Parody Only As Directed: The Wonderful World of Internet Name Generators
As I’m sure many of you can relate to, it’s pretty difficult at times to come up with good ideas for blog posts. Sometimes I’ll wonder, “What is there to write about, other than myself, Facebook, or John Travolta being weird with the hotel massage guys?” Personally, I don’t want to always put up real-life anecdotes, trying to pepper them enough one-liners to qualify for the WordPress humor section. Logically speaking, there should be something in this world to make fun of other than myself.
Then a bright idea occurred to me at work last week. A new little girl enrolled at the English academy where I teach and, as is the procedure when a new kid enrolls, I had to sit her down at the computer and use the “English Name Generator” to create her new multi-cultural identity. This is always uncomfortable, as the English Name Generator sucks and the kid typically hates the name it comes up with. I asked the girl for her Korean name, typed it into the generator, and in the blink of an eye she became (drum roll) Kathleen Norton!
That’s not a terrible name, but it’s odd having to tell 8-year-old Hye Suk Kim, “Ok, from now on, you’re Kathleen Norton.” A lot of the time the kid requests another go at it, only to get saddled with ‘Annie Summers’ or ‘Sally Hampton.’ By the same token, I typed my own name into the “Korean Name Generator” and it spat back ‘Lim Woo Wan,’ which makes me sound like a clown or some sort of Korean Elmer Fudd.
So this all got me thinking that I could write a fun blog and make up other ridiculous name generators for the Internet, each one as inept as the English Name Generator. Problem is, which I found out after writing my initial draft, all of the ‘ridiculous’ sites I came up with really exist, and their asininery is probably more incompetent than anything I could come up with on my own (for the record, I used the word ‘asininery,’ which did not previously exist). Here’s a look at a few:
Parody: My Dog Name Generator would be the perfect tool for giving your new puppy a name that fits him even better than that hideous doggie sweater you force him to wear. Just punch in his breed, and the Dog Name Generator will give you a brilliantly clever alteration of the breed name. Cocker Spaniard? Your new friend is ‘C-Span.’ Dandie Dinmont Terrier? You now own ‘DDT.’ Got a Chow Chow? Well, why not just call it ‘Chow Chow’? That’s a fun name. Your dog’s a mix breed? Simply put the two together. ‘DDT Chow Chow,’ for instance.
Reality: The first name the real-life Dog Name Generator gave me was ‘Daytona.’ If you go with that, I think that you have to take at least one picture of the dog wearing sunglasses. Other notable names: Squirt, Geisha, Voltaire, Gyro, and my personal favorite, Loverboy.
Parody: My Blog Name Generator would only hand out names that were puns on the word ‘blog.’ I’m In the Bloghouse. The Yule Blog. Blogging Molly. Bernie’s Synablog. Where My Blogs At? Everybody’s Blogging for the Weekend. I would be so proud to suggest a name like ‘A Bloggy Day in Londontown’ and then see it flourish with eleven hits and one follower.
Reality: The real ‘Weblog Name Generator’ serves up the most boring suggestions ever. Examples: The Truth Blog, Father’s Notes, Photography News, Geeky Dreams, and, surely the dullest of them all, Baby Visions. Unless that last one turns out to be a blog about breasts.
Parody: Our Dating Name Generator can give you that romantic advantage you’ve been looking for. First, we use an abstract or vague word to instill a sense of mystery. Secondly, we combine that with a low number, which we hope people will assume is your age. Here are some examples: Advantage21, Finally23, Beautiful25and1/2, Somewhatlike27, Fairly28, Was29. Or you can just go with Loverboy.
Reality: There is no real Dating Website Profile Name Generator, but there are tons of sites with examples to use as inspiration. Here are some I pulled off StudiesofLove.com: JoyfulEmily, BikeWriter, BobScribbles, RosyDesigner, and, believe it or not, FishyIQ. Really? FishyIQ? I think I’d rather message Was29. Or DDT Chow Chow.
Parody: The secret to my Band Name Generator is that it only suggests ‘80s band names that have already been used, with the hope that the person using the generator won’t pick up on that, and will unknowingly start a new band with the same name. Spandau Ballet. Thompson Twins. Haircut 100. Loverboy (not to be confused with my dog or OkCupid profile name). Don Johnson. Imagine the lighthearted giggles when your friend’s new metal band takes the stage and proclaims, “What’s up Detroit?!? We’re Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam!”
Reality: The actual Band Name Generator floored me with how creative and bizarre it is. The initial suggestion of “Radioactive Retard” set the right tone for what was to follow. The next off-the-wall offering was “Sneaky Cucumber and the Nympho.” Other notable names: The Euphoric Twelve, The Center, Genetically Arizona and the Smack, Puberty Oyster, and Intestinal Jackson.
There you have it. Sometimes when you think you’re being silly and ridiculous, you aren’t that far away from what people are apparently taking seriously. Reality can be a real buzz kill, especially when it’s funnier than you.