وزارد او دا وستساد
VIZITOR TO THE VESTSIDE
an
American blog of Iranian dissent

Yesma'am

There's this commercial out now for Comcast cable featuring the diminutive Amir Talai on a couch mixing it up with bulky basketballer Shaquille O'neal. In the advert Amir is named "John." But he looks nothing like a "John."

The copywriters of the spot know exactly what demographic they're going for. So the ad agency behind that Comcast spot wouldn't want Amir to be identified as an ethnic dude unless ethnic dudes were who they're targeting. But this bucks the trend. This year I've noticed a lot more commercials featuring Asian and Hispanic and Black families. In a Barack Hussein Obama era we've got the flavor in our flavor.

And hey, at least Amir goes by his real name. Even his baba is getting in on the action - Amir's Twitter page mentioned earlier that his father has reverted to his Irooni name in public. Not too long ago aspirants like him and Nasim Pedrad would feel like they have to change their name to go through the pearly gates of showbiz. I got a certain buzz when an Associated Press article reporting on SNL cast additions added "pronounced (NAH'-seem PEH'-drad)" in their bulletin.

My birth name came from the notebooks of my mother's uncle. Last week this amoo passed away.  He was a bit of a nutjob. A personable man who had no idea what he was doing in the States for 30 years. He wasn't formally educated and presented himself as some mystic poet - yet wouldn't be caught dead in anything but a Mercedes-Benz even though he never really had an occupation. He ended up naming me, my sibling, and anyone else whose parents were naive enough to listen.

I was left with no middle name, either. Just stranded with this multisyllabic mouthful that wasn't even properly spelled in accordance to how it's supposed to be pronounced. In eight grade, my mother told me to go with "James" when I apply for my first job that summer, at a local health food store. That manager turned out to be a xenophobic tool, but I did steal a few bags of carob chips.

Facebook is really stringent about people using their real names, and in full. So middle names abound. It's kinda annoying seeing "Negar Nicole" and "Keyvan Kevin" and "Fereydou Fred", but maybe I'm just jealous.

1 comment:

ferferak said...

I don't know how to say this, but I'm sorry about your great uncle and cracked up over the last bit about him. I see a little bit of him in my dad.

Lord, my brother wanted to go by Vinnie or Vince after getting flack since Sep 11. Not only does no one buy it, no one has respect for someone who doesn't respect themselves or culture.