The Wizard Of ID

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Memo to the former Marvin Richardson: YOU ARE NOT DUMB.

Well, OK. You are. Dumb as the day is long. But I am not here to bury you in profane verbage. I am here to praise and support you. I know. It felt even weirder when I typed it than it does when you read it, but it's true. The former Marvin Richardson is a brave, stupid, dedicated, crazy, bold man. Did I mention brave? And stupid?

You see, the former Marvin Richardson is an admittedly perennial candidate for various and sundry federal and state offices in his native Idaho. Right now, he's running for governor. In 2008, he plans to run for the Senate, because even he knows he's not going to be the governor. But the former Marvin Richardson is committed to his cause. So committed that, as you've guessed by my brutal abuse of the word "former" so far, that he has changed his name so that voters can see what he believes in right there on the ballot. I present to you 2008's candidate for the US Senate, Pro-Life.

That's some fucking dedication, right there. For the governor's race, he's still Marvin Richardson, because when he filed, his name had been legally changed to Marvin Pro-Life Richardson, but Idaho election officials decided that was cheating. SO he's since legally dropped both the Marvin and the Richardson.

This is, of course, fucking insane. A fact which Pro-Life himself recognizes, to an extent. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"It seems like only a nut would do something like that, but I'm not a nutty kind of person at all."

Well, actually, you are. Especially when you consider you changed your son's name to Grant Pro-Life Richardson. The courthouse must have been having a two for one deal. But that's OK. Because while I'd never make a change like that, I believe that you have the right to do what you want with your own name.

Oh, sure, there are a bunch of people out there who think a name is a special, sacred thing. A gift, if you will, from a higher authority. They say abandoning that parent-given name is an affront and a sin. And it IS a known fact that changing your name requires the direct intervention of an activist judge.

But this isn't about your name. It's about you, Pro-Life. Your control over your own nomenclature. Your choice over what appears at the top of your checks. "Marvin Richardson" isn't a person. It's a tiny bundle of syllables. Scientists agree that in most cases, the human name rarely exceeds sixteen-point, and the vast majority come in at around twelve. And the nomdamentalists would ask you to sacrifice your political career for the sake of something that fits on a tiny fraction of a business card? That's ridiculous.

They say they want Martin Richardson to go on, but do you see them lining up around the block to take it as a pseudonym? They don't. I'm sure they're outside your front door right now, marching up and down the streets with giant pictures of shredded drivers' licenses. But don't give in. It's your decision to make, and I trust you to make the right one.

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