. See, for example, this story about a (non-murder related) cease-and-desist letter over name confusion.
  #19  
Old 02-13-2013, 02:54 PM
Bob X Bob X is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
Without even googling it (yet), the middle name Bishara popped into my mind too -- even after Lo! these many years since it happened. (How do our brains recall such trivia, amidst all the info-noise, after so many years?)

ETA: Confirmed. Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, from Wikipedia.

More ETA: Not to be confused with Sirhan (no middle name given) Sirhan, no relation, who shot up an Israeli kibbutz.
The Sirhan Sirhan who shot up the kibbutz is from the same family, who have been active in extremist politics for decades.
  #20  
Old 02-13-2013, 02:58 PM
anson2995 anson2995 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 2,738
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahaloth View Post
My mom worked with a lady whose husband was named Ted Kaczynski.

The exact, and I mean exact, same spelling and pronunciation as the Unabomber. He even went by Ted.

I would imagine he would have liked the news to have repoted him as Ted John Kaczynski(though I don't know my mom's friend's husband's middle name).

It happens.
Happened on Seinfeld, when Elaine dated a guy with the same name as a serial killer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UV0oCv4lDmc
  #21  
Old 02-13-2013, 03:11 PM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 49,244
A good friend of mine is named Stephen Hayes, same name as one of the monsters responsible for the Connecticut home invasion and murders. He ain't happy about it.
  #22  
Old 02-13-2013, 03:28 PM
Bones Daley Bones Daley is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 367
There is a well respected , and very eminent, luthier by the name of David Berkowitz, who many years ago I chose to make a joke with on a forum, given that his name was the same as "Son of Sam " ...

His civilised, and considered, reply to my crass posting has remained with me all these years ...I had never stopped to think what a burden his name must have been to him in high school ...
  #23  
Old 02-13-2013, 03:56 PM
FrankJBN FrankJBN is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 592
Could it be simply that this is how the people referred to themselves? That's why only some use middle name. I use my middle initial all the time.

. With true crime aficianados (yes my dirty secret too) it is common to simply refer to gacy, bundy, Ramirez etc.
  #24  
Old 02-13-2013, 04:24 PM
Canadjun Canadjun is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Alberta Canada
Posts: 4,482
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
I think that is it. No one wants to be confused with a notorious murderer or a serial killer. That extra bit of clarification goes a long way to eliminate any confusion. The chances of any two people having all three names in common is usually hundreds or more times smaller than just having the same first and last name.
Holy Sh-t! Some dude with my first, middle, and last name was recently a leader of the LDS church in a particular reasonably well known country, and was considered a "general authority" of the LDS church (whatever that means). Sorry - can't elaborate; I value my semi-anonymity, but I was impressed when I googled myself! I so far haven't been able to find an evil namesake (unless you consider the LDS evil).
  #25  
Old 02-13-2013, 04:46 PM
Capt Kirk Capt Kirk is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Houston TX
Posts: 2,751
I have an acquaintance named Amanda Marie Knox, no not that one. She even resembles her IMHO superficially. Her FB life is really interesting and guys in bars.... Have some interesting er suggestions.

Capt
  #26  
Old 02-13-2013, 07:05 PM
John Mace's Avatar
John Mace John Mace is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 84,846
Although it might make John William Smith feel better when the killer is announced as John Thomas Smith, how many people who know the first Mr. Smith would know his middle name?

How many of your acquaintances know yours? For me, maybe 2 or 3 out of a hundred.

Last edited by John Mace; 02-13-2013 at 07:05 PM.
  #27  
Old 02-13-2013, 07:27 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 27,351
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Although it might make John William Smith feel better when the killer is announced as John Thomas Smith, how many people who know the first Mr. Smith would know his middle name?

How many of your acquaintances know yours? For me, maybe 2 or 3 out of a hundred.
I don't have any experience with this. My name is unique to the world as far as I know and I have looked. However, I would guess that it helps when you are dealing with official matters like a routine traffic stop if you can make a quick distinction between yourself and a notorious criminal. Presumably your friends and acquaintances can figure it out in other ways but other people you deal with might not find it so easy without that extra identity marker.
  #28  
Old 02-13-2013, 07:32 PM
Terra1041 Terra1041 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 191
Not a noted murderer, but I always wondered why Martin Luther King is always referred to with his middle name in there. Is there any other famous Martin King that has to be distinguished from him?

