Pop Culture, Theory & Essay

The Pseudonym Conundrum And All The King’s Men

I’m going to go ahead and assume that most people know that my real name isn’t Panama Dontavious Jackson. On the off chance that this is news…

Palindrome swag.

Palindrome swag.

…Stringer Bell *CENSORED BECAUSE YOU SUCK AT POP CULTURE*.

Anyway, while my name is my name, my “name” also isn’t my name. Dig? This has been the case in my life for quite some time. In high school, I had a nickname. I was Phife, though we spelled it Phyffe. I was short and one of

my boys yelled PHIFE across the room one day in English class while attempting to wake me up and a nickname was born. Apparently he’d already mulled the idea of giving me that nickname and time + opportunity

= OPRAH!

Well, I was just “Sexy” in college and then after a wayward walk through some bushes, I became Panama Jackson. Point is, I’ve had nicknames for a while. In DC, where I work, sleep, eat, and entertain I’ve been “Panama” for at least 8 years. Point is, my name is a working, functional outside of the Internets nickname. I trade my name for value at this point. F*ck with me you know I got it. Dig?

What this means it that more often than not, seeing as I have a working, monetized pseudonym, I introduce myself as “Panama”. Many people introduce me as “Panama” and most folks either don’t know or don’t remember my real name. This presents very few issues…until it does.

See there is a populace who either thinks I’m a douche or an idiot when I introduce myself as such. See, for me its just easier since 9/10 I’m at an event because of things I’ve done related to the name Panama. But folks are always like, “is that your real name?” And its just rude to lie to people, so I just say “no, but I write under this name and that’s why I’m here today so, thanks for these dry crackers and cheese.”

But it always leads directly to, “so what’s your real name?”

Hm…

Now…sometimes I answer and sometimes I say “you won’t remember, its not important” but people seem to be really interested in knowing real names. I dont know if this is because I’m not a rapper or because people really hate talking to pseudonyms. They’d rather call you by your real name unless your a celebrity. I mean, how many folks know Jamie Foxx’s real name is Eric Bishop? But nobody is calling him Eric. Hell, half the entertainers you come across are using some variant of their name, if they’re using a variant at all.

Oh, and by populace, I mean women and white people. Women ALWAYS want to know my real name. In fact, they are the most persistent. And as soon as I say my real name, they then refuse to refer to me by Panama. Which is fine, except, chances are we met because of the whole “Panama” thing. In fact, folks go OUT of their way to call me my real name upon learning it. I can’t figure out why this is for the life of me. I suppose its because I’m not famous and I’m not 13 so the idea that nicknames are childish, even ones that have become a job.

Interestingly, guys don’t seem to care at all. I’ve only had a few men ask me if Panama was my real name and that was ONLY once they got to know me down the line. Maybe we’re all so used to calling ninjas named Dwayne Carter “Lil Wayne” and people named Clifford Harris “T.I” that nicknames don’t mean much to us. Or perhaps its just a bit…um…special…to be that enthusiastically interested in another man’s anything.

So maybe, for women its the intimacy involved. This idea that if I know your name, I’ve got a leg up on other people, even if I never see or speak to you again. It’s the knowing…and since women do tend to be more interested in details that makes sense. But…I live and work in a Twitter and blog world where I don’t know half the folks outside of their handles. If you tell me your name is LickMeBigDaddy, I may call you LMBD, but your real name is kind of not that important to me unless we intend to take it a step further…and only because I can’t tell my momma that I’m dating a woman named LickMeBigDaddy.

So the point of all this is this: am I douche for introducing myself to people as Panama even if I know they’re gonna want to know the real name and it’s gonna become a thing? Do you have a problem speaking to a person using “not their real name?” Do you have this issue? Are you a nicknamer? Do people always want to know your real name?

Tell your story. Do you care to know a person’s real name or not (assuming it aint in a professional setting like at a law firm and you’re trying to get me out of a sexual harassment charge from the time I humped a pole near a playground. Which totally never happened.)

How do you feel about pseudonyms?

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka lower.case.p aka MR. MY NICKNAME GOT A NICKNAME aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

 

Filed Under:
Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future.

  • http://TheNewEve.com/ Bunni

    questions that need answers. If we’re going by favorite characters, I’ma start going by Rorschach lol

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

      And I’m going by the name of Newbomb Turk. Who is that, you ask?

      *points to link*

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXRby61yER0

      • http://TheNewEve.com/ Bunni

        I want that jacket right now lol

    • Kema

      I’m Harley Quinn, Rorschach.

