Capital punishment

August 7, 2007

In a recent post over at Gay Patriot, frequent commenter ILoveCapitalism (I’m guessing the name refers to the economic system and not to style sheets) opined on the tendency of the detractors of the site to not use capital letters in their screen names (at GP, they’re known as the “lower case clan”). :

What is it with lefties and the whole lower-case thing? Seriously – what point do they believe they are making?

It can’t be a statement of self-negation – since, in most contexts, the effect of lower-casing is very slightly to grab attention for themselves.

(the link references miriam cooke, a professor of Arabic literature at Duke University)

This got me to thinking (stand back folks).  Pre-internet, the only other lower case (self)named people I had heard of were e.e. cummings and k.d. lang (who I had always assumed was inspired by e.e.).  Thanks to Google (God, I love googling), I’ve found some more.  Here’s the list so far:

bell hooks –  “an African-American intellectual, feminist and social activist”

elinor peace bailey – scary doll/puppet maker

kat swift – Green party candidate for president

john johnson – “He doesn’t capitalize his name because he doesn’t believe in capitalism”

barbara findlay – “lesbian feminist lawyer committed to making the law work for all of us”

danah boyd – whose “research focuses on how people negotiate a presentation of self to unknown audiences in mediated contexts.”

That list can definitely be described as leaning to the left.   I’ll keep googling and will probably have an update (or two) on other discoveries. Also, if any readers are familiar with other examples (left or right), I’d love to see them.


5 Responses to “Capital punishment”

  1. QuakerJono Says:

    Could you perhaps call me “a recent commenter” all in lowercase from here on in? That would be GREAT!

  2. John in IL Says:

    I so thought I would get away with that. I figured “that bitch is way too busy doing other things, he won’t even notice this”.

    sorry quakerjono.

  3. QuakerJono Says:

    Let that be a particularly unfocused lesson to you, then. No one gets away with nothing!

  4. ILoveCapitalism Says:

    John, thanks for the response-via-trackback. Fun thread, but I actually think you hit the answer with john johnson. He “doesn’t like capitalism”: yeah he’s making a quip, but the quip’s thrust is his not wanting to make certain distinctions. Left anti-capitalists don’t like the distinction that capitalism makes among people. Real capitalism insists on equal opportunity, or equality-before-the-law, but also on a certain (justified) inequality of results. It says the distinction between what one person has earned / produced in the economy, and another has not, is important and should be rewarded (or not) by the free capital and/or labor markets of the economy. Left anti-capitalists hate inequality of results. Other distinctions are important to them, but always masked in the language of (alleged) human equality, or not making distinctions.

  5. John in IL Says:

    You’re welcome. Couldn’t agree more. My biggest problem with the anti-capitalist left is that they fail (or refuse) to see the amazing power of capitalism to lift people out of poverty. These are the very same people they are purportedly trying to help.

    (and thanks for stopping by)

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