What’s in a name?

I still like Seleucus. He was my favorite of the Macedonian aristocrats I wrote about for my undergraduate thesis and I have recently been drawn to other men, he is still my favorite among the successors. In my estimation, Antigonus was overbearing, Antipater dry, Lysimachus a dandy, and Ptolemy a snake. Seleucus had flair, charisma, ambition, prudence, and talent. These are all caricatures created by my youthful imagination, to be sure, but there are still things about Seleucus that intrigue me beyond the others and that help sustain an interest in issues of rumor and reputation in the ancient world.

So, fresh off my undergraduate thesis, freshly detached from school and with ambitions but no immediate plans to attend graduate school I decided to purchase my own webspace for my blog. I wish I could say that I have a flair for names, but I don’t. It is much more common that I make allusions or direct references, and so I named the webspace after this individual I found interesting. If I could go back and rename it, my allusion would probably be significantly more esoteric, but the same fundamental principle would apply.

While I sometimes idly wonder what people think about the url, I usually decide that picking a name that would better suit me or what I do here would be actual work and it is easier to just fall back on the truth that a younger me chose the domain name and that is that.

As to the actual blog title, it is another allusion, this time to Superman, a hero I’m mostly indifferent to. I just like the imagery it invokes. And I picked the subtitle because I needed my own way of identifying what I saw myself doing here. I liked the idea of Whatever, but John Scalzi has that market pretty well cornered and it suits him better than it does me. Even the title of this post is, as John Hodgman would say, a Cult-Ref.

This blog is one of several spots where I can write about issues on my mind, either because I have a point I’ve been agitating about or because I have an issue or idea I want to share. Even if it means a dent in audience, I explicitly wanted to avoid a meticulous theme for the blog. I have things to talk about that touch on a variety of issues and I am already struggling to be monomaniacal in my studies, so the thought of trying to do the same thing here is revolting. The result is that this space becomes a catch-all that touches on public issues, whether sports, history, academia, literature, politics, foreign issues, stuff that happens online, etc. Unlike the stereotypical Livejournal, the personal updates are few and far between because I don’t necessarily want to think about that any more than I already am and because it is none of anyone’s business. Besides, I’m pretty boring. I read, I write, I sleep a little bit, and I teach–I will have some reflections on that last activity in the near future, but I am hesitant to write about it in semester, not because I would say anything inappropriate but because it remains somewhat treacherous ground to tread and I would rather deal with it in a broader sense than feel like I am reacting to immediate things. Besides, twitter is better for quips.

And this bring me back around. What’s in a name? In the case of this blog, very little. Or, rather, a little bit of this and a little bit of that that, for whatever reasons, spoke to me at one point of another. It is something that I can be self-conscious about at times, but I am also inclined to leave it precisely because everything on line seems so malleable, not just because change takes work. Take Twitter: you can change your profile, your display name, and even your handle itself. I’m happy with my Twitter persona right now–me, fairly unadorned, except that my picture remains that of a Portuguese MP giving the horns to another MP because that picture continues to amuse me years on–but I could change it. Easily. Quickly. And completely for most viewers.

Enough of the navel gazing, the name is what it is and tells some story, even if it isn’t that important.

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