      • http://TheNewEve.com/ Bunni

        fancy to meet ya :-)

        • Kema

          Meet? Dont you remember when we met that time?

    • Sahel

      Am Shaft

  • http://TheNewEve.com/ Bunni

    unrelated: conundrum and quagmire are my favorite words for problematic situations lol

  • Rachmo

    I don’t even remember how I got the nickname Rachmo. I just know since sixth grade I’m often called Rachmo, Mo, Motown, Mo Diggity Mo Doubt, and so on and so forth. Also:

    Det. James ‘Jimmy’ McNulty: So your boy’s name was what?
    Snot Boogie’s Friend: Snot.
    Det. James ‘Jimmy’ McNulty: You called the guy “Snot”?
    Snot Boogie’s Friend: Snot Boogie, yeah.
    Det. James ‘Jimmy’ McNulty: Snot Boogie? He like the name?
    Snot Boogie’s Friend: What?
    Det. James ‘Jimmy’ McNulty: Snot Boogie?
    [the kid does not answer]
    Det. James ‘Jimmy’ McNulty: This kid, whose mama went to the trouble to christen him Omar Isaiah Betts… You know, he forgets his jacket, his nose starts running and some asshole, instead of giving him a Kleenex, he calls him “Snot”. So he’s Snot forever. Doesn’t seem fair.
    Snot Boogie’s Friend: Life just be that way, I guess

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      When you walk through the garden….

      • nameless

        watch your back

    • http://uphereoncloud9.com/ Wu Young

      That was one of many brilliant scenes from that show.

      • Rachmo

        I’m rewatching it all the way through with a Wire virgin. So I will be quoting it for the next couple months.

        • http://www.blackyodaprime.blogspot.com/ Black Yoda

          Lowers latest issue of “Uncensored” like Jay to give you a look of recognition then goes back to the nudie mag.

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

          I haven’t watched it yet this year so I’ll probably watch The Wire and The Corner again this fall.

          • Rachmo

            I haven’t watched The Corner in a looong time. I do remember being blown away.

            • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

              I felt the same about it. That show really broke it sown.

  • Maris

    1. I really did think Panama was your name, and you were just THAT awesome that you care naught if your name was all over the interwebs even though your partner calls himself “Champ”.

    2. Panama isn’t a far-fetched name. I feel cheated. It’s like when people give their dogs ACTUAL names like Phil. “Hey, meet Phil” (you think your relationship has gone to the next level cause you’re meeting family…then Fido comes out)

    3. Women want to know your name so they can brag they “know” you personally when they mention you’ve met. We’re competitive. “Oh, James? Yeah, we’ve met. [I’m special. Be jealous.]”

    4. I remember things visually, not verbally-so even though I’ve met a good few VSB’rs IRL (and may or may not have offered up my bosom for consolation purposes on a random Friday happy hour) I will likely only refer to you by the name I see onscreen. So, meh

    • Kema

      Fido probably is family. lol

    • BreezyX2

      Maris: Your number 3 was what I was about to post. Thank you!

    • Todd

      I see what you did with #4. LOL

    • panamajackson

      Many people have had that same reaction upon finding out that Panama Jackson isn’t my real name. There’s a certain disappointment. It almost hurts my feelings…I be like…”BUT IMMA CHANGE IT!!”

      • Sahel

        Like Maria Sharapova….

        • Kopa

          huh?

    • Yoles

      i hate when pets are given “people” names… i just don’t like it.. not at all… there you are naming your long haired rat tea cup yorkie my future daughter’s name… nah come again…

      • 321mena123

        I did that. It worked. :-)

      • Royale W. Cheese

        My bf and I want to give our future bulldog a people name. I’m partial to “Patrick Stewart.”

  • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

    Another time I met this girl Patience I thought it was a pretty name…I was so disappointed to find out her mama really named her Amy

  • http://www.saysmeblog.wordpress.com/ Aly

    Y’all are pretty much the only ones who know me as Aly. Everyone else calls me by my full name (Alyson)

    I think when people use their real identities online it forces them to behave and act like a decent human being. Although I have seen people write some pretty hateful stuff on social media using their real names.

    • b sweet

      I agree 100%

    • http://taterwithak.blogspot.com/ K. Marie Woodberry

      Yeah….since I post under the real name, I keep it pretty strait-laced. But my journal? Nothing nice.

      • http://www.saysmeblog.wordpress.com/ Aly

        I can only think of one thing I’ve posted here that I would be embarrassed for my mom or coworkers to read.

        • Rachmo

          I that’s why I have my pic up. It reminds me that these people can find me in the streets so be nice.

