Tuesday, April 18, 2017
If you consider Boats Botes' journey through the 2017 Name of the Year field, you'll find it to be a perfect inverse to the tale of the Titanic. In one story, a vessel thought to be unsinkable hits an iceberg and collapses to the bottom of the sea. In the other, a Boat that seemed, at least in our eyes, utterly sinkable dodges one onomastic hazard after another, sometimes with shocking ease, en route to a triumphant success.
Decades from now, how will future generations spin the yarn of the South African chief of security at mining company Gold One? Will they speak with admiration of the man who squeezed Eliza Fox Teats, shot down Bird Lovegod, removed the teeth of Aphrodite Bodycomb, ended Quindarious Monday, drank up Andy Grande Casagrande IV, and dethroned YourMajesty Lumpkins? Will they lament the detritus Mr. Botes left behind in his wake, bemoaning that he took the NOTY crown from one of his opponents? Or will they just make How I Met Your Mother references?
What we at least hope will not be part of the discussion is the validity of Mr. Botes name. In recent days, some of our beloved fans have sought to invalidate the "Boats" handle as a nickname. For evidence, they point to a Facebook page, apparently belonging to Mr. Boats, which implies that his actual first name could be Peet.
When we assemble our field, however, we pay no attention to Facebook. Social media is easily faked, and so in our minds, it can neither prove nor disprove the validity of a name. Meanwhile, Boats Botes is named as such in news articles and is known professionally by his repetitive moniker. We have reached out to Mr. Botes for clarity, and if he responds to us, there's a chance we will have to offer a "Moonlight, you guys won Best Picture"-level retraction. For now, though, Boats Botes stands as the 2017 Name of the Year. To the protestors, we can only promise that we at the High Committee are not enjoying this reality any more than they are.
If nothing else, the fantastic voyage of Boats Botes cements his home nation as perhaps the single greatest hotbed of NOTY talent. He is the third winner to come from South Africa, joining Courage Tshabalala (1997) and Tokyo Sexwale (2001). How many more potential champions are hidden in the townships of Jo'burg, the gold mines of the Witwatersrand, and the grasslands of the Veldt? We hope you will help us answer that question by continuing to submit your favorite names to email@example.com. With your assistance, we can return in 2018 with another stellar field. Until then, we shall be like Boats Botes passing in the night. Until next time, so long, and make sure to stay up to date by following us on Twitter.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Name of the Year 2017 is at its apex, and for those of us who make up the NOTY High Committee, it is certainly not the final we expected. In one corner, we have YourMajesty Lumpkins: Bulltron Regional six-seed, Chicago man, and a contender whose name has been spelled Yamajesty in some news sources.
In the other corner floats Botes Boats: Chrotchtangle Regional 14-seed, South African mining security man, and subject of much controversy, in part because some of our beloved fans believe his actual first name is Peet. We value the opinions of those who would hope to rock the Boat, and we are investing the aforementioned situation; that said, we feel confident in our decision to legitimize Mr. Boats' name, and we will continue with our voting as planned.
We will allow both remaining competitors to carry on despite any potential discrepancies related to their names, but we will not celebrate them as our ideal finalists. Just as The People are welcome to express their voices in our open and free elections, we are welcome to lobby against the choices you have made. Did Botes Boats really deserve to cruise past Eliza Fox Teats, Bird Lovegod, Aphrodite Bodycomb, Quindarious Monday, and Andy Brandy Casagrande IV? Was YourMajesty Lumpkins the right pick over Tutz Honeychurch, Guy Hands, H. King Buttermore III, Kobe Buffalmeat, and Marmaduke Trebilcock? In many of those cases, much of the High Committee would agree the answer is no.