Last edited by Terra1041; 02-13-2013 at 07:32 PM. Reason: I can't type
  #29  
Old 02-13-2013, 08:02 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 27,351
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terra1041 View Post
Not a noted murderer, but I always wondered why Martin Luther King is always referred to with his middle name in there. Is there any other famous Martin King that has to be distinguished from him?
His first and middle name have historical significance and are meant to be used together. Martin Luther was the key figure in the Protestant Reformation during the 1500's. It was important enough to their family to name his father Martin Luther King (Sr.) as well.

Some family traditions especially in the South and among Irish populations use the first and middle name more as a double first name. I doubt Martin Luther King Jr. went by a double first name throughout his early life but the historical parallels with his namesake make it easy to see why people use his full name today.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 02-13-2013 at 08:07 PM.
  #30  
Old 02-13-2013, 09:41 PM
rowrrbazzle's Avatar
rowrrbazzle rowrrbazzle is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Chicago
Posts: 8,638
I once worked with a fellow named James Ray. He said the FBI did show up at his house after MLK was murdered. However, he was only 5 at the time, so they left soon.
  #31  
Old 02-13-2013, 09:51 PM
Happy Lendervedder's Avatar
Happy Lendervedder Happy Lendervedder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Michigan
Posts: 14,283
Quote:
Originally Posted by anson2995 View Post
Happened on Seinfeld, when Elaine dated a guy with the same name as a serial killer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UV0oCv4lDmc
Lightning would've struck twice had he gone with "OJ."
  #32  
Old 02-14-2013, 08:23 PM
denquixote denquixote is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,590
There was another fellow named Jimmy Raye who was a college quarterback just before the King assassination. He played at Michigan State in 1965-1967, best known as the starting QB in the famous "tie one for the Gipper" game against Notre Dame.
  #33  
Old 02-14-2013, 09:18 PM
Nava Nava is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 39,457
Quote:
Originally Posted by yabob View Post
Because the news stories generally first pick up their names from police reports, which use suspect's full names.
And that is also the reason why in Spain they're often given as José Luis Pérez García, alias "el Madriles" (with my apologies to any actual JL PG who happens to be from Madrid): it's how police press releases give it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terra1041 View Post
Not a noted murderer, but I always wondered why Martin Luther King is always referred to with his middle name in there. Is there any other famous Martin King that has to be distinguished from him?
As Shagnasty explained, because "Martin Luther" isn't quite the same as "Martin". In Spanish those would be considered nombres compuestos, multi-word names: others include Francis Xavier (any Xavier baptised with that name is always a Francis), Francis Borja or Francis Borgia (same), Francis Sales (ibid.) and Francis Assissi (the default Francis, being the oldest saint by that name).

Last edited by Nava; 02-14-2013 at 09:22 PM.
  #34  
Old 02-15-2013, 06:38 AM
MsRobyn MsRobyn is offline
Straight Dope Science Advisory Board
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Between the Moon and NYC
Posts: 13,026
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
What's Ted Bundy's middle name? How about Sirhan Sirhan?
Robert and Bishara. No, I didn't look.
  #35  
Old 02-15-2013, 06:52 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 33,882
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadjun View Post
I so far haven't been able to find an evil namesake (unless you consider the LDS evil).
Nitpick: A "namesake" is someone who has been named specifically for the purpose of honoring or memorializing you. It's not just anyone who coincidentally has the same name.
  #36  
Old 02-15-2013, 06:55 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 33,882
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpoilerVirgin View Post
See, for example, this story about a (non-murder related) cease-and-desist letter over name confusion.
That's not a very good example, because I don't see how there could possibly be a legitimate claim of any kind in that case. Using your name as your name doesn't give you exclusive rights in that name qua name absent any intent to defraud or mislead, no matter how famous you are.
  #37  
Old 02-15-2013, 07:58 AM
pseudotriton ruber ruber pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Outer Control
Posts: 10,394
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronX View Post
The same reason your parents call you by your full name - you've done something wrong?
"Who ruined the President's skull? Tell me now--Lee Harvey Oswald, was it you? Don't lie, now. I know it was you."
  #38  
Old 02-15-2013, 09:57 AM
JerrySTL JerrySTL is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,198
Speaking of John Wayne Gacy, Chuck Shepherd, who writes the syndicated News of the Weird column, has compiled a list of people charged with murder having the middle name of Wayne. There's a ton of them. Something with the Wayne middle name itself? Coincidence? Just the fact that news media includes that middle name for some reason?

