January 7, 2006

Of Course, He Was Played By A Guy Named Keanu


2.3 hours. That's about how long most people were willing to put up with Neo's identity crisis. As soon as they figured out the second Matrix sucked, they lost patience. Not that growing up behind the Iron Curtain made being named Neo any easier. Here's what white-hot painter Neo Rauch faced growing up with a name his parents made up:

Rauch's own history is the stuff of legend. Start with the name, which, he complains, "was a torture for me in my first 20 years." Every time he said it, he had to explain it. "The most terrible thing about it is most people think it is a pseudonym that I created to make myself more interesting," he says. "And this name seems like innovating, and I consider myself to be a very conservative person." Worst of all, he has no idea why his mother and father gave him the name, because he never had the chance to ask them.

When Neo was 6 weeks old, his parents were killed in a train crash just outside the Leipzig station.

The moral of this story: if you're gonna saddle the kid with a name that requires a lifetime of grief-inducing explanations, do him a favor and write down what you were thinking.

The New Leipzig School

1 Comment

There's some interesting stuff at the end of "Freakonomics" by Steven Levitt about made-up names, and how they influence the lives and careers of their bearers. So think carefully, DT's, before naming your chld after the entire lineup of your football team, your circular saw, or your favourite stripper...

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