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Journal lucabrasi999's Journal: A person's formal name

I am not one to make fun of another person's name. I won't tell you what my real name is, but you should understand that both my 'middle' and my 'last' names are rather unique and I have had a lifetime of teasing as a result of it. When I was a pre-teenager, I was really bothered by the teasing.

Once I reached adulthood, I began to understand the history of my unique names. I am proud of that history and I wouldn't have it any other way. (Later on in life, my then-fiancee' (now my wife) used to tell me that she didn't want to take my name after we were married. She wanted us to legally change our last name to "Carrington". As in Carrington from the television show Dynasty.)

However, I am really surprised by how different cultures react to names. In Western culture, you really won't find too many people named "Adolph" (as in Hitler) or "Judas" (the person in the Bible's New Testament that was a traitor to Jesus). Those are but two examples.

There is a person on my new contract (I don't work directly with this person), who by appearances and by their last name, must be of either Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Indian descent. The first name listed on the sign next to his cube is "Stalin".

I realize that names are cultural. But, isn't Stalin a slightly odd name to call someone? After all, Josef Stalin killed millions of people across Europe and Asia. And, it's not like the world didn't have mass media when he did his killing. A Google search on Josef Stalin returns over a million results. I've been here for months, but it still sort of sounds odd when someone says "Hey, thanks for all that help, Stalin".

What is it about the culture of this man where it is acceptable to be known as "Stalin"? Is it short for something? Are there other cultures that have this same issue? What names are not considered proper in Africa? In Central Asia? South America? Asia?

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A person's formal name

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