Alas, this is a democracy, and as we found out last November, democratic elections sometimes produce...unusual results. At this point, there's only one festivity left commence. Vote below, and let's crown a People's Choice in the 2017 Name of the Year ballot. Whether you will choose a regal name or a waterborne one, make your decision known at this time:
Monday, April 10, 2017
Out of a field of 64, only four names remain. From the Bulltron, six-seed YourMajesty Lumpkins reigned supreme. Down in the Sithole, Marmaduke Trebilcock survived as the last remaining one-seed. In the Dragonwagon, Andy Brandy Casagrande IV is sipping on a victory glass of Courvoisier. Finally, in the Chrotchtangle, Boats Botes successfully broadsided all of his opponents.
Over the past few weeks, voters have had ample opportunities to analyze these names, break them down, and parse them every which way. Now that we're in the Final Four, let's not overthink it. The two current matchups are available below, with a haiku to accompany each name. Vote. Stump. Follow. We'll see you later this week for the final.
Bulltron Regional six-seed YourMajesty Lumpkins
Name fit for a king
No matter how you spell it
Bend the knee and vow
Sithole Regional one-seed Marmaduke Trebilcock
He came from Cornwall
Land of hens with name to match
A cock crows abroad
Dragonwagon Regional six-seed Andy Brandy Casagrande IV
A three-pronged attack
Dives for nominal glory
Swimming with the sharks
Chrotchtangle Regional 14-seed Boats Botes
14-seed leaves port
On the S.S. Double Speak
Can something gold stay?
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Well folks, it’s once again that special time of year. The leaves are coming back, the remains of that disgusting black snow pile on the corner of my block is finally melting, and the constant deluge of pouring rain means the oft-rhymed May flowers are just around the corner. Luckily, just as it’s begun to heat up outside, so too has it begun to heat up inside our bracket. And while nothing riles up sports fans more than the debate over what exactly defines something as ‘elite,’ there can be no denying that the 2017 Name of the Year Elite Eight are just that.
It hasn’t been easy getting to this point. In the Bulltron, Illinois State football recruit one-seed Kobe Buffalomeat had to overcome some Bupps in the road but walked away victorious with another commanding victory, while neighborhood witness six-seed YourMajesty Lumpkins dethroned the H. King himself. Over in the Sithole, one-seed Marmaduke Trebilcock ensured that Dick will have to watch the rest of the competition posthumously, as three-seed Faraj Fartass dealt a less-than-Fortunate blow to Mr. Sithole. Continuing into the Dragonwagon, one-seed Chardonnay Pantastico went full Old Testament on Christian Joo’s behind, while six-seed Andy Brandy Casagrande IV brought down my personal favorite name in the competition (no jokes here, I’m still salty about that one.) Finally, over in the Crotchtangle, one-seed Quindarious Monday Cream’d his latest opponent. His foe in the Elite Eight is the subject of today’s post.
That final name is fourteen-seed Boats Botes, who has laid waste to Aphrodite Bodycomb, Bird Lovegod, and Eliza Fox Teats in his quest for onomastic glory. While shocking upsets here at Name of the Year are nothing new, it is worth noting that the Elite Eight’s counterpart in the NCAA has never before seen a fourteen-seed compete, and the last time one even made an appearance in the Sweet Sixteen was Chattanooga in 1997.
This means we are dealing with a man who has found himself in territory which many may feel does not belong to him. It’s fitting, then, that Mr. Botes holds a day job as group assets and security manager for Gold One, where he works to combat the illegal ground and surface mining that is unlawfully taking place on his company’s territories in the East Rand, outside Johannesburg, South Africa. The Australian-based company develops and mines both gold and uranium around the world, though it is their Modder East gold mine which poses the greatest challenge to Mr. Botes.
For years, the problem of illegal South African gold mining has raised obvious safety, social, and environmental concerns in the region, often with violent consequences. According to this article in the Rand Daily Mail, over 300 illegal miners have died in clashes for control of mine shafts since 2012. These illegal mining enterprises employ tens of thousands, many of whom are refugees from neighboring countries who are desperate for work and find themselves exploited by local crime syndicates. Because of the huge profit margins spread across multiple countries through an intricate system of miners, sellers, distributors, and buyers, the South African government has had a difficult time stamping out the practice. Mr. Botes believes that the only way to wipe out illegal mining is through a coordinated effort between the mining industry, government, the community, and law enforcement. While he knows there is a long way to go before it’s fully eradicated, he seems confident that the practice is on the decline. And if there’s one man who knows how to overcome a remarkably difficult challenge, it’s the man who has found himself competing in the Elite Eight as a fourteen seed.
