Jun 11, 2006
This is surprising because the Artemus Ward I know is long dead. It was the pen name of Charles Farrar Brown, the 18th century counterpart of Jeff Foxworthy, a comedian whose early success encouraged friend, contemporary and fellow pseudonymite Mark Twain. Since Artemus is not a common name and the chances of an oblivious Mr. Ward coincidentally naming his newborn ‘Artemus’ are well nigh astronomical, we have to confront the disturbing reality that the christening of this future author and professor was entirely and wantonly intentional.
Let’s be clear, this is not a victimless crime. Consider the consequences. He was almost certainly beat up frequently as a child merely as a result of the strangeness, adding insult to injury, his career is now imperiled by the ambiguity between himself and the other Artemus, rendering him virtually ungoogleable in an age where name recognition can have lasting and compounding effects for an author’s career. Worst of all, instead of getting what appears to be an excellent book reviewed, he instead has to put up with bloggers disregard it entirely as they fixate on his unusual name.
If I ever have a daughter her name almost certainly will not be be Charlotte Perkins.
UPDATE: Just spotted on Coudal Partners: William Faulkner, the real estate agent. Alice Walker, the psychic. Philip Roth, the organizational behaviorist. Steven King, the congressman. Robert Stone, the car dealer.
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