A JOSEPH BY ANY OTHER NAME

© 2010 by Joseph Keirs

As a planet, we have often chosen to name our children. It’s a fairly practical ritual that helps us organise phone books and garner the attention of people who to describe in any other way would only lead to tears all round. Yes, most names are very helpful indeed – they can even come with connotations of machismo, education or flirtation... if picked correctly, though I imagine a flirty baby wasn’t what Diamonique’s parents planned. But of course this is all massively subjective, which leads me to a more objective observation...


Growing up I realised my name was far from unpopular, yet for such a common forename the Josephs that textbooks and newspapers reflect on are largely a bunch of bad eggs. Marching into mind come Joseph Stalin, Goebbels, Mengele, Paul Franklin, Ball, McCarthy, Broz Tito... and now Fritzl. But alas, there are some nice sorts too, there is always “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat”. But if I need to go back over two millennia to defend my parents clearly drunkard choice then I might not be on to a winner there.


See, us Josephs have taken a PR battering over the past century. For every half decent, Mother’s Day remembering, law abiding Joseph, there’s a queue of 14 and a half drooling idiots whose hunger not even Heston B could sate. They instead prefer flagellated human flesh al fresco washed down with a strawberry genocide.


Sharing my well justified dismay with people, they often point consolingly to Kafka’s Joseph K, perhaps one of my closest namesakes, but as a work of fiction; he can’t really stand trial in defense of us real Josephs. So unfortunately for our international repute, my non-fiction namesakes have been a less than flattering mix of serial killers, Nazis, and rapists. And then there’s Pasquale.


If like me you are a Joseph saddened by our notoriety, please get in touch. I’d be more than happy to feature your work, face or comments on this page. Together we can slice this reputation apart.


In the meantime, please check out the currently featured Josephs.

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