Though Mr. Botes certainly has his hands full solving a problem with myriad causes and no easy solution, we hope that his path to a Name of the Year championship is much more straightforward. So cast your Boats Botes votes below, leave your Boats Botes notes, quotes, and anecdotes in the comments, and as always, be sure to follow @NOTYTourney on Twitter!
THE ELITE EIGHT
#1 Kobe Buffalomeat vs. #6 YourMajesty Lumpkins
#1 Marmiduke Trebilcock vs. #3 Faraj Fartass
#1 Chardonnay Pantastico vs. #6 Andy Brandy Casagrande IV
#1 Quintarious Monday vs. #14 Boats Botes
Monday, April 3, 2017
As the cold of winter wanes and the calendar flips from March to April, Name of the Year too marches onward. This entry marks the beginning of the end; regionals are no more as the 2017 Sweet Sixteen are revealed. With the picture becoming clear, Name of the Year voters are eager to learn who will make it all the way. All four one-seeds (college softballer Chardonnay Pantastico from the Dragonwagon regional, football player Quindarious Monday from the Chrotchtangle regional, college football lineman Kobe Buffalomeat from the Bulltron Regional, and 19th century Cornish resident Marmaduke Trebilcock from the Sithole regional) remain intact. A few lesser seeds also advanced in upsets, including attorney and seven-seed H. King Buttermore (winning by a mere 11 votes) and 14-seed Boats Botes (advancing by a massive margin). Each remaining name, Cinderella story or not, offers a unique story, an individual rhyme, a something special for each voter to consider.
With the bracketology simplifying, we can step back and ponder this question: What’s in a name? Is it the story the name tells? The tempo of the sounds rolling off the tongue? Perhaps something deeper and more profound? Shakespeare may have made this question famous by writing it into Romeo’s mouth, but a more-recent author may be better suited to answer the question for, when it comes to memorable names, there is none greater than Dr. Seuss. Silly names adorn his pages, ranging from Bartholomew Cubbins (proud owner of 500 hats) to David Donald Doo (known for sleeping through his ABC’s) to JoJo McDodd (the future mayor of Whoville). Here at Name of the Year, where names provide inspiration, we search the real world for names that could live on his pages. Those names are both old and new and come from all over: international athletic competitions, obscure news stories, and collegiate academia.
Enter Melanie Gubbels Bupp the 13-seed out of the Bulltron Regional. One may nitpick that her first name is nothing extraordinary, but her two surnames make up for that several times over. Assonance? Check. Consonance? Present. A harmonic confluence creating an immeasurable joie de vivre? Totally there. The name springs forward as though Dr. Seuss has written her buying a thneed or counting fish.
If only Ms. Gubbels Bupp were a baker or a purveyor of handmade berets, she would be perfectly Seussian. Instead, she works in science as a biology professor at Randolph-Macon College with a B.S. from Creighton University and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. Fortunately, she has an eye for whimsy to match her name. Traveling back from the Chi Beta Phi conference in 2012, Gubbels Bupp recalls, “We were treated to a beautiful double rainbow as we drove back through the mountains towards Ashland after the conference,” as though Dr. Seuss painted the image for her. (This writer imagines her reaction as similar to this video that launched a million memes.)
Brilliant and altruistic, Gubbels Bupp may be the complete package. However, the completeness of one’s package does little good when clashing the giants of the 2017 Name of the Year bracket. After all, she barely snuck past four-seed Rushmore Cervantes in the Bulltron Regional, and again narrowly staved off five-seed Clapperton Mavhunga in the subsequent round. She’ll need to remain hot against her heavily-favored opponent Kobe Buffalomeat if she hopes to advance to the Elite Eight and ultimately take home Name of the Year gold.
