History, Hero Worship, and Being Problematic

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

There has been a lot of talk about taking down monuments and changing names. Mostly this is due to things the people have done that are horrifying.

Removing the name or monuments to these people has been likened to sanitizing our history or hiding the horrors of our past.

The whole debate is complicated by the fact that most of these people have also done good things. So do we let one mistake destroy the legacy of a great historical figure?

Vintage still life. Vintage compass lies on an ancient world map in 1565.

History is a very human practice. It’s not a science and relies on what people wrote down and what they chose to leave out. Walt Disney smoked like a chimney but you’d never know from his pictures at the parks or the official videos. It’s possible that future generations will never know.

To get an idea how much we can confuse and conflate history have a look at this video.

Columbus was a genocidal idiot, yet I bet most people didn’t know that.

History is messy and the moment you start worshiping someone you start ignoring the bad they did. Very few historical figures are perfect and it’s important to remember. If we ignore the bad that historical figures did, we risk repeating it.

We also have to not go too far the other way and forget the good that they have done (not Columbus, he’s horrible). It’s a common practice now to demonize people for things they’ve done or said in their past. It’s important to balance out what people did with how they tried to make amends and how they grew. Just because someone was a dick doesn’t mean they didn’t change.

My Opinion

Having a statue in a public space, having your name on a street or building is an honour. If the historical figure has done something horrible (Genocide, mass murder, slavery, etc) move their statue to a museum with the proper, balanced, historical information. Or take their name off and replace it with something more innocent or someone more worthy. Leave a plaque explaining the old name and why it was changed.


Later days,


Dear Dragon – Names

Dear Dragon,

In case you didn’t know, I fancy myself a writer. One of the hardest parts of developing a character is choosing a name.

I firmly believe that a character’s name should reflect aspects of their story or personality. Let’s take my first novel, A Study in Aether; there are three main characters and their names reflect who they are.

Elizabeth means “My God is an Oath,” or “My God is Abundance” between the classical definition and the historical, it’s a name for a strong-willed character who is more interested in reaching their goals than anything else.

Jackson (Jackie) means “Son of Jack”. Since he’s Jackson Jr., it shows the strong resemblance (character not physical) to his father. The fact that he shortens it to Jackie instead of Jack shows his stubborn non-conforming streak.

Angela is the female version of Angelus. It’s original meaning being “Messenger” or “Messenger of God”. I’ll be completely honest and tell you I just liked the name. There was a character on Bones, who managed to be both artistic and brilliant with technology. I liked the idea of a character trying to balance two aspects of her life. Balancing two parts of herself is a long running theme with my character Angela.

I almost always name a character based off who they are and what they’ll grow into. That works really well for characters, but not so well for Baby Dragons. (If only I had a time machine.)

We’ve had several names for you chosen for a long time. They’ve changed and moved around, but we never really worried about it. Now that you’re on your way, it feels a little more urgent.

There were a few things we wanted in a name: it needed to sound okay in French and English, it needed to be something that didn’t sound weird for a lawyer, doctor, teacher, judge, prime-minister etc (The Right Honourable Yoda Desmarais wasn’t an option), it needed to be something that wasn’t ridiculously common, and it needed to be something people wouldn’t make fun of.

That’s a high order, but we ended up with five names that we liked. One we sort of lost interest in. Another we told to someone and they reacted so poorly that your Mum didn’t want to use the name anymore. (I’m contrary and almost insisted on the name, but decided that was a bad reason.)

That has left us with three names. Two are relatively traditional but the third is different. It’s still easily pronounceable and follows our guidelines above. I made the mistake of mentioning it to someone (I’m contrary and learn slowly) and they don’t think it’s a good idea because it’s not a traditional name. I’m not sure which we’ll pick. I’m procrastinating by saying we’ll wait to meet you, but that’s just an excuse.

A lot of people, articles, etc. have pushed the importance of picking a name and it’s stressful to think about.

Fortunately, no matter what we name you, you’ll grow into it. It will become you and you’ll become it.

Hopefully we pick well, but worst case scenario you can always change it.

Your Loving Papa

Coffee Rebranding

About a year ago I decided to research how to roast and flavour my own coffee. So far it’s been an awesome and fun road. I think it might be time to give it an official name and rebrand it to make it a little more distinct from the other Products in JenEric Designs.

For this I need your help. Please answer the following three questions:

What should be the name of our Coffee sub-business

  • JenEric Geeky Gourmet Coffee (38%, 8 Votes)
  • Gourmet Coffee by JenEric (24%, 5 Votes)
  • JenEric Gourmet Coffee (19%, 4 Votes)
  • JenEric Geeky Coffee (19%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 21

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What colours should represent the brand?

  • JenEric Blue and Chocolate Brown (56%, 10 Votes)
  • Bright Yellow and Chocolate Brown (17%, 3 Votes)
  • Dark Brown and Light Brown (11%, 2 Votes)
  • Retro Orange and Light brown (11%, 2 Votes)
  • Chocolate Brown and Light Pink (6%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 18

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What do you think of the current branding of the flavours

  • Geeky Names are great. Don't change them! (89%, 17 Votes)
  • Geeky names are ok but maybe have a few regular for non-geeks (11%, 2 Votes)
  • I really don't care (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Geeky names are stupid and I'd rather have normal names (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 19

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All this will lead to us actually selling the coffee beans on the website (eventually) and maybe at more events.

It’s been a great ride and I’m looking forward to what happens next.

NaNoWriMo IV

It seems I’ve contradicted myself already and I haven’t even started the darn story. I said in my first NaNoWriMo post that I would put a character related poll Friday, yet yesterday I said I would put it up today. I know just how to fix this, two sets of polls. Today Character styles, sexes, and motivations; tomorrow Villains and Heroes. Rejoice at the Poll-y goodness.

Humm It seems that PollDaddy and WordPress are having a minor software issue. Looks like there will be a bunch of polls tomorrow if it works.

As for today, I’d like Names, the stranger and more steeped with meaning the better. I want character names, villain names, pet names, place names etc.

Thanks again for all your help.