          • 321mena123

            See, there are only a few people that I would be cool with meeting in real life but i feel like online you are building a different type of relationship. I don’t know if it would transfer well into real life.

            • http://TheNewEve.com/ Bunni

              i’ve met some twitter friends in real life and had it be the most awkward catfishery experience ever…some ppl who are funny and charismatic behind a keyboard have the personality of paperclips in person :-(

              • 321mena123

                The way i am online is the way I am in real life but i want to get to know people in person fresh. *shrugs*

                • http://TheNewEve.com/ Bunni

                  I think I’m pretty much the same in real life…cept I’m not tryna talk to every Joe Schmo, and I think I come off a lot more social online lol…90% of my cyber-to-real-life encounters have been awesome tho…

                  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

                    That’s me, waaay more social online. I’m a tiny bit snobbish offline.

                    • http://TheNewEve.com/ Bunni

                      im just a bit more introverted with ppl im meeting for the first time….once i know you forreal THEN i flourish lol

              • Sahel

                You still smashed right

                • http://TheNewEve.com/ Bunni

                  One particular girl was sooooooo awkward, I slept on top of the covers to avoid her tryna touch me lol…..her whole AURA was awkward, I left soon as I could lol #Catfished

              • Oshun

                personality of paperclips – *I weepeth*!!

            • Rachmo

              I think the only difference between how I am here and how I am in real life is that I’m weirder in real life. I tend to inappropriately moonwalk and do strange things like that. Still chatty and dramatic in person.

              • http://TheNewEve.com/ Bunni

                my favorite kind of person….my college roomie would bust into random broadway numbers and i LOVED her for it!!!

                • Rachmo

                  Me and one of my good friends made up a musical a few months ago. The showstopper number is called “All I Wanted was a CVS”

                  • http://TheNewEve.com/ Bunni

                    hahaha!!! I am the undisputed queen of Bohemian Rhapsody at karaoke, sooooo im kind of a big deal lol

                    • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

                      Lol @ “sooooo im kind of a big deal lol”

    • panamajackson

      I’ve often debated going by my real name. But this far into the game I’ve branded myself as Panama Jackson. Plus, it’s still a job thing. Even though Im pretty out there, unless you know the name, you don’ tknow how to get to the good sh*t. But I’ve definitely considered switching things up before….at this point, its moot.

      • Oshun

        dont’ switch because people are interested in knowing your real names, switch because YOU want to! At the end of the day what matters is if you are still one and the same person.

  • Bedrock Obama

    I have several nicknames and based on the name you know me as, I instantly know if you know me from home or HU. I have long time friends that don’t know my real name until we connect on LinkedIn. And in case you are wondering, I’m not the POTUS either.

    • http://taterwithak.blogspot.com/ K. Marie Woodberry

      You’re not? Dang. I was going to ask for a reprieve on my student loans….

      • http://TheNewEve.com/ Bunni

        the things I’d be willing to do to get rid of these loans, i should be ashamed, but im not lmao

        • http://taterwithak.blogspot.com/ K. Marie Woodberry

          Girl…xrated and nationally televised! No shamein my game!Lol

          • http://TheNewEve.com/ Bunni

            i was at King of Diamonds in MIami, and this girl got nekked for a bottle of ciroc…..now if she was willing to sell her dignity for vodka, can you IMAGINE what folks would do to get rid of thousands and thousands of dollars in debt??? lmao

            • http://taterwithak.blogspot.com/ K. Marie Woodberry

              I’m thinking we need to team up to make this happen. We’ll be laughing all the way to the bank! LOL

              • http://TheNewEve.com/ Bunni

                HELLO!!! Fannie Mae can kiss the fattest part of my azz lol

        • Guest

          Girl…X-rated and nationally televised! No shame in my game! LOL

    • panamajackson

      I wasn’t sure until just then…

  • SuperStrings

    As far as I’m concerned, your name is what you say it is. I think most of the people who claim to care probably really didn’t until they knew it wasn’t your real name. I can see how some women might need to know your real name if she’s going out somewhere with you, for safety reasons. I remember once some kid came to the house to pick up my sister for a date and introduced himself to my dad as his nickname. My dad asked him his real name, and the kid said he preferred not to say. Needless to say, that date never got off the ground. Now as a father who has a daughter (wish she could stay 7 forever), I’ll need to know your real name and your nicknames or it’s a no-go.

    • WIP

      LOL, these kids…

      • SuperStrings

        They confuse me everyday. Of course, I think our adult (read “old” to them) behavior is just as confusing to them.