The time for storytelling is over. The time for linguistic wonderment has begun. Vote now, Name of the Year fans, and remember to follow us on Twitter.
THE SWEET SIXTEEN
#1 Kobe Buffalomeat vs. #13 Melanie Gubbels Bupp
#6 YourMajesty Lumpkins vs. #7 H. King Buttermore III
#1 Marmaduke Trebilcock vs. #4 Dick Posthumus
#2 Fortunate Sithole vs. #3 Faraj Fartass
#1 Chardonnay Pantastico vs. #13 Christian Joo
#2 Sultan McDoom vs. #6 Andy Brandy Casagrande IV
#1 Quindarious Monday vs. #4 Dallas Creamer
#2 Aphrodite Bodycomb vs. #14 Boats Botes
Thursday, March 30, 2017
As the NCAA’s March Madness moves to the Final Four, our competition heads to the right half of the bracket to weed our competition down to 16. The Dragonwagon regional featured a mix of chalk and upsets: One-seed and Hawaii softballer Chardonnay Pantastico struck out Chance Comanche, two-seed Sultan McDoom smote Bastiaan Slabbers, and six-seed Andy Brandy Casagrande IV razed Brickman House while ten-seed Fiery Cushman, 12-seed Demon Clowney, 13-seed Christian Joo, and 14-seed Dougal Spork played Cinderellas to opponents not worthy of being named.
The Chrotchtangle regional saw two of the closest matchups of the first round. Seven-seed Le'Genius Wisdom Williams robbed Dutch gallerist Taco Dibbits by a mere 37 votes and four Headman Dadzie fans propelled him past Jeffrosenberg Tan. Even one-seed and high committee favorite Quindarious Monday slipped by Bobbie Bobango by just 200 votes. Down the bracket, Dallas Creamer churned past Free Balboa, Bird Lovegod avoided Teena Touch, Aphrodite Bodycomb disturbed Harmony Excellent, and Eliza Fox Teats found herself beat by Boats Botes against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. Vote early, vote often, or your favorite may lose their shot at the Hall of Name.
As members of the high committee, such upsets and close matchups validate the hours that go into scouring the world, pouring through your suggestions, verifying names, and ultimately constructing a bracket. Each year, hundreds of names that make us cackle, cry, and cringe cannot make the cut. Some fall because we cannot find verification, others turn out to be nicknames or name changes, and a few others lack that certain je ne se quois.
In choosing among the worthy names, we face myriad ethical dilemmas. Should we include the name of a recently murdered baby? No. What about someone who has publicly written about having been teased for the name? Many of our names come from police reports. In 2015 three of the Final Four held arrest records and the fourth, Infinite Grover, witnessed a crime. Are we doing wrong by bringing attention to their lowest moments? And can we, in good faith, appreciate a name that fills us with joy but is unremarkable within its own community?
No NOTY contestant in recent history has been more qualified to help us ponder these quandaries than Dragonwagon 10-seed Fiery Cushman. Perched in his office in Harvard's William James Hall, Cushman, a moral psychologist, studies why and how people decide what’s right and what’s wrong. With fake guns, machine learning, and every permutation of the trolley problem possible, Cushman tries to understand our innate moral drive.
Outside the lab, he's a wildly popular professor whose students describe every lecture like a TED talk. "Call me Fiery," he implores them the first lecture of the year, as they begin a 300 person hunt for the white whale of morality. While his casual attitude and his metaphoric moniker that smells of marijuana may make many mistakenly muse about a hippy upbringing, Fiery was forged from the bluest of blood: a Times political journalist and professor as parents and an education from Harvard, Harvard, and Harvard.
After robbing Cash Masters, Fiery has sights set on a new prestigious prize for his CV: Name of the Year 2017. First, he will need to summon up the hottest of conflagrations to avoid being extinguished by Dragonwagon two-seed Sultan McDoom. Vote in that matchup and the rest of the Chrotchtangle and Dragonwagon Regionals below and follow along on Twitter.
