On Titles

I spent a long time trying to title this blog. Everything gets packed into that URL: are you funny, smart, pretentious, ambitious or ironic? It sets the expectation for what will follow.  I went through iterations of my name and several overly ambitious and uninspired things like “The Roving Observer” and “Mundane America.”  I finally settled on pink flamingo.  Who thinks about the world from a plastic pink flamingo’s perspective?  They’re plastic, after all, and they have those blank black eyes that pretend not to see.  But their view from the garden is what interests me.  Looking at life from the manufactured presence on the manufactured lawn — what’s supposed to be nature.  Jenny Price, a fabulous nature writer, writes brilliantly about the “Natural History of the Plastic Pink Flamingo” in her book Flight Maps.  And perhaps not coincidentally, flamingos have started popping up everywhere in my life, from an Alice in Wonderland themed party to that sonnet I wrote to the flamingo that lived outside my window at Synergy.  That’s what’s in a name.  Expectation and lack of expectation.  Everyday observations about everyday life.  For what is the plastic pink flamingo, but a silent observer of life on the lawn.

Another thought on naming…

Just think about how rich the field is for the torture bill the US government just enacted. The media ought to be calling it the torture bill, because that’s essentially what it is: legalizing torture so that George Bush can sleep at night knowing that our country has stooped to the ranks of our enemies and allowed barbaric practices to rule our diplomacy. No wonder the world hates us. We’ve just told them we’re going to torture their citizens if they end up held as detainees in the war on terror. Is it any wonder that other countries want to torture Americans? And how different would the public reaction be if the bill were labeled the Torture Bill, instead of the Detainee Bill?


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