The 2014 Name of the Year tournament kicks off today in the quadrants named after Assumption Bulltron, crowned the first-ever Name of the Decade, and Godfrey Sithole, the 1985 Name of the Year champion.
The top seed in the latter regional is Dr. Loki Skylizard, a cardiothoracic surgeon from New Jersey. If this name seems artificial, that's because it is: The source who emailed us about him tells us that Loki's parents let him and his sister change their own names around age 8 or 9, resulting in exactly the sort of name you would expect a 9-year-old boy to go with. It stuck.
Should name changes be allowed in the Name of the Year tournament? Some people feel as if a great name is a great name, no matter how long it has been legally bound to the man or woman who carries it. Others believe that a great name can only come from birth, that a mother must look her baby boy in the eye and choose to name him Alpacino or Taco or Hitler. To those onomastic truthers, a great name is a lifelong responsibility created by a birth certificate, and cannot be fabricated through an impulsive trip to the courthouse.
Name of the Year readers have historically fallen into the first camp. In 2008, they chose Spaceman Africa, who changed his name, as their champion; the High Committee, which selected its own champion from 2007-11, preferred a more traditional choice in Destiny Frankenstein, who did not. That said, the High Committee has been tempted by name changes as well. After all, the Dragonwagon Regional is named after a woman who was born Ellen Zolotow.
For this year's tournament, we've tried to make both sides of this argument happy. We passed over several outrageous name changes, such as New York's Godzilla Gorilla Pimp Hunter and Wisconsin's Beezow Doo-doo Zoppity-Bop-Bop, but we took a shine to Loki. He stuck with his childhood decision all the way through med school, keeps it to this day, and has caused thousands of patients to hear the terrifying phrase "Dr. Skylizard will see you now." His is a name change we can get behind, and so we've made him a No. 1 seed.
The rest of the field gets the benefit of the doubt. We know all of these names are real, legal names, but we cannot conclusively prove that they are all given names. In any event, now they all have the good doctor Skylizard to contend with.
#1 Dr. Loki Skylizard, a cardiothoracic surgeon, vs. #16 Remco Obertop, vice president of an investment company.
#4 [Name removed at the request of the name-inee] vs. #13 Bibb Strench, a D.C. lawyer.
[Update: Matchup is a forfeit awarded to Bibb Strench.]
#8 Mingus Mapps, a political scientist at Brandeis University, vs. #9 Harlene Freezer, a board member of BAFTA in New York whose name evokes the love child of two Batman villains.
#5 Chubacca Hung, a Hong Kong resident who utilizes a Backstroke of the West-esque alternate spelling, vs. #12 C'Mon Wingo, a Dallas detective whose name, per our information, is pronounced like "Simone."
#3 Bullabeck Ringblong, who is is serving life in prison for murder, vs. #14 Vanthana Xayarath, a Florida woman who heard a ship collide with a bridge, and described it as "just a big old loud crash."
We'll be back tomorrow with the other half of the bracket.
Sam Gutelle is a Brooklyn-based blogger who predominantly covers the online video industry for Tubefilter. He has helped run the Name of the Year blog since 2012 despite his relatively boring name. You can follow him on Twitter @gutelle.
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