The Riff - December 2007

What's in a (Maiden) Name? Me, That's What

| Mon Dec. 3, 2007 4:47 PM EST

Women taking their husband's names always baffled me. I've known since I was a teenager that I wasn't going to. Aside from genealogic traceability and simplified familial paperwork, why on earth would I agree to be absorbed into some man I hadn't even met yet? And who might turn out to be a huge mistake? I've lost track of all my female friends and relatives now carting around the last names of men they've been divorced from for more than twenty years. But it isn't the possibility of divorce that makes me object to women taking men's names; its just the plain unvarnished, sexist truth of what it means. As one of my aunts famously said in leaving her husband after a long, troubled marriage, "I understand all about man and wife becoming one, but how come we always have to be you?" Symbols matter and that was one I simply couldn't stomach just as I could never stomach changing my citizenship. Don't ask me why those seem equivalent but they do to me. Even worse, to me, are hyphenated names. What a cop out; change your name or don't, girlfriend. Lordy, those godawful amalgamated, frankenstein names.

What I was up for was picking a new name we'd both take or flipping a coin to choose one of our surnames. Too bad I never thought of hiring a consultant or underwriting an internet survey to basically focus-group the new couple's potential new name. Ah, if only we'd had the internet. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who agonized over the whole whose-last-name thing.

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Imus Goes Back To Work

| Mon Dec. 3, 2007 4:24 PM EST

Imus is back on the air and that's just fine with me.

I never listened to him, or any other shock jock, before and I won't now. No, not even to make sure he doesn't go off again, notwithstanding how much some black leaders want me to (Rev. Sharpton's press conference on the subject will be announced soon. Stay tuned). Life is too short to spend hoping we'll have another band wagon to jump on and chase down another powerful white man. I could have lived a long time without Imus's 'nappy headed ho' psychic assault and I hope to go another lifetime before I ever do again. Call me weak, but I won't be surfing the air waves looking for more insults. In my experience, they have a way of finding you without any extra help. Let's hope his new show is nice and uneventful.

Besides, whatever else you have to say of Imus, he has been more contrite than just about any one else in public life who's been caught redhanded saying something so unregenerately hateful. I actually admire him a little after reading about his first day back at work:

Party Ben's European Tour Update #3: France

| Mon Dec. 3, 2007 9:17 AM EST

mojo-photo-paris1.jpgIncludes: Illness! Drama! Crowd surfing! And the possible emergence of a hilarious new dance trend! Greetings from Paris where I've just wrapped up my "Gettin' Euros" DJ tour with dates in Bordeaux, Toulouse, Paris and Lille. France has been, appropriately, like a beautiful but insane lover, pushing you away to pout one moment, only to turn around and embrace you the next. A hapless American can only sit back and enjoy the ride, I suppose.