  • WIP

    one more attempt to avoid moderation…

    I tend to have an issue calling people nicknames. If I don’t know you, calling you TT, Lil’ Bit, Sweetman, etc. is just too familiar for me. Also in my proper-country-Florida accent, it usually sounds effing ridiculous.

    I much prefer real names, although as long as it sounds like a name I’m good. Don’t care if it’s real, just don’t ask me to call you something that makes me uncomfortable. I’ve avoided talking to people simply because I didn’t want to call out “Bug” or some suchness across a room.

    As a result, I’m not a nicknamer although I do call a certain friend “Brown” ala Madea; that was really her last name though. The most variation I’ve ever got on my name was “Lex.” Are you a d-word for introducing yourself with a fake name- I think that depends on the alternative. If you use your real name, no one will know who you are and you’d have to do some extra intro like “I’m Lakeel Walker AKA Panama Jackson” which is just as d-wordy. I think it is strange to announce it’s not your real name and then refuse to state your real name, LOL.

    • http://www.saysmeblog.wordpress.com/ Aly

      Lol @ Lakeel Walker.

    • BreezyX2

      From now on I want to be called North East.

    • panamajackson

      You saying I need to drop my real name in these e-streets. The Washington Post and some wayward souls on IG have done this enough for me.

      • WIP

        nah, not in the e-Streets but if you’re interacting with people at an event giving you their real name it would be kinda rude to refuse to give yours IMO.

        • panamajackson

          but…what if the reason I’m at said event is b/c I’m panama jackson?

          • WIP

            Unless the event is a Justice League meeting or something, I’m not sure why you couldn’t divulge your government, if asked, lol

    • Yoles

      you have a nickname Whitney Imogene Patterson!!!! you need to stop fronting on that good name i gave you.. all that thought i put into it…

      in person i did call you both WIP and *insert govt*… you seemed ok with both

      • WIP

        that ‘nickname’ is too long Yolie, lol

  • BreezyX2

    Why am I in moderation?!??!?

    • http://www.saysmeblog.wordpress.com/ Aly

      Free Breezy now!!!

      • BreezyX2

        *gives Aly a protest sign and we begin to march around the e-moderation prison*

        • http://www.saysmeblog.wordpress.com/ Aly

          While we’re waiting for you to be released… have you still been watching Breaking Bad? Oooh, it’s getting GOOD!

          • BreezyX2

            GURRRRRLLLLLLLLLL So apparently they had a marathon on AMC and I missed it so I am JUST getting to season 5 on Netflix. Man I am so over Skylar and her sister….they are annoying to me and I wish they can both be whacked. I am at the episode where she tells Walt that she is waiting until the cancer returns. I just wanted him to SLAP her already…uggghhh.

            • http://www.saysmeblog.wordpress.com/ Aly

              YOU’RE NOT ON THE CURRENT SEASON?!! Oh Breezy, you gotta catch up, it’s sooo good right now. I won’t spoil it for you.
              Skylar is pretty annoying, but I actually hate Walt more than her right now.

              • 321mena123

                Skylar can kiss all of my @ss. I can’t stand her.

                • BreezyX2

                  Mena: This is why you are my co-captain. One minute she is creating elaborate stories to hide the drug dealing and reaping the benefits and the next she wants the bread winner to die. KILTTTTTTTTTTTT HER OFF ALREADY. I can’t stand her.

                  • 321mena123

                    YES!!!! Like have several seats Skylar. Have some seats.

                • http://www.saysmeblog.wordpress.com/ Aly

                  LOL. Don’t hold back Mena, tell ‘em how you really feel. I just can’t wait to see how it ends. I kinda hope Walt doesn’t get away. But I DO want Jesse to be ok. I just want to give him a hug.

                  • 321mena123

                    Dude, I can’t help it. What Breezy said are my feelings too. Jesse needs a hug and some counseling. Like serious locked away on a mountain of peace type of counseling.

                    I am all caught up but will have to wait until the last 8 episodes show up on Netflix to finish the season. But, i may go online to catch the current episodes. I have to catch up to Dexter AND Game of Thrones.

                • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

                  Hey, another thing we agree on! I’ve hated her from almost the very beginning of the show.

                  • 321mena123

                    Us agreeing is making me nervous. Let’s talk politics :-)

                    • BreezyX2

                      NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am enjoying this rare moment of kumbaya.

                    • 321mena123

                      LOL!!!!

            • Shamira

              Skylar is the worst. I don’t understand these simpletons that cape for her. She is a halfway crook that tries to maximize her situation but can’t actually be about it – and then has the nerve to cry victim! Her and her triflin’ azz sister can go kick rocks. Hmph.