http://www.newsoftheweird.com/wayne.html
  #39  
Old 02-15-2013, 11:05 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 78,542
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
His first and middle name have historical significance and are meant to be used together. Martin Luther was the key figure in the Protestant Reformation during the 1500's. It was important enough to their family to name his father Martin Luther King (Sr.) as well.
There was some confusion over the naming. Martin Luther King Senior was named after the Protestant leader. But he was commonly known by his nickname Michael or Mike. King Senior decided to name his son after himself. The doctor, who knew the family, mistakenly thought his friend's name was actually Michael and recorded the child's name as Michael Luther King, Junior. So there was a father whose legal name was Martin but who was called Michael and a son whose legal name was Michael but who was called Martin.
  #40  
Old 02-15-2013, 11:16 AM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: 地球
Posts: 28,791
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
There was some confusion over the naming. Martin Luther King Senior was named after the Protestant leader. But he was commonly known by his nickname Michael or Mike. King Senior decided to name his son after himself. The doctor, who knew the family, mistakenly thought his friend's name was actually Michael and recorded the child's name as Michael Luther King, Junior. So there was a father whose legal name was Martin but who was called Michael and a son whose legal name was Michael but who was called Martin.
I did not know that. Cool.
  #41  
Old 02-15-2013, 11:34 AM
Gymnopithys Gymnopithys is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,204
Anders Behring Breivik
  #42  
Old 02-15-2013, 01:18 PM
pseudotriton ruber ruber pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Outer Control
Posts: 10,394
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gymnopithys View Post
Anders Behring Breivik
Yeah, he seems likely to mix up with all the innocent Anders Breiviks.
  #43  
Old 02-15-2013, 03:26 PM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Over on the left
Posts: 13,186
Quote:
Originally Posted by CheeseDonkey View Post
And why do we very rarely refer to victims by their full names? It's John Lennon, not John Winston Lennon, for example.
Actually, of the five examples in the OP, two of them shot men who were already known by their full names in life: John Fitzgerald Kennedy (or John F. Kennedy, or JFK, but never John Kennedy) and Martin Luther King.
  #44  
Old 02-15-2013, 05:47 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Here
Posts: 13,397
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsRobyn View Post
Robert and Bishara. No, I didn't look.
Neat. But a little strange. That's why you advise science, I guess.
  #45  
Old 02-17-2013, 09:50 AM
42fish 42fish is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 3,568
Quote:
Originally Posted by CheeseDonkey View Post
And why do we very rarely refer to victims by their full names? It's John Lennon, not John Winston Lennon, for example.
In the pointless nitpicks department, John Lennon changed his middle name from Winston to Ono.
  #46  
Old 02-17-2013, 10:53 AM
Half Man Half Wit's Avatar
Half Man Half Wit Half Man Half Wit is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 6,405
Isn't it that serial killers always get two names, while lone gunmen get three? At least that's how the movie Conspiracy Theory explained it to me:
Quote:
Jerry: David Berkowitz, Ted Bundy, Richard Speck...
Alice: What about them?
Jerry: Serial killers. Serial killers only have two names. You ever notice that? But lone gunmen assassins, they always have three names. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mark David Chapman...

Last edited by Half Man Half Wit; 02-17-2013 at 10:53 AM.
  #47  
Old 02-17-2013, 11:17 AM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 8,791
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
I think that is it. No one wants to be confused with a notorious murderer or a serial killer. That extra bit of clarification goes a long way to eliminate any confusion. The chances of any two people having all three names in common is usually hundreds or more times smaller than just having the same first and last name.
Actually, four of my paternal-line ancestors have had the same first, middle, and last names, and one had a minor to middling criminal record (less than murder but more than jaywalking) and the chance is not zero that I will end up having a son who gets that full name. It's quite possible the combination goes back even further, but we can't find any records before 1820 other than poorly sourced legends.

As others have mentioned, there are some famous murderers who are commonly referred to by just their first and last names, including Ted Kaczynski, Ted Bundy, and Jeffrey Dahmer. Another is Charles Guiteau.

