Created By: Cider on September 13, 2011 Last Edited By: Cider on October 17, 2011
Troped

Named By Democracy

What the masses do when No Name Given.

Name Space:
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Page Type:
Trope
"I was tall, it's true, all of six foot two. They broke me across my back! My name unknown, it's not my own! They call me Crooked Jack."
--Irish Folk song

Perhaps the original is too hard to pronounce, maybe the subject in question simply doesn't have one at all, refuses to tell, or just forgot it. For whatever reason the locals decided on a fitting name for the subject and are sticking to it regardless of any protests, they've been named by democracy. Compare Verbal Tic Name, where the subject will really have a hard time protesting this. The naming of the subject has to be depicted or described to be this trope, if we don't know how came it came to be its more likely Known Only by Their Nickname or Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep".

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Scar From Fullmetal Alchemist, his real Ishbalan name was never revelead, and his nickname was give since it was one of the few particular characteristics they could obtain from witnesses at first, he seems to have adopted it to a some deegre since he has done many things that go against the Ishbal Teachings(mainly murder)
Scar Long ago this body did have a holy name given by god, but that person died years ago from a life of sin, malice and retribution.
(not to confuse it with That Man Is Dead)

Comics
  • DC Comics' Solomon Grundy was named after the nursery rhyme when he told someone he didn't have a name, and had emerged fully grown from the swamp on a Monday.
  • The Incredible Hulk was an example of this trope but it's since been retconned away.
  • Dave Sim (creator of Cerebus the Aardvark) once mentioned how several grown-up members of his family spent several hours naming the new cat (the result, BTW, was "puss"). He took this as a sign that Democracy Is Bad.

Film
  • Who Am I: The amnesiac protagonist shouts, "Who am I?". The locals just think he's hammy and shout it with equal enthusiasm when they want his attention.
  • In Tremors, the townspeople have a spirited discussion about what to call the underground monsters menacing them all, finally deciding on "graboids". The person who came up with the name is killed soon after.

Professional Wrestling
  • Allegedly The Four Horsemen made references to the apocalyptic figures in a promo but never claimed the name for themselves until other people started calling them that. Being a carbon copy, Evolution tried to invoke the same thing and probably failed because it was intentional.

Video Games
  • One Tekken character told the orphans his tag team partner looked after that he didn't have a name they could hope to pronounce. Their response? "You do now!" It was Armor King.
  • Chaos Lord from Digimon World is named by the other Digimon, which is notable because Digimon usually don't give individual names to anyone.
  • The Gman from Half-Life doesn't have an official name (with the possible exception of "Our mutual friend", as he's called by Dr. Vance). His name's simply the one attached to his character model in the original game.

Western Animation
  • Samurai Jack: The time displaced hero was called "Samurai Jack" by the first friendly people he met in the future. It was also what was printed on his wanted posters and he's come to accept it, though occasionally reminds people its what they named him, not his original name.
Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • September 13, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    anime and manga:
  • September 14, 2011
    randomsurfer
    • DC Comics' Solomon Grundy was named after the nursury rhyme when he told someone he didn't have a name, and had emerged fully grown from the swamp on a Monday.
    • The Hulk was named that in his first appearance by a Mook soldier. Later Retconned into being a name for the alternate personality in Bruce Banner's head since childhood.
  • September 17, 2011
    JoeG
    • In Tremors, the townspeople have a spirited discussion about what to call the underground monsters menacing them all, finally deciding on "graboids". The person who came up with the name is killed soon after.
  • September 18, 2011
    Antheia
    Osaka isn't this, she's Known Only By Their Nickname and listed on that page. She was introduced to the whole class (read: nearly everyone in the series) as Ayumu Kasuga, and everyone knew her name, it's just that noone else uses it.
  • September 18, 2011
    troacctid
  • October 7, 2011
    Cider
    I'm going to say they are similar and can overlap but not the same. See the Tremors example or the Tekken example. I wouldn't call those appropriated Appellation.
  • October 7, 2011
    desdendelle
    ^^ Sounds like Appropriated Appellation is a subtrope of this IMO.
  • October 7, 2011
    Lumpenprole
    In the first two-part pilot episode of Samurai Jack, when he prepares to battle the hord of robots Aku is sending, he creates a banner with a sigil in Japanese. Does that actually translate into anything, like maybe his family/clan name? Here's a picture
  • October 7, 2011
    nman
    Does this only apply to primitive villagers calling someone by that name? If not...
    • Heroes had characters call Mr. Bennet "horn rimmed glasses".
    • Planescape Torment features "The Nameless One".
    • Psychonauts made a parody of Godzilla by having "Kochamara".
    • In Fringe the alternate-universe characters have names like Walternate and Fauxlivia.
  • October 7, 2011
    Fanra
    I suggest a different title then "Named By Democracy". Democracy means a vote is taken. This is more of Named by Accumulation or Aggregation or Populace or Commonality or something that means the masses, but not a vote.
  • October 7, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Secret Wars: The Beyonder was named that because, as he announced, "I am from Beyond!"
  • October 7, 2011
    Cider
    No it is not limited to primitive villagers, its about the masses deciding a name is and either refusing what the minority says or just going with it because there is no other alternative. More, the naming has to be depicted or described, if we don't know how someone came to it it's just Known Only By Their Nickname or Everyone Calls Him Barkeep.
  • October 8, 2011
    PapercutChainsaw
    • In El Goonish Shive, "the Internet" gives Elliot's Superheroine form the nickname "Cheerleadra", based on her outfit.
  • October 9, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In some versions of the Superman story, he gets named by Lois Lane in a newspaper article. In Smallville Clark's pre-Superman heroic alter ego is named "The Blur" (short for "The Red and Blue Blur") from a photo Jimmy Olsen took of him doing his heroics, where all that could be seen was a blur of red and blue.
  • October 9, 2011
    Bisected8
    • The Gman from Half Life doesn't have an official name (with the possible exception of "Our mutual friend", as he's called by Dr. Vance). His name's simply the one attached to his character model in the original game.
  • October 9, 2011
    MoG2
    Dave Sim (creator of Cerebus The Aardvark) once mentioned how several grown-up members of his family spent several hours naming the new cat (the result, BTW, was "puss"). He took this as a sign that Democracy Is Bad.
  • October 9, 2011
    Damr1990
    • Scar From Full Metal Alchemist, his real Ishbalan name was never revelead, and his nickname was give since it was one of the few particular characteristics they could obtain from witnesses at first, he seems to have adopted it to a some deegre since he has done many things that go against the Ishbal Teachings(mainly murder)
    Scar Long ago this body did have a holy name given by god, but that person died years ago from a life of sin, malice and retribution.
    (not to confuse it with That Man Is Dead)
  • October 13, 2011
    arromdee
    See Namedar.
  • October 14, 2011
    Trotzky
    Live Action TV: Babylon Five: the Shadows gloat that their name is a thousand words long and cannot be pronounced by puny Humans. Then they whinge because puny Humans keep calling them "Shadows".
  • October 17, 2011
    Cider
    The examples seem similar but the description of Namedar implies that it is something a particular person has a knack for, at least that's how I read it.

    What do you all think?

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