What's your epithet?
An epithet is a term used to characterize a person or a thing — a meaningful nickname if you will — and I’ve been obsessed with them (through my obsession with self-definition) for a long time. Examples abound, from the simple Dougie Houser, MD, to Warrren Buffet, the sage of Omaha:
- Claude Piron WP, famous Esperantist and psychotherapist, calls himself “plifelicxigisto” (literally, more-happy-maker), because most of the people that come to him don’t do it because of a particular ailment but because they want to enjoy life more.
- Piron also famously described Esperanto as “la bona lingvo” (“the good language”).
- Margaret Thatcher is “the Iron Lady”.
- Guadalajara WP prouds itself as “The Pearl of The West.”
- Among the X-Men, mutant Forge WP, whose special power is technological brilliance (that is, a superhuman ability to understand, conceive, and build machines), is often referred as “Maker” (and that has got to be the coolest, most heretical epithet ever).
- William Gibson^WP^ is invariably introduced as “the coiner of the term ‘cyberspace’”.
- William Shakespeare is “the Bard ((of Avon)”.
- Steven Johnson describes himself numerically as “a father of three boys, husband of one wife, and author of five books.”
- Lord Voldemort WP is best known as “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”.
- Benito Juarez WP is the “Benemérito de las Américas” (“the meritious one of the Americas”).
- Juan Gabriel WP is fittingly called “El divo de México” (“Mexico’s male diva”).
- In role-playing games epithets according to your level and race are common; I remember Erasmo, who usually used Yang, an assassin, as his main character, really fancied his early-level epithet: “Yang, the man.”
- Adolfo calls himself (amusingly) an “infoplebeian.”
- Carl Friedrich Gauss WP is “the prince of mathematicians.”
- Madonna WP has long been known as “the material girl.”
- Shiva is usually “the destroyer”, but he is given thousands of names WP in Hindu scriptures.
- Satan is “the prince of darkness”, or, in Michael Bakunin’s famous description in God and the State, “the eternal rebel, the first freethinker, the emancipator of worlds.”
- Jaime Sabines wondered, upon being called “a great poet”, if he could even be considered, simply, but truly, “a poet” — only to conclude he’s actually just “a pedestrian.”
I could go on forever.
But on a more pedestrian note (or not) what epithets do you fancy for yourself?
Without any pretense of deserving any of them, I personally like webcraftsman, formist ELZR, and whimsicist ELZR (which I stole shamelessly from someone I can’t remember now!). Other favorites, preceded with the same warning as before, include singularitarian, amateur, (techno-)libertarian, anarchocapitalsit, dynamist, reader, freethinker, and designer — this last one with or without any qualification, but I’m particularly fond of interface designer and analytic designer. Symbolist would also be a nice (undeserved) compliment and so would hacker. As of this moment, perhaps my favorite epithet of all is conceptual designer — a huge post on the subject upcoming.
For my webfront and brand-to-be, , I came up with the sloganesque epithet of “avantgarde webcraft” and I quite like it.
But really, I’m all ears, what labels look good on you? (And you don’t have to write them here, just think about it, between you and you.)