It looks like Lizzie Borden was actually acquitted of all murder charges, so one can argue whether or not she can really be called a murderer, as she is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.

Also, sometimes we use middle names or middle initials to differentiate people with the same first and last names when referring to them and a standard form has arisen by convention. Examples include George Bush vs. George W. Bush and John Adams vs. John Quincy Adams.

Also, several noted non-murderers are typically referred to with their middle name, including Martin Luther King, Jr. and George Washington Carver, though in both of those cases they were named after other famous people (Martin Luther and George Washington, natch) and there might have been interest in emphasizing the namesakes.
  #48  
Old 02-17-2013, 11:34 AM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 8,791
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
...King Senior decided to name his son after himself. The doctor, who knew the family, mistakenly thought his friend's name was actually Michael and recorded the child's name as Michael Luther King, Junior. So there was a father whose legal name was Martin but who was called Michael and a son whose legal name was Michael but who was called Martin.
That's interesting, but I'm not sure I agree with his "legal name" being Michael as the US has traditionally used the English Common Law with respect to personal names, which says that the name a person uses and is known by is their legal name, regardless of what name is actually on their birth certificate, passport, marriage license, etc. Yes, if you try to claim to have undergone a "Common Law Name Change" today after having gone by the name on your documents for most of your life, you can expect to face a lot of skeptical DMV clerks, suspicious banking officials, and others who think that a legal name change must be done via a court or, for women, by marriage (but only to take their husband's last name, not to go from Miss Ann Smith to Mrs. Elizabeth Jane Smith Jones), but it protects people who discover at age 60 that their birth certificate, which they never actually saw until then because they didn't need it, has a different name than the one that they have used since age 3 and is on all of their other paperwork.
  #49  
Old 02-17-2013, 11:38 AM
njtt njtt is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: U.K.
Posts: 12,068
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
That's not a very good example, because I don't see how there could possibly be a legitimate claim of any kind in that case. Using your name as your name doesn't give you exclusive rights in that name qua name absent any intent to defraud or mislead, no matter how famous you are.
Maybe there was no case in law there. I don't know. But it is a good example of a moral case. I came across an article by this guy a while back (on Slate.com, I think) and I was misled and confused by it for a while. I eventually figured it out, but I dare say there may have been others who didn't. The article was about The Rolling Stones, focusing on the relationship between Jagger and Richard, and was under the byline Bill Wyman. It turns out the guy is a rock journalist and really is named William Wyman; well, fair enough, but if you are not intending to deceive and to trade, as a rock journalist, on sharing a famous name, and particularly if you are going to write about The Stones, the only honest thing to do is to make it very clear upfront that you are not THE Bill Wyman. For fuck's sake, even if you have always habitually gone by Bill, sign your articles as William Wyman or something, or at the very least have a note on the byline or at the beginning of the article explaining. Otherwise you are trading illegitimately on the famous person's name.
  #50  
Old 02-17-2013, 11:43 AM
njtt njtt is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: U.K.
Posts: 12,068
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
That's not a very good example, because I don't see how there could possibly be a legitimate claim of any kind in that case. Using your name as your name doesn't give you exclusive rights in that name qua name absent any intent to defraud or mislead, no matter how famous you are.
Maybe there was no case in law there. I don't know. But it is a good example of a moral case. I came across an article by this guy a while back (on Slate.com, I think) and I was misled and confused by it for a while. I eventually figured it out, but I dare say there may have been others who didn't. The article was about The Rolling Stones, focusing on the relationship between Jagger and Richard, and was under the byline Bill Wyman. It turns out the guy is a rock journalist and really is named William Wyman; well, fair enough, but if you are not intending to deceive and to trade, as a rock journalist, on sharing a famous name, and particularly if you are going to write about The Stones, the only honest thing to do is to make it very clear upfront that you are not THE Bill Wyman. For fuck's sake, even if you have always habitually gone by Bill, sign your articles as William Wyman or something, or at the very least have a note on the byline or at the beginning of the article explaining. Otherwise you are trading illegitimately on the famous person's name.

The article linked to by SpoilerVirgin is a completely one-sided, misleading account of the situation, omitting crucial facts, typical of John Stossel, indeed.

Last edited by njtt; 02-17-2013 at 11:48 AM.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:48 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017