Free-Floating Hostility

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Free-Floating Identity Crisis

When Mike first established this blog, he bestowed upon it the name Free-Floating Hostility because it was a term that had often made him smile, and because he couldn't really use it as the title of his newspaper column. I had little hand in choosing its name as I didn't forsee much involvement in the project; of course I found being the zeitgeist more agreeable than expected, but by then the name was pretty well entrenched. As we put the word out about the blog, we began hearing knowing references to George Carlin, but we couldn't really figure out why. Recently I discovered his 1996 album, I forget what it's called, the end of which is a 19-plus minute rant on 24 cutting-edge topics such as backwards baseball caps and bottled water, entitled...Free-Floating Hostility. Now, we can't really be sure Carlin coined the phrase, and it does seem to have entered general usage to the point where maybe we can be forgiven for not having known its origins, but the whole thing did smack of plagiarism. More importantly, if people were going to think we were referring to Carlin's standup, we'd better know what we were unintentionally endorsing. I downloaded the track. We listened. 20 minutes and about three chuckles later we grimaced at each other and agreed we needed a shower. We had a serious case on our hands of Blog Name Buyer's Remorse (the fact that blogger is a free service is beside the point, because we purchased it in Lockean fashion with our labor).

FFH was presented with something of an existential dilemma. It now seemed obvious to us that we should have at least googled the phrase before naming our blog after it, but it was too late. Why hadn't we chosen a name from Chris Rock's standup? We agreed that What do you Want, a Cookie? would have been inappropriate, but paused wistfully over the potential suggested by What's in the Tea? or Whatever Happened to Crazy? Changing names is not unheard of. Garth Brook's unfortunate choice of a name for his children's charity, The Touch 'Em All Foundation, forced him to rename it Teammates for Kids. Mia Farrow changed all her kids' names to make them more Irish, and look how well they turned out. And after all, I had changed my own name less than a year ago, and it really wasn't that bad. But we had to admit that we had branded the title. A Google search of "Free-Floating Hostility" yields us 12th, and "Free-Floating Hostility+blog" puts us at 3rd (thanks mostly to Jeff's generous linking). There was no turning back now.

So we got to thinking about damage control. Our first step was the addition of the disclaimer of Carlinism to our template. Then we thought, hey, most people refer to us as FFH these days anyway. Maybe they don't even remember what it stands for. Maybe if we kept the acronym and changed the name, no one would miss it. That yielded some intriguing possibilities for new blog names:

Far From Hobbs
Factotums For Hire
Fountain of Foul Humor
Fallacious Fictitious Hagiography
Flim Flam Hermeneutics
Pfennigs from Heaven (this would have carried the day were it not for the undeniable p)
Furious Falsetto Howling
Fling Foofaraw Here
Frank's Febrile Hallucinations (BrooklynDodger is welcome to that one if he wants it for one of his blogs)
Fresh Fish! Hallibut!
Frances Farmer Hadherrevengeonseattle
Fecund Fay-Hurvitz
Fleet-Footed Hoplites
Favorite Font? Helvetica.

So far, nothing has suggested itself that is worthy of changing our young blog's identity. But we would like to open this up to our readership. If you have suggestions, we're all ears. For those of you who still haven't figured this out, that means hit the "comments" link below, then hit "post a comment," then actually post one. You can do it. Only three words are required.

3 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at January 25, 2005 7:00 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Free-Floating Hostility (FFH) -> Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker and Tits (SPFCCMaT).

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at January 25, 2005 7:23 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Unless you are changing the name to "We Speaks So Well," (Chris Rock again) I think you should stick with what you got.

    Alternatively, you can also do (since Mike is in the Media) "Look out it is Mike Mirer... Run!"

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at January 26, 2005 5:06 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • BrooklynDodger finds a use for "deracinate" twice in the same week. [If the Dodger is using the word correctly.] Assuming "free-floating hostility" was coined by George Carlin, and if association with George Carlin would be unfortunate, for most readers the term is sufficiently deracinated that the connection to Carlin is occult.

    Speaking of deracination and unconscious plagiarism...The Dodger was once quoted [? in the Washington Post] as suggesting that a certain public official had adopted an attitude of "Get Over It" in relation to critics. The phrase got the Dodger, over others, recognized, not the substance of the comment. And got the Dodger quoted again in another publication. Wondering what the resonance was, BrooklynDodger googled the phrase and found myself in bed with Kirsten Dunst, Avril Lavigne, [actually not unattractive] and the Eagles among 1,460,000 hits.

    What's the point of this? Maybe it signifies nothing. But has FFH considered the effort of transporting over everything to another blog title?

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