DRAGONWAGON REGIONAL, ROUND TWO
#1 Chardonnay Pantastico vs. #8 Windy Swetman III
#12 Demon Clowney vs. #13 Christian Joo
#6 Andy Brandy Casagrande IV vs. #14 Dougal Spork
#2 Sultan McDoom vs. #10 Fiery Cushman
CHROTCHTANGLE REGIONAL, ROUND TWO
#1 Quindarious Monday vs. #9 Mythzard Thelisma
#4 Dallas Creamer vs. #12 Headman Dadzie
#11 Bird Lovegod vs. #14 Boats Botes
#2 Aphrodite Bodycomb vs. #7 Le’Genius Wisdom Williams
Monday, March 27, 2017
Here at Name of the Year, we love unusual names and the people who carry them, but the life experiences of our naminees are far from universally positive. Over the years, we’ve heard from a handful of the contenders we have included in our brackets, and several of them have told us of the mockery they endured when they were kids.
As someone with a fairly ordinary handle, I’ve rarely been teased because of my name, and while I’m fortunate to have avoided those encounters, I’m also left to wonder if I missed an opportunity to build character. Can the burden of carrying a strange title foster strength? That’s the question we’re asking today at Name of the Year, and to proffer an answer, we’re going to look at the example of the Sithole Regional’s 11-seed, Bumper Pool.
Mr. Pool is a junior at Lovejoy High School in Texas, and after he graduates in 2018, he has committed to play football at the University of Arkansas. In his young career, he has already become a force to be reckoned with at the inside linebacker position. ESPN has listed him as one of the top 300 recruits nationwide in the class of 2018, and he received offers from a dozen top football schools before ultimately choose to play for the Razorbacks.
How has Mr. Pool gotten so good so fast? Some observers wonder if his name has factored into his blitz toward greatness. “A young man has to be tough to play inside linebacker,” wrote Greg Poole of Bulldawg Illustrated. “With a name like Bumper Pool one might have plenty of opportunities to toughen up in elementary school, right?”
Mr. Pool’s dad would certainly agree with the assertion that the name he chose for his son has given Bumper strength, since he knew from day one his son would have a talent for sports. “"I always said if I had a son, his first name would be Bumper," Jeff Pool told Bleacher Report back in 2015. "It kind of fit as a football name, and when his grandparents were OK with that, I knew we had something." The elder Pool claims to have decided on the name Bumper after receiving a vision in high school. One is left to wonder whether that vision occurred in a smoky billiards hall or a bustling lounge.
In the same Bleacher Report article, Bumper echoed his father by referring to his handle as a “football name.” At the same time, his other quotes may strike down our theory that he navigated onomastic strife and emerged as a bigger man. “The people I'm around, they don't ask anymore,” he said. “I know a lot of my friends, when they first met me, will tell their parents, 'I met a kid named Bumper.'"
Whether the Bumper moniker was ever a source of pain for the younger Pool, or if it has merely served as the “conversation starter” he claims it to be, his talents on the gridiron have ensured he won’t only be remembered for his name. Will a NOTY title be part of his legacy? As he has to face off against powerhouse three-seed Faraj Fartass in today’s round of 32, we’re giving him an “outlook not so good” for now. Win or lose, we expect Mr. Pool to continue wear his name proudly as he racks up accomplishments on and off the field.
Vote below, and remember to follow us on Twitter.
BULLTRON REGIONAL, ROUND TWO
#1 Kobe Buffalomeat vs. #9 Cherish Bloodgood
#5 Clapperton Mavhunga vs. #13 Melanie Gubbels Bupp
#6 YourMajesty Lumpkins vs. #14 Guy Hands
#2 Bonjovi Hardeman vs. #7 H. King Buttermore
SITHOLE REGIONAL, ROUND TWO
#1 Marmaduke Trebilcock vs. #9 Subu Dubey
#4 Dick Posthumus vs. #5 Hella Jongerius
#3 Faraj Fartass vs. #11 Bumper Pool
#2 Fortunate Sithole vs. #10 Tugg Snowbarger