Tuesday 24 August 2010

Dropping names and playing wise

In the room the women come and go,
Talking of Michelangelo.

The lines above talk about something that is very prominent in today's people (as it was then as well). I am not making a sweeping generalisation here but still. It has become quite fashionable to drop names in the course of conversations. Somehow I am assuming that the fad of dropping names came about during Renaissance when there were new discoveries and inventions made. The age of enlightenment, as it was popularly known brought about many delightful new thoughts and ideas. Now as many artists and scientists grew in prominence, there also arose a new breed of people: Name-dropping philistines!

Now there are specific names that are ought to be dropped in relevant contexts. If Philosophy, it has to be Kant, Nietzsche, Sartre, etc; if Literature then Shakespeare, Tolstoy and the like; if Cinema, then Godard, Kurosawa, Fellini, Bergman, etc.

But the best part of name-dropping is that one need not know in detail about the people whose names are dropped. If one knows the very famous line, "God is dead," and adds Nietzsche to it, the role is well-played. Similarly if one knows a quote or two from Shakespeare, then it makes for a lively exchange. It is only the name-dropper who knows that the quoted line was the only one (s) he knows from that person.

I find many students who love to drop names be it in arts, literature, philosophy or music. I cannot blame them but it is the world around which respects people who show their knowledge of names. In today's scenario, knowledge and information is suckling heavily at the udders of Wikipedia and passing those as one's own. Shallow knowledge and surface information, though make a good first impression cannot hold for long. But instant recognition and admiration leads people to try dropping names to impress and provide a halo of pseudo intelligence.

Well, the message is loud and clear: BE DISCERNING and TEST the depth of knowledge.

What are your observations on dropping names in conversations.

Image courtesy: Internet


  1. I like quoting Shakespeare and the poets, the way they string words together is enchanting... takes on a whole new meaning. And its nice to quote them even if you don't seem to know much bout them, pseudo intellect or not, atleast quoting them keeps them alive... and makes us fall more in love with their works, which eventually leads us to the udders of Wiki and Google ;)

  2. Karen:

    I should have been more specific, I think. I was referring to people who pretend but that does not come out quite well. Sorry to have stumped you. Thanks for coming by :) I appreciate your honesty and goodwill.

  3. Hey Susan,
    Just wanted to stop by and give a hug and a Happy Tuesday greeting.
    Praying that the Lord is giving you the desires of your heart.

    Love and peace

  4. Many people just need to inflate their egos and engage in intellectual name dropping. They are easy to detect.

  5. Well... I am a bit too ego-centric (is that a word?) I usually quote what my mum and grandmum used to say (wise women!!!)...

    I am not that good at remembering anyone's quotes, so I make them my own, because they are my own, in fact! -grin

    great post agaain my dearest SUSAN!

    Love and JOY ;)

  6. Susan
    Name dropping is over rated (do not like it) I tune out when the person starts to name drop!
    I ask them "What is your claim to fame" that stumps them and the look of embarrassment sweeps over.

  7. my memory is so tainted that I wouldn't dare try to drop a name! I even have a hard time coming up with the name of the artist singing the song!


  9. China:

    Why, hello. Where had you been so long. How glad I am to see your message. A hug and greeting back to ye. Thanks for the thoughtfulness. xoxo


    Egos, yes. But it lasts only for some time :)

  10. Dulce:

    Yes, egocentric is a word! You are the best. Quoting our own people is original, at least and not vain name-dropping.

    Thanks for your kind words, dear sweetest :)


    Over-rated, these days, yes. One can identify these people. It is annoying but on second thoughts, I wonder at the knowledge of those people. Is it a form of helplessness?

  11. Polly:

    God bless you! I mean it. You are quite lucky that way.

  12. i have a hard enough time quoting myself...smiles. i do enjoy testing knowledge when someone drops one...so what does it mean to you? or what did you mean by that? that will tell me if they really know someone...perhaps i will quote you today...smiles.

  13. Susan in response to your question.... It can be seen both ways and there is a fine line between the two. Depends on how well one knows the name dropper!

  14. I agree with Myrna R.

    Many people just need to inflate their egos and engage in intellectual name dropping. They are easy to detect.


  15. I am guilty of dropping names, Susan... though I never do so without a good knowledge of whatever it is I am about to say. I see people get stuck after that first line... and then stutter... and I would not like to see myself there. I can only imagine that that would feel quite embarrassing. But, by all means, if the room is filled with lively speakers who all know their stuff, I see no harm... as long as no one begins to feel stuffy about their feathers and all! ;-)

    Awesome post with very perceptive observations, as always Susan!


  16. Somehow I abhor people who drop names.
    I don't think they can fool people all the time.

  17. You don't have to be wise at all huh! It's the easiest way to get the tag. Name dropping. Amusing. heh.

  18. This is the day and age of superficial knowledge but we forget little knowledge is always a dangerous thing - beyond the first fleeting impression there is nothing else this kind of behavior will get!

  19. I was expecting something totally different actually. But, ya interesting observation. Frankly I never cared if people did actually know something more about it or not.I am usually happy with the snippets they share.. rest of the research on it.. I do it! :)

  20. Brian:

    Smiles :)


    Thanks for coming by again. I know!

  21. Ron:

    A brief exaltation of the ego is quite addictive, Ron. The trait never fades. We can detect them but will they ever analyse. Don't think so.


    You aren't guilty then. You are doing it the right way, as it ought to be done. I yearn for a lively conversation with ye! Time will come, it will come. Your words always make me feel good :)

  22. Haddock:

    People are quite clever these days! The art of playing 'clever' has reached new heights. Creativity is looming large.


    Amusing, indeed.

  23. Yuvika:

    With our Google and Wiki, it has become quite easy. You have rightly said that little knowledge is a dangerous thing. But this sort of dropping names works well while having online conversations. In the real this seldom works. I am just assuming here.


    I like your spirit! Great. That is a nice way of seeing it. We can research on the parts we don't know. Thanks for this value-addition dear Sameera.

  24. I have lot of friends who are brilliant in dropping names...and almost everytime they end up impressing the listner. But it is an art to quote right thing at the right time...and it works mostly.

    I am not that great at dropping names of the likes of Shakespeare... but I take help from bollywood movies at times! :)

  25. Karan:

    The world is filled with people as those. Quoting is an art but pretending is a greater art!

    Bollywood! Even they have great lines!

    Thanks for coming by Karan :)

  26. It's crazy, I know! It has become such a habit with people to drop names. But I have to admit that sometimes I do it too, and I cringe. i think it's because of a lack of something authentic to say.

  27. Well, Angie dropping name by itself is not a vice. When people try to do it and pass off as something they are not, then it is artificial and shallow.
    Have a lovely remainder of the day.

    Joy always :)



Related Posts with Thumbnails