Monday

The Mitchells

I don't normally talk about slebs, but this isn't about the people as much... 

So David Mitchell and Victoria Coren seemed a great match for each other when they got married - the kind of arrangement where you don't know who to be more happy for. 

I was a bit surprised to see Coren becoming Coren Mitchell, it seemed unnecessarily traditional. I was then doubly disappointed to see Mitchell didn't also become Coren Mitchell - triply so, since it was a perfect opportunity to resolve the 'David Mitchell' conundrum, that is, the pause when someone says 'David Mitchell' and you try to work out which one. I think there are two david Mitchells, but there might be more - I don't know how you would know.

As well as simply being a measure of equality, that two people take each others' name, this was a rare case of having a logical incentive to change one person's name, only to change the other 's.

Names are important, both politically and usefully, and they have knock on effects; their daughter is now, because of this set up, an out and out Mitchell. All very traditional, conventional. An opportunity missed to do something more radical.

My personal favourite solution to the name problem is, upon unity, to create a new family name. I think this sums up the  independence from a person's parents that having children/getting married (which ever comes first) brings. Any 'sign of commitment' that a woman shows by taking the man's name is amplified by him doing the same, except that it's a name they have both agreed on that reflects their new life together. It's more creative, more equal, and it creates a new tradition to follow. 

I know people will argue that this makes family trees harder to follow, but that's always been the case for women - it's only traditional hereditary principles, that *not even the royal family* use any more, that have emphasised the male line. This system is more modular.

It might get messy, but not unduly; it would reflect the messiness of real life, instead of simplifying the male descent by erasing